We are kicking off a series on metal cutting. To be perfectly honest, we needed one metal cutting saw for the shop. By the time it was all said and done, we had seven. I’m not really sure how it all happened, but what I do know was that I now have a lot of writing to do. What I wasn’t prepared for is how diverse some of these saws were. Take the Evolution Rage3 for example—it’s like a metal and reciprocating saw built into a miter saw housing, but much more capable.
Metal cutting saws for the most part are simple machines. Take a 15-amp motor, fit an abrasive disk to the arbor, wrap some protective housing around the moving parts, and make it go up and down. No sliding is needed, and you can swap out the relatively cheap abrasive disks based on the metal you’re cutting.
The entire Evolution series takes that thought and wipes the slate clean. We’ll get into more of that as we go. Incidentally, three of the seven saws were covering this month and next are made by Evolution Power Tools.
When you take the Evolution Rage3 out of the box, you’ll experience something you don’t usually expect from a miter saw—some assembly is required. I was initially put off by the fact that I had to install several components, but the instructions were crystal clear, and it only took a couple of minutes.
The overall look of the Rage3 is a bit smaller than other 10-inch miter saws. At one point I had to double check to make sure it really was a 10-inch diameter because the saw seems to have a profile closer to Bosch’s 8-1/2 inch compact miter saw.
At 39 pounds, the saw is relatively lightweight. It is easy to carry around the shop—which is both a pro and a con. It gets great marks for portability when you’re carrying it around the jobsite, packing, and unpacking for the day. However, heavier saws are more stable if they’re not mounted to a stand or a workbench. For portable use, you’ll want to keep that in mind.
Supporting the Cut
The extension wings are helpful and lock solidly in place. It would be nice if they could slide all the way up to the base plate to be stored onboard. You’ll need to take them completely off for transportation. In fact, we didn’t see that there was onboard storage for any of the tools.
Features and Performance
Evolution Rage Multipurpose TCT Blade
What Evolution is so well-known for is their claim to cut steel, aluminum, plastic, and wood (including nail embedded wood) with one saw and one blade. Indeed, the blade cut through each of the materials well, leaving very little burr on our angle iron. Rage blades simply treat wood unfairly compared to a standard wood cutting blade. It cuts crazy fast and crazy smooth.
Metal cutting is a little bit different story. The blade certainly cut quickly through the angle iron and steel we gave it to chew on. It wasn’t quite as fast as Diablo’s Steel Demon metal cutting blade, though it was certainly much better than a standard abrasive wheel. It also wasn’t quite as smooth as the Diablo in those cuts. Don’t get the wrong impression though—both cutting speed and vibration were much better than average.
Evolution does make a diamond blade for the system that will allow you to cut brick, concrete, ceramics, and other materials you’d need a tile saw for, but we didn’t try that feature out. For chop cuts on block and small tile, it may make a lot of sense and cut down set up time vs. a wet tile saw.
Evolution Rage3 Miter Saw
The Evolution Rage3 Miter Saw has characteristics and features you’re used to seeing. It’s a compound miter saw design. Unlike a chop saw, the Rage3 adds both mitering and beveling in a metal cutting saw. It adds versatility to what you can accomplish. Modern furniture builder Jon Bucklew is often tackling custom designs for interior designers in high end homes. The more flexibility he has in his cuts, the more Seventeen20 furniture is set apart from the competition.
Mitering is a typical experience with positive stops at the major angle measurements. The action is a little stiff compared to traditional miter saws, and the miter lock itself is plastic. It shouldn’t take a lot of abuse, but it will wear over time regardless. It also has a slight amount of play. This isn’t going to make trim carpenters too happy, but framers and fabricators should have no problem with tolerances that are a little more generous.
The Evolution Rage3 is sold in single and (RAGE3-DB) double bevel configurations. The model we reviewed is the single bevel model. There’s not much here that stands out as great or detrimental. It’s just a good, solid design with bevel lock around the back. There are no bevel stops other than at 45 degrees.
As a sliding miter saw, the most obvious benefit to metal cutting is the increased cutting length. Since most metal cutting saws are chop saws, you’ll enjoy having a nearly 12-inch cross cut capacity. Vertically, the saw tops out at a 3-inch cutting depth. This could actually be improved if the fence were a little further back, exposing more of the blade around the arbor.
Laser Guide and Dust Collection
Accurate cutting is aided by a laser. It can be calibrated, but again, the lack of onboard tool storage means you’ll need to find a way to keep your tools close to the saw.
Dust collection can be a bit of an issue when it comes to cutting metal with the same saw. Evolution deals with this by providing a plug for the dust chute when cutting metal along with a bag for dust collection. We’d recommend connecting your dust extractor to keep debris to a minimum during wood cutting.
One thing that seems to be a glaring omission for a metal cutting saw is a fence clamp. The vertical clamp is capable of holding any of the materials we tested in place, but we still prefer the security of a fence clamp on metal. A dual pivoting style like the one found on the Ridgid MS255SR would be an excellent addition.
Evolution Rage3 TCT Multipurpose Sliding Miter Saw Specifications
- Model: Evolution Rage3
- Motor: 15 amps, 2.5 horsepower
- Blade diameter: 10 in.
- Max Cut depth (90/45°): 3 in. / 1-1/2 in.
- Max cut length: 1-13/16″
- No-load speed: 2,500 RPM
- Miter: 45 degrees and 90 degrees
- Weight: 39 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years limited
- Price: $199
The Evolution Rage3 TCT Multipurpose Sliding Miter Saw is unique in its abilities to cut plastic, metal, and wood with one saw and one blade. Even a multi-material reciprocating saw has to change blades. This tool isn’t going to deliver the kind of precision that a trim carpenter requires consistently. However, it’s accurate enough for general contractors who need to cut multiple material types—and it cuts each of them very well.
There are a few places where the build quality could be improved and create a more durable saw. However, keeping the price point down in the low $300 range requires some trade-offs, particularly when it’s delivering the performance we’re seeing.
You’ll want to treat the Evolution Rage3 nicely in order to keep it for the long haul, but I’m convinced that you’re unlikely to get this kind of cutting versatility (for the price) anywhere else.