Milwaukee Tool owners have been waiting years for a cordless track saw, and the brand finally delivered one this year at Pipeline 2022. Meet the new M18 Fuel 6-1/2″ plunge track saw (2831-20/2831-21). We got our hands on this track saw for a few hours and asked as many questions as we could.
First off, here are the specifications:
- 6-1/2″ blade with 20mm arbor
- 2-1/4″ cutting capacity
- 2,500 to 5,600 RPM
- Variable speed dial
- -1 to 48° bevel angle
- Splinter guard and riving knife
- Weighs 9.8 lbs without battery
- Up to 90% dust collection efficiency
- 5 year warranty
There’s an adjustable speed dial at the rear of the saw below the battery port.
The depth stop has inch markings and a dual indicator. When facing the scale, the left indicator reference (I) is for when you are using the saw without the track and the shorter indicator reference on the right (II) is for when the saw is on the track. There is a fine adjust knob to dial in the exact cutting depth on the right side of the scale near the 0 line.
The track saw also has a feature that lets you make a scoring pass before your final pass, to ensure a crisp clean cut, but I did not get a photo of the mechanism.
The little knob on the front of the saw, below the angle scale, changes the operation of the angle adjustment. When it is pointing at the 22.5° mark, the bevel scale will have a detent at 22.5°. When the knob is turned 180°, the saw will bevel past the 45° stop to 48°, and also let you go past the 0° stop to -1°.
Finally, the front rail tensioner is the knob in the lower right of the above photo. Along with the rear tensioner (show in a photo below) these knobs adjust the amount of play between the saw and the track. Too loose and the saw might rotate on the track, making a sloppy cut, too tight and it will be hard to push the saw along the track.
The Milwaukee guide rails come in lengths of 31″ ,55″, and 106″, and are compatible with several other brands’ guide rails, most notably Festool and Makita. This means that you should be able to use the M18 Fuel track saw with guide rails you might already own.
Shown above, you can see how the Makita and Milwaukee guide rails look very similar, with the main difference being the Milwaukee rails having squarer edges.
Milwaukee placed the bevel locking tab at the rear of the base. The bevel lock keeps the saw on the guide rail when you are making a bevel cut. You might need this because, as you tilt the saw toward 45°, the weight of the saw won’t be over the center of the track and it will want to pull sideways off the track.
Having the bevel lock in the back is an interesting placement because it means that the saw has to be on the track completely as you start the cut, whereas Makita’s track saw has the lock towards the front.
The rear rail tensioner is behind the bevel lock.
Here is a better view of the bevel locking tab and the rail tensioners.
Milwaukee has a plunge lock on the side of the saw that locks the arbor into the center of the cutout window. This makes it easy to change blades without trying to align the arbor to the window by hand, or having to remove the blade guard plate.
The riving knife seen behind the blade is spring-loaded. It will ride on the surface of the material until it springs down into the cut, to keep cut material from pinching the back of the blade.
The arbor wrench stores conveniently in the handle as show above, and the arbor lock is where you’d expect it to be on a circular saw — the lever in the bottom of the above photo.
I removed the arbor screw and the blade, and it was a really easy operation. I may or may have not been scolded for trying it on their demo saw.
Pushing down the clear window helps with dust collection, and it rides on the surface of the workpiece material to keep pressure on both sides of the cut. This helps to prevent splinters on both cut edges.
The blade guard has a series of vertical marks that align with the front and back of the blade at various depths. To the best of my memory, the outside marks are the full width of the blade, and going inward the markings correspond to the front and back of the blade at 1″, 3/4″, and 1/2″ depth.
When making stopped cuts, you just line up the correct mark rear mark with the end of the cut, plunge the blade and cut forward until the correct front mark lines up with the end of the cut.
The swiveling dust collection port is compatible with the nozzle on Milwaukee Tool’s new vacuums with 1-7/8″ hoses, or can be used with the included dust collection bag.
Milwaukee created a custom foam insert for their Packout XL tool box to hold the track saw, battery, charger and dust bag. The tool box also features a full-length folding top handle, which is not available on Packout XL tool boxes purchased separately.
You can purchase the track saw as a bare tool (2831-20) or in a kit (2831-21) that includes:
- M18 Fuel Track Saw
- Dust Bag
- M18 XC 6.0 Battery
- Rapid Charger
- Packout XL Toolbox
Price: $399 tool-only, $549 for the kit
October 2022 January 2023 (updated on 10/24/22)
Milwaukee Tool is also announcing several accessories for the track saw. Of course, what is a track saw without guide rails? There are 3 different lengths – 31″, 55″, and 106″.
In addition, they have clamps to lock down the guide rails if the non-slip rubber isn’t enough to hold it in place, connectors to join two or more guide rails together, a guide rail bag, and replacement non-slip and anti-splinter strips. The last items are important because after long term use the strips can become damaged and can sometimes be hard to find.
- 31” Guide Rail (48-08-0570)
- 55” Guide Rail (48-08-0571)
- 106” Guide Rail (48-08-0572)
- Guide Rail Bag for the 31” and 55” Rails (48-08-0576)
- Guide Rail Clamps (48-08-0573)
- Guide Rail Connector (48-08-0574)
- Anti-Splinter Strip (48-08-0575)
- Non-Slip Strip (48-08-0577)
New Milwaukee Track Saw Blades
Along with the new track saw and accessories, Milwaukee also developed a new line of 6-1/2″ track saw blades. The blades have cobalt-infused tungsten carbide teeth that maintain sharpness and extend the life. Laser cut reliefs in the blade reduces warping as the blade gets hot. And the blades have an anti-friction coating to resist corrosion and reduce build-up
Each of the 5 new track saw blades were designed for a different task:
- 24T General Purpose Track Saw Blade (48-40-0624)
- 40T Finish Track Saw Blade (48-40-0625)
- 48T Fine Finish Track Saw Blade (48-40-0627)
- 4T Fiber Cement Track Saw Blade (48-40-0670)
- 52T Laminate Track Saw Blade (48-40-0643)
Price Range: $34.99-89.99
October 2022 January 2023 (updated on 10/24/22)
Several people have noticed that the Packout XL tool box that comes with the track saw kit has a long folding top handle. We have learned that this version of the Packout XL tool box will only be available with the track saw kit.
Milwaukee says that the saw “delivers the power to rip solid hardwoods, cutting 1/4″ plywood to 2” thick oak or walnut without bogging down,” and we certainly saw demonstrations of the saw ripping approximately 6/4 hardwood using a 6Ah high output battery. I tested the saw on some 3/4″ plywood and wasn’t really surprised — it performed just like other track saws I’ve used.
Milwaukee also says their track saw will achieve more cuts per charge and [offers] greater durability than other track saws, but this remains to be seen.
There aren’t any show-stopping features, but the addition of a track saw to Milwaukee’s M18 lineup will make many on the Milwaukee battery platform happy.