I need to cut some very thin 1" diameter chromed brass tubing. I've got an old Sears and a slightly newer Rigid brand tubing cutter, but they have been used a lot on EMT and are probably not the sharpest things on the planet. The brass tubing is probably less than 30 thou thick, and I'd prefer not to deform it too badly or have a large burr to contend with once its cut. The pieces are too long to put in my lathe, so I figure the best I can do is to buy myself a new cutter.
Anyone have any particular favorites, or are they all about the same? Something I could pick up at the local Home Depot or Lowes would be good, but if there's some thing particularly spiffy about one brand, I can hunt around or order one.
"Doug White" wrote: (clip) The brass tubing is probably less than 30 thou thick(clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Since you have a lathe, how about turning an insert that will hold the tubing round while the cutter is pressing on it? If the distance to the cut is very long, you could mount the insert on the end of a rod of some sort, and push it in the required distance.
Rigid should be able to supply you with a replacement cutter wheel. That being said, why can't you use your lathe? I have removed the tailstock many times when needing to cut off some thing that was longer than the "between centers" limit. Kent
Nothing should prevent you from sharpening the cutter in one of your current tools. If it can be removed easily, mount it in your lathe and spin it at top speed, placing a honing stone on it to bring the edge back to a sharp condition. Alternate side to side, maintaining the angle. Be certain to not leave a fine burr, which will just dull the cutter when you use it. A slight decrease of the angle will make it cut all the easier, although at the cost of longevity.
The suggestion to use a plug inside is an excellent one, too. I'd suggest aluminum, only a few thou at most undersized. That will prevent the tubing from deforming almost completely, although if your cutting wheel is quite sharp, it's possible the tubing will cut without it. Brass tubing of that nature is usually not very soft and resists deforming, thanks to work hardening.
The idea of turning a plug to put inside the tubing while using a tube cutter is a good one. Another idea is to go to a hobby shop that does model railroad stuff and get the "Atlas track saw" - it's the kind of tooth pitch you usually only find on a jeweler's saw blade, but as it's on the edge of a larger piece of metal it won't break constantly the way a jeweler's blade would in this usage. Still disposable though - no way to replace the blade. You can use the old tube cutter to engrave a faint line as a guide.
Tubing cutters tend to scuff the surface and sligtly deform the tube, not to mention leave the end *smaller* (in diameter) - Since you are looking for burr free, a hacksaw is out (although you can get a very fine pitch blade) Depending on how square the cut had to be you could do it with a jewelry saw but I would probaby use a dremel with the very fine abrasive cut-off wheel
A jeweler's saw blade will not 'break constantly' doing this job -- at least not if you use it properly. The keys are 1) tension the blade tightly, 2) let the tool do the work, don't try to force it and 3) lubricate liberally with beeswax or something similar.
OTOH, proper use does require developing a 'touch'. There's a reason jeweler's saw blades are sold by the dozen.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger. --Friedrich Nietzsche Never get your philosophy from some guy who ended up in the looney bin. -- Wiz Zumwalt
I have a small 3 inch cutoff saw intended to use a 3 inch abrasive disk. It cuts brass tubing (and plastic too) very well with a slitting saw blade. I use a speed controller to slow it down. Its like a mini chop saw for everything! This saw is sold be national tool and penn tool.
One inch is kind of big for this saw, but it should work.
Interestingly enough, not ONE person bothered to answer my original question. All sorts of suggestions about how to do it better/differently, but nobody came back with a recommendation for the best tubing cutter on the market.
In any event, I considered sharpening my existing cutter blade as someone suggested, but I also discovered that I can get replacement blades for my Rigid #10 at Home Depot (2 for $10). It also occured to me that there was a big plumbing supply house a couple blocks from work, and I went over there at lunch yesterday. They had an absolutely amazing Lenox tubing cutter. It has 4 rollers instead of 2 to support the tube better, it came with 3 spare cutters (one stores in the handle), it has a really smooth action, and the deburrer is one of the rotating hook devices instead of a flat scraper blade. It was $36, but it's WAY better than my old Rigid.
I made a plug to fit the tube, but it only works for short distances. My original plan was to cut off a long bit, leaving about an inch of extra tube. Then I could use the plug to get a good final cut. It then occured to me that I could prevent the tube from distorting with a SLEEVE. A piece of heavy 1" plastic pipe could be slipped over the tube, and with a little masking tape, it provides very good support. This way you can cut any place along the tube, and you also don't have to worry about the burr trapping your plug. The burr was reduced substantially by using a sharp new cutter with good support, and the deburring blade on the Lenox cutter cleaned up what was left very nicely.
Thanks for all the ideas & suggestions. It was interesting (& kind of funny) to see everyone going off on a tangent without answering my basic question.
The cutoff saw is made by coastal but I don't think that is the right spelling. A web search didn't find much because there is another vendor with a similar spelling. I will have to find the manual to get the URL.
and the cut off saw Chuck refers to is shown on the above site and here:
I have the small Wilton cut off saw (Swiss import) which seems a little better made and uses 4" blades:
The Wilton list for around $450-500 which is about $150-200 more than the Coastel. The vise on the Wilton is really designed to hold only round stock and is a bit awkward to use but it would be fairly easy to replace it with a small grinding vise. The Coastel vise might be more versatile, especially with the miter vise option Perhaps more important is that the Wilton has a
1/2 HP motor whereas the Coastel has a 1/5 HP motor.
FWIW, I picked up the Wilton by taking advantage of one of the 25% off email offers that J&L sends me once in a while. J&L tensd to be at the higher end of the retail price range, though. It arrived with a broken blade guard but Wilton was good about replacing that at no charge.
I have not found the motor to be a problem with small things. It easily cuts 1/4 bolts with a ceramic blade.
The motor is a Dayton, and is sold by grainger for those that want to home brew, but I doubt I could make a cutoff saw this nice for the price coastel sell it for.
Another nice thing is the motor is AC/DC so it works well with a speed controller. I am using a DART but I suspect just about anything would work. The VS is nice for cutting plastic and brass tubing with a slitting saw blade. I have even cut wood dowels with it.