Slotting Square Tube

I would like to cut a 1/8" or so slot into the side of pieces of square tubing on centerline. I want to do 1/2" to 1 1/4" tubing. What would be a good way to do that for a person who is not a machinist?

Set up a table saw with a fence and an abrasive blade?

Set up a drill press with a fence and a bit (don't know the name) that would side cut a slot?

Buy a machine for that purpose? How much?

Input, please.


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Steve B
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What kind of quantities? How long are the slots? How much precesion do you need? What wall thickness? How much burr is allowable?

An abrasive blade in a table saw will do the job but it gets fairly nasty. Plenty of sparks, hot metal, chance of kickback, and chews up the saw bearings fairly quickly. Might be OK for a couple of samples, not your best choice.

A vertical mill with a slotting blade would work, clamping is a bit tricky, slot length is limited to table travel. You might even get by with mill/drill for $1000 or so new. You don't want to use an 1/8" end mill, it will take forever.

An old horizontal mill would make short work of it.

I might mention that if the slot gets very long, the structural integrity of the tube goes away pretty fast. ESPECIALLY torsional rigidity.

Steve B wrote:

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