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Cutting tube steel

Discussion in 'Garage / Workshop' started by synaps3, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Mar 25, 2017 at 10:12 AM
    #1
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

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    I just got a welder and am learning to fabricate metal to eventually build a slide-in camper for my Taco. I have built a camper from scratch out of wood before on an old pop-up frame, but was able to manage by just using a 4.5" angle grinder for cuts and having a friend weld. I'm planning on building the slide-in out of 1" and 2" tube steel, so there will be a LOT more cutting and getting good, straight cuts is an absolute need.

    I have a spare Ryobi compound mitre saw. It has a clamp on it and cuts wood well, so I thought about getting a metal cutting blade and using that. It would have to be better than an angle grinder, right?

    Another option is a chop saw, http://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-2-hp-cut-off-saw-61389.html

    or a handheld band saw http://www.harborfreight.com/10-amp-deep-cut-variable-speed-band-saw-kit-63444.html

    I can see the chop saw working, but the internet tells me they don't cut any more square than someone with a steady hand with a handheld band saw or angle grinder. Ideally, I'd get something like this: http://www.harborfreight.com/horizontal-vertical-metal-cutting-bandsaw-93762.html but my garage is basically full and I don't want to spend that much more on tooling to start this project.

    What do you use, and what do you think would work well enough to get the job done? Should I just stick with the angle grinder?
     
  2. Mar 25, 2017 at 10:33 AM
    #2
    wilcam47

    wilcam47 Well-Known Member

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    I bought the harbor freight model...but at the time the only one available was purpleo_O...but anyhow it cuts square you just have to tighten up the clamp bolts and when you go to cut let it get up to speed and let it cut a little at a time otherwise it slows down too much. I replaced the cutting blade with a good one from homedepot since the original didnt last very long. The ends have a little leftover metal from cutting but can be easily ground off with a grinder or file.
     
  3. Mar 25, 2017 at 7:26 PM
    #3
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

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  4. Mar 25, 2017 at 9:28 PM
    #4
    Exracer2

    Exracer2 Well-Known Member

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    Get a proper bandsaw. Everything else is just being cheap. I have done the grinder thing, the abrasive chop saw and won't go back. The bandsaw set up correctly with stands set right is more accurate and my cuts are square. Then your fabricating really speeds up. Quicker cuts. Quicker setup. Your parts line up easier and square up with less BS. Since your cuts are square from the get go once you tack stuff it doesn't need to be adjusted on as frequent a basis.

    The number one answer to buying better tools is I don't have the money right now. Then later on after fighting with their tools people buy the right equipment and wish they did it sooner. People realize their projects turn out better with less effort.
     
    BikerinBlak909 and Fire Arrow like this.
  5. Feb 17, 2018 at 1:55 PM
    #5
    Topanga Taco

    Topanga Taco Husky Hot Saws

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    wilcam47 likes this.
  6. Feb 18, 2018 at 7:33 AM
    #6
    Topanga Taco

    Topanga Taco Husky Hot Saws

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    Used both to build this chair. 18g Owner decided she didn’t want to sit on it. To each their own!

    What I like about the Mak is the 45° miter capability. Sweet machine.

    612CC5DB-1F9B-4D64-AE8C-FED8A8190641.jpg
     
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  7. Feb 18, 2018 at 7:37 AM
    #7
    wilcam47

    wilcam47 Well-Known Member

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    Arizona now!!!
    maybe steampunk fan?
     
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  8. Feb 18, 2018 at 7:44 AM
    #8
    Topanga Taco

    Topanga Taco Husky Hot Saws

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    I was way cool with it.

    Hell, no one can sit on this one. Kept this one.

    F43CFFC1-E136-4F85-AC92-188FEE9254D6.jpg
     
    wilcam47 likes this.
  9. Feb 18, 2018 at 7:47 AM
    #9
    Comatose

    Comatose You snuff it, we stuff it.

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    Not gonna lie... I thought this post was titled "Cutting Tube Steak" And I was click-baited in.
     
    synaps3 [OP] likes this.
  10. Feb 18, 2018 at 7:59 AM
    #10
    Shmellmopwho

    Shmellmopwho Well-Known Member

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    Be careful to make sure that if you buy an abrasive chop saw that you don’t use carbide tipped blades in it that are meant for a dry cut saw

    They run at completely different RPM’s (Abrasive chop saw around 3000 rpm and dry cut saw around 1200 rpm) and aren’t made to switch blades between them

    I have the dewalt 14” multicutter dry cut saw for cutting tubing and I love it. The blades also last a long time compared to an abrasive chop saw blade. They’re quite a bit more expensive but much better.

    Problem with an abrasive chop saw is that the blades are sort of flimsy and bend a little so they don’t make the straightest cuts in my opinion.

    The LC1230 Makita that @Topanga Taco mentioned is a great tool! And if you want super straight cuts and have the room for it, a gravity horizontal band saw would be the best way to go. Almost no mess and a little slow but very straight cuts!
     
    synaps3 [OP] and Topanga Taco like this.
  11. Feb 18, 2018 at 8:02 AM
    #11
    Shmellmopwho

    Shmellmopwho Well-Known Member

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    After rereading your original post OP, if you want to save money and just get the best bang for your buck I think that an abrasive chop saw would be your best bet. Definitely cuts straighter than anything hand held. You’re able to lock in the tubing in a fence and cut perfectly downward in a straight motion. I think it’s much harder to get a handheld band saw or angle grinder to be perfectly straight
     
  12. Feb 18, 2018 at 8:15 AM
    #12
    Exracer2

    Exracer2 Well-Known Member

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    I just bought a carbide blade for my chop saw. My saw runs at 3600rpm. I found a carbide saw for aluminum that is rated to 5000rpm. My only issue is the chips. I have to build a rear collection housing that I can hook my shop vac to. The aluminum chips are so fine they float and go everywhere.
     
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  13. Feb 18, 2018 at 8:31 AM
    #13
    Topanga Taco

    Topanga Taco Husky Hot Saws

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    Wear breathing protection. That you mention sounds like when I have to cut magnesium. Stuff “floats” as you mentioned. That airborne stuff is not good for the lungs.
     
  14. Feb 18, 2018 at 3:42 PM
    #14
    wilcam47

    wilcam47 Well-Known Member

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    Arizona now!!!
    drinking chair ;)
     
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  15. Feb 18, 2018 at 3:56 PM
    #15
    Topanga Taco

    Topanga Taco Husky Hot Saws

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    A hahahaha! That would get them feeling just about right!
     
  16. Feb 20, 2018 at 3:11 AM
    #16
    coffeesnob

    coffeesnob Well-Known Member

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    what material did you use?
     
  17. Feb 20, 2018 at 6:00 AM
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    Topanga Taco

    Topanga Taco Husky Hot Saws

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    18 gauge tube steel straight and mandrel pieces. Wire brushed and shot with clear coat.
     
  18. Apr 9, 2018 at 1:17 AM
    #18
    windsor

    windsor Just a guy

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    A bit of a reboot but I'll still give my response.
    What I do is mark the length then tighten a hose clamp around the tube and use it to mark all the way around at the correct length (loosen and reposition if needed) using a fine tip permanent marker. Then use a grinder with a thin cutting disc to cut along the line rotating the tube to cut it.
    I get much better/straighter cut than I do by using my chop saw.
     
  19. Apr 10, 2018 at 5:22 PM
    #19
    Leyczo

    Leyczo Well-Known Member

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  20. Apr 11, 2018 at 4:12 PM
    #20
    Topanga Taco

    Topanga Taco Husky Hot Saws

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    One of Kita’s All time greats for sure.

    I cut .160” galvanized pipe that I use to stake the railroad ties around here. It’ll cut rebar with ease, just go slow on the big stuff. It’s a spark free environment for the most part. Towards the end of the blade’s life however, it will begin to spark, but moderately. The carbide cutters have a strong life to them but do make a loud cut. So safety gear at ALL TIMES.
     

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