How To Cut Metal Pipe

The metal pipes that you bought might come in the shapes and sizes that don’t meet your requirements. It is easy to fix this problem, though. All you need is to cut them to the length that you need. There are several methods that you can use to cut these metal pipes. Different methods and different tools are chosen depending on different types of pipes that you want to cut.

In case you need to cut your metal pipes, follow these guides below. I will present you the most common methods on cutting the most common types of metal pipes- including copper pipes and steel pipes.

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Before You Start:

Regardless of which method you choose or which type of metal you are cutting, you need to follow these safety precautions to make sure you can stay safe while cutting your metal pipe:

  • When you cut through metal pipes, the chance is high that sparks will be formed. These sparks can get into your skin or become a huge fire hazard. To protect yourself from these sparks, you need to wear your personal protective equipment including your protective gloves and your goggles.
  • Wear suitable clothes. Wear a jacket with the shade of 7 to 9. Avoid wearing clothes which are made from natural fibers. These materials are known to catch fire quickly.
  • In addition, you should work in a room with good air ventilation or outside. Remove anything which is flammable within your working range.
  • Finally, if you decide to use powered tool or torches, make sure that you have prior training and know well on how to operate these machines.
  • Tools you need for the project including the cutting tool, the measuring tape, and the marker pen.

Which Tools You Can Use To Cut Metal Pipe

​In order to cut metal pipe, you would need to use different tools depending on the diameter of the pipe that you want to cut.

  • For cutting a pipe with the diameter from 2 to 12 inches, you can use a standard tubing cutter. This is one of the most basic tools which are suitable if you have limited working station.
  • In case you have metal pipes with the diameter from 0.25 inches to 12 inches, you can use a handsaw or power saw. These tools are suitable for cutting pipes in both home setting and worksite. You can go for the hacksaw or the reciprocating pipe saw. They are both lightweight and easy to use. Just make sure you follow all of the precaution steps.
  • For cutting thick metal pipes with the diameter from 4 inches to 80 inches, you can use torches. These tools are powerful and very effective. However, they are among the most dangerous tools. Contractors and professional workers enjoy using torches to cut metal pipes. Still, if you use these tools at home, make sure you have the proper training and knowledge. Some torches like the plasma torch can be used to cut metal pipes which are 0.25 inch in diameter or even thinner.

How To Cut Copper Pipes

Here are the recommended steps on cutting copper pipes with a copper pipe cutter.

Step 1: Use the measuring tape to measure the length that you need to cut. Then mark the spot you want to cut with the marker.

Step 2: Place the copper pipe on a stable table. Make sure that the point and the part that you want to cut are over the table.

Step 3: Get the copper tubing cutter ready. Turn the bottom wheel in the counterclockwise direction to open the cutter.

Step 4: Then direct the copper pipe cutter on the spot that you want to cut. Afterwards, you need to tighten the cutter. Just rotate the wheel in the clockwise direction until the blade of the cutter scores the pipe.

Step 5: Rotate the cutter around the copper pipe for several times, ideally from 3 to 4 times.

Step 6: Tighten the cutter a little bit more by turning the bottom a half a turn in the clockwise direction.

Step 7: Repeat step 5

Step 8: Continue to tighten the copper pipe cutter and then rotate the cutter on the pipe 3 to 4 times until the copper pipe is finally cut.

How To Cut Steel Pipes

There are several tools you can use to cut steel pipes including the steel pipe cutter tool, the hacksaw or the reciprocating saw.

Here are the recommended steps on cutting copper pipes:

Step 1: Use the measuring tape to measure the length that you need to cut. Then mark the spot you want to cut with the marker.

Step 2: Place the steel pipe on a stable table. Make sure that the point and the part that you want to cut are over the table. Clamp the pipe so that it can stay secure when you cut it.

Step 3:

  • How to cut steel pipes with a steel pipe cutter: The step on cutting steel pipe with a steel pipe cutter is similar to the way you use the copper pipe cutter. You need to open the cutter and point the blade of the cutter on the spot of the pipe that you want to cut. Then tighten the cutter and rotate it for several times. Continue these steps until you finally cut through the steel pipes.
  • How to cut steel pipes with a hacksaw: Place the blade of the hacksaw on top of the pipe. The blade should be on the marked spot as well. Swing the hacksaw back and forth. Press slightly on the hacksaw. Continue to press and swing until the hacksaw can finally cut through the steel pipe.
  • How to cut steel pipes with a jigsaw: This is similar to how you cut steel pipes with a hacksaw. The main difference here is instead of starting cutting on top of the steel pipes, you need to start from the side. Apply the swing motion with a light pressure and steady speed until you can cut through these steel pipes.

How To Use Torches

There are 2 main types of torches which you can use to cut metal pipes including the plasma torches and the oxy-acetylene torches.

  • The plasma torch is more suitable for cutting metal pipes with thin diameters. The reason is that the plasma torch will not wrap these pipes like the oxy-acetylene torch would do.
  • The oxy-acetylene is only used when you need to cut thick steel pipe.
  • Keep in mind that stainless steel pipes, aluminum pipes, and alloy pipes can’t be cut with a torch.

The steps of using the plasma torch and the oxy-acetylene torch are quite the same.

Here is the guide on cutting metal pipes with an oxy-acetylene torch:

Step 1: Choose a place with good air ventilation and free of flammable objects.

Step 2: Measure the metal pipe with the measuring tape and mark where you want to cut with a marker.

Step 3: Open the oxygen bottle and slightly open your acetylene bottle.

Step 4: Choose the 5 to 7 psi setting for your acetylene and about 40 to 50 psi for your oxygen.

Step 5: Turn both of the valves of oxygen and acetylene on.

Step 6: When there is a flame coming out, point that flame on the point of the cutting pipes. Keep the flame on to pre-heat the metal pipes.

Step 7: Then point the flame on the side of the metal pipes, press the lever and guide the torch around the marked spot. It is better if you go slowly instead of quickly. In addition, remember to use the middle of the flame to cut through these metal pipes instead of using the tip.

Step 8: When the metal pipe is finally cut, turn off the valve.

Step 9: Wait for the cut metal pipes to cool down. You can use water to cool them down.

Here are some of the most common and effective ways you can use to cut the most used metal pipes including steel pipes and copper pipes. When you pick up the right tools, you would be able to cut through metal pipes easily. Remember all of these safety precautions and you will finish your task effectively and safely.

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