How To Cut Steel Pipe

For a thin sheet of pipe, you can easily use a pair of compound snips or a nibbler to cut through it. However, it will be more difficult if you want to cut a steel pipe. It is thicker; hence, it would need different types of tools for this job. For cutting steel pipe, you would need some kinds of saws including hacksaw and power say. Torches can also be used in order to cut steel pipe.

Let’s check out the guide below for more details.

Tools for cutting steel pipes such as the power saws and torches are quite dangerous; follow these safety precautions to ensure your safety:

  • When you cut steel pipes, sparks will occur. It is a potential fire hazard. Hence, you should wear protective gloves, goggles, and jacket. They should be in the shade ranging from number 7 to number 9. Wear comfortable clothes. You should wear clothes made of natural fibers as they are easy to catch fire.
  • You should cut steel pipes outside. Or choose a room with good air ventilation as cutting steel pipes can create gasses and small particles of dirt.
  • Make sure there is nothing flammable within the working range.
  • Only work with a high-powered tool if you have prior training and knowledge.

Here are steps of cutting steel pipe with common tools:

Step 1: First, you need to measure the point at which you want to cut the steel pipe. Use the measuring tape to measure the length of the steel pipe you need. Then use a marker to mark that point.

Step 2: Place the steel pipe on a stable surface or a working station. You can place the pipe on a steady table. Make sure that the part which you want to cut the steel pipe is over the edge.

Step 3: Use clamps to secure the steep pipe and prevent it from moving when you cut it. You can also use a cloth and wrap around the part at which you will clamp the steel pipe down. It will help to prevent the pipe from slipping.

Step 4: Then use the proper tool to cut the steel pipe. Below are some of the most common tools:

  • For a thin steel pipe, you can use a steel pipe tubing cutter to cut it. First, you need to tighten the cutter and let the blade of the cutter score the steel pipe. Then rotate the cutter around the steel pipe for the blade to cut through it.
  • You can use the hacksaw to cut the steel pipe of small and medium thickness. Point of the blade of the hacksaw on top of the marked point and then use the swing motion to cut through the steel. Apply a firm and strong pressure as well. Make sure your hands are steady. Remember not to push down the saw. It can slip on the surface of the steel pipe, making it snap. Or worse, it can cause damage to you.
  • A high-powered saw you can use to cut steel pipes is the cold saw. A cold saw is an expensive tool but it is among the most effective tools for cutting steel pipes. Place the steel pipe under the cold saw so that the mark you want to cut is under the blade of the cold saw and turn on the machine. With a lot of teeth on the blade, a cold saw might move slowly but it will make its cuts very quickly.

Step 5: Continue step 4 until the steel pipe is thoroughly cut.


  • Before you cut steel pipes with a hacksaw, you should rub the blades of the saw with the rubbing wax.
  • If you use the cold saw to cut steel pipes, before you turn on the machine, remember to apply a coolant on the blade of the cold saw. It would help to prevent the steel pipes from being overheated. After the steel pipes are cut, remember to wipe off any coolant remaining on the steel pipes.
  • Each of the tools I mentioned above is for different steel pipes of different thickness. Some tools are quite easy to use such as the pipe cutters. However, some other tools are high-powered tools. Only use them if you have prior training.
  • With all types of saws that you are going to use to cut steel pipes, make sure that they are used for metal-cutting. These blades should be made of carbon steel or bimetal.
  • In term of choosing the tooth patterns, for cutting a thin steel pipe, go for a blade with the wave tooth pattern. On the other hand, go for a rake patterned blade to cut thick steel pipes.

Here are steps of cutting steel pipe with torches:

There are 2 main types of torches which you can use to cut a steel pipe. They are the plasma torch and oxy-acetylene torches.

Before you use these torches to cut the steel pipe, follow all of the precaution steps and measuring steps just like what you do when you use the steel pipe cutter and the saws.

A plasma torch is a high-powered tool which uses thermal to cut through the steel pipe which is not thicker than 1 inch. On the other hand, the oxy-acetylene torch is used to cut any steel pipe which is thicker than 1 inch.

Step 1: First, you need to set the plasma torch or the oxy-acetylene at the right power level. If you want to move the torch slowly, you should set the low power level. On the other hand, if you move the torch quickly, you should set the high power level. In addition, the thicker the steel pipe is the higher power level you should set for the plasma torch.

Step 2: Connect the torch to the power tank. Keep the power tank in the upright position. Make sure the vales on the torch are securely shut.

Step 3: Ignite the flame on the torch by holding the striker and squeezing on the handle of the torch.

Step 4: Move the flame into the mark you have drawn on the steel pipe. Make sure that you use the middle of the flame inside of the tip of the flame to cut the pipe.

Step 5: After the steel pipe is cut, wait for it to cool down before you touch the cut parts.

Cutting a steel pipe is no different from cutting other metal pipes. You can use many kinds of saw or torches. For small and thin steel pipes, you can use both of the handsaw and the powered saw. You can use both of the plasma torch and the oxy-acetylene torch for cutting thick steel pipes. The latter is suitable for cutting very thick steel pipe (which is more than 2.5 inches in thickness.

They are dangerous tools so make sure you know how to handle them. Follow all of the safety precautions as well. With this guide above, you will be able to cut steel pipes without any difficulty at all.