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Cutting fine metal tubing question

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  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Cutting fine metal tubing question
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 8:45 PM

I finally have obtained some fine brass tubing to use for replacing gun barrels and similar such items. I’m talking tubing with an outer diameter of less than 1mm. Now my question is, what is the best method, tool, or technique to cut the stuff? I figure using basic cutters like wire cutters will crimp the cut end and destroy the opening. Any and all ideas and war stories will be most helpful here.

 

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  • Member since
    March 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 8:50 PM

Use your hobby knife and apply light pressure in a rolling motion back and forth. All you‘re trying to do is score the tube around it’s circumference. Then just snap the end off. It should break clean. Kind of hard to explain. I think Albion Alloys has a video on it. Maybe You Tube?

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 9:15 PM

Thanks Nathan. I never would have thought of that... I was thinking of using my Dremel with a cutting wheel... and dreading that approach.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    July 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 9:19 PM

If you have an Automotive/ part's store near you, get a tubing cutter.

It's used for cutting steel , copper, or aluminium fuel line's , transmission line's , and on really "old school" car's copper brake line's

They sometimes come in tube bending kit's, but dont buy the whole set if you only need the cutter. ( Or DO buy the whole set... comes in handy for all kind's of project's. )

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage"

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 9:53 PM

Yes, one of the companies that makes tubing, K&S or something like that, makes tubing cutters and benders. Will those items work on such small diameter tubes?

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    January 2017
Posted by damouav on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:09 PM

stikpusher

Yes, one of the companies that makes tubing, K&S or something like that, makes tubing cutters and benders. Will those items work on such small diameter tubes?

 

As already mentioned, use a new sharp hobby knide blade and roll it back and forth. A pipe cutter will most likely crush the thin walled pipe and not cut it. Give it a go...

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  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Far Northern CA
Posted by mrmike on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:12 PM

For the diameter of tubing you're asking about Nathan's method is the best. I just place the tubing on a scrap piece of glass and roll it under the back part of the blade with gentle pressure and it breaks off very clean.

Mike 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:26 PM

stikpusher

Thanks Nathan. I never would have thought of that... I was thinking of using my Dremel with a cutting wheel... and dreading that approach.

 

I don't know why? That is the way to go. I use those abrasive disks, they come in a bottle of several dozen. They are so fragile that I use two at a time.

 

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by steve5 on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:40 PM

e-bay has hobby tube cutters for $2-$3 , delivered .

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:46 PM

The problem with all tube cutters is that they crimp in the end of the tube ever so slightly. Thats ok if you come back and grind the end square, or cut them with a rod inside the tube and then remove the rod and snap it. I just find the Dremel with the abrasive disk perfect at high rpms for the job.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:57 PM

GMorrison

 

 
stikpusher

Thanks Nathan. I never would have thought of that... I was thinking of using my Dremel with a cutting wheel... and dreading that approach.

 

 

 

I don't know why? That is the way to go. I use those abrasive disks, they come in a bottle of several dozen. They are so fragile that I use two at a time.

 

 

 

Well, parts of the cutting discs tend to fly, or the part I’m trying to cut off flies away into the twilight zone... that’s all...

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    July 2013
  • From: Chicago area
Posted by modelmaker66 on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 11:18 PM

Hi!

 

Tucing cutters do not go that small. The hooby knife is the right way to go.

  • Member since
    January 2006
Posted by Paul Budzik on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 11:29 PM

I use these fine circular saw blades from Pfingst shown in the video ... You want to use them at high speed and they will go through the tubing like butter ... and very clean ...

 

Paul

Paul

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 11:57 PM

stikpusher

 

 
GMorrison

 

 
stikpusher

Thanks Nathan. I never would have thought of that... I was thinking of using my Dremel with a cutting wheel... and dreading that approach.

 

 

 

I don't know why? That is the way to go. I use those abrasive disks, they come in a bottle of several dozen. They are so fragile that I use two at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

Well, parts of the cutting discs tend to fly, or the part I’m trying to cut off flies away into the twilight zone... that’s all...

 

The secret is to use two together. It makes a difference.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Thursday, February 22, 2018 12:21 AM

I'm crude and cut with a pair of diagonal cutters.  Then pinch with needlenose back to about round then sand off the defect part.  Pretty quick actually.

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Thursday, February 22, 2018 2:04 AM

I have used a saw in the past, does ok but it leaves it needing some clean up. I plan on getting one of those K&S tube cutters, says it will do down to 1.5mm. For £9 its got to be worth a try.

But i have not found one that will go smaller than that.

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  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, February 22, 2018 7:07 AM

GMorrison

The problem with all tube cutters is that they crimp in the end of the tube ever so slightly. Thats ok if you come back and grind the end square, or cut them with a rod inside the tube and then remove the rod and snap it. I just find the Dremel with the abrasive disk perfect at high rpms for the job.

 

The tubing cutters will work well on hardened tubing, not on soft stuff. It will not work well on aluminum tubes.  K&S brass comes in two forms, hard and soft.  Most is the hard stuff, the soft is only available in a few sizes, so most brass tubes will be okay for those cutters.

One thing about the knife scoring techniques.  When cutting brass, the blades go dull pretty quickly if you are cutting very many times.  Be ready to change blades if you are doing a lot of cutting.

I have used all three methods of cutting- all work. If cutting soft aluminum tubes, though, it will deform with the knife scoring or the tube cutter.  For aluminum I use the Dremel and abrasive disk.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Thursday, February 22, 2018 11:13 AM

I have used a tube cutter and a hobby knife for cutting aluminum tubes. Following are photos showing the results. The tube in the photos is 1/4" in diameter. I am not sure that the tube cutter would work on a very small diameter tube.

 

This is the way the end of the 1/4" tube looks when it is removed from the package. Nice smooth cut with no burr.

 

This is the tube cutter. The round cutting blade is tapered.

 

This is the end of the tube after it was cut with the tube cutter. The tapered blade  creates a burr on the end of the tube. The burr can be removed by placing either a hobby knife or file into the end of the tube and then rotating the tube. The end of the tube then needs to be sanded smooth.

 

This is the end of the tube after it was cut by placing a hobby knife against the tube and rotating the tube as Nathan recommends. Note that there is no burr. A light sanding may be necessary.

 

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, February 22, 2018 11:38 AM

Well it sure sounds like there are multiple methods to choose from. I will likely try all mentioned just to see what works best for me. My fine tubing is all brass, so it sounds like for the blade technique I will need a good stock of those on hand. 

Many thanks to all for schooling me on how to try something new.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Thursday, February 22, 2018 12:04 PM

Might try an old, repeat, old razor saw blade. Might leave a little more cleanup than the knife blade.  I usually go the knife route with brass and alum.

I save my old blade, since I find myself using the tip 1/3 for plastic, and do the cutting of tude with the heavy back end of the blade.  Makes use of something that would normally get tossed.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, February 22, 2018 12:23 PM

goldhammer

Might try an old, repeat, old razor saw blade. Might leave a little more cleanup than the knife blade.  I usually go the knife route with brass and alum.

I save my old blade, since I find myself using the tip 1/3 for plastic, and do the cutting of tude with the heavy back end of the blade.  Makes use of something that would normally get tossed.

 

Good ideas GH! Thanks! You are quite correct about the areas of the blade used.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Thursday, February 22, 2018 1:04 PM

goldhammer

Might try an old, repeat, old razor saw blade. Might leave a little more cleanup than the knife blade.  I usually go the knife route with brass and alum.

I save my old blade, since I find myself using the tip 1/3 for plastic, and do the cutting of tude with the heavy back end of the blade.  Makes use of something that would normally get tossed.

 

Same with me. I do a lot of Bare Metal Foil on airplanes which means that I ruin the blade tips really fast. I save the blades for work that does not require the tip.

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, February 23, 2018 7:04 AM

goldhammer

Might try an old, repeat, old razor saw blade. Might leave a little more cleanup than the knife blade.  I usually go the knife route with brass and alum.

I save my old blade, since I find myself using the tip 1/3 for plastic, and do the cutting of tude with the heavy back end of the blade.  Makes use of something that would normally get tossed.

 

I also keep old blade  on hand for various uses.  But for things that dull blades quickly, I keep one handle with one that has the 45 degree cutting edge.  I find that shorter edge seems to hold its edge longer.  May be something about how the force gets applied.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, February 23, 2018 4:23 PM

If you do get any distortion of the material, you can use a sewing needle or a straight pin to re-shape the opening and round it back out.  I've done this when I've gotten some squashed tubing.

You might need to file or sand the edges and remove any burrs created when cutting or snapping the tube, anyway.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, February 23, 2018 6:46 PM

Thanks for all the ideas, tips, suggestions, etc.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

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