Cutting Galvanized Steel Tubing
Flo-Coat & Gatorshield…cutting never a problem
There are many ways to cut. The methods described in this manual are generally accepted as the primary methods used to cut steel tubing.
Die-cutting is the fastest way to cut tubing. The term “die-cut” refers to a die block, with appropriate inserts, to cut a particular size (OD) tubing. Additional equipment from a manual press to a mechanical/hydraulic press to a dedicated system is necessary to complete the process. The die block is designed for a specific OD range and gauge combination. The inserts in the die block can be used with one tube diameter. If several different tube sizes are being cut, a separate set of inserts will be needed for each tube OD. Die blocks are interchangeable in ten minutes to accommodate various tube sizes, wall thickness, and shapes. The die-cut process lends itself to a clean, burr-free end condition. If a two blade cutoff is used (one blade scarfs the top of the tube and the second vertical blade comes down and cuts the tube) a burr-free, dimple-free end cut will result.
Saw cutting is the slowest method of cutting tubing. The advantages of this method proportionately increase with: size of tube being cut (OD), the wall thickness (gauge), the carbon content of the steel. There are two common methods of saw cutting, cold saw and band saw.
Cold saw cutting equipment can be the most economical dedicated cutting system available. A cold saw is a self-contained system requiring a minimum of set-up and operator expertise, utilizing a spinning blade to cut a clamped tube. The quality of a cold saw cut is dimple-free and usually burr-free. The length of the cut can be controlled to ± .010″.
Band saw cutting utilizes a continuous ribbon blade in either a horizontal or vertical plane to cut a clamped tube or tubes. This method of cutting provides the ability to cut multiple pieces of tubing of the same or different diameters to the same length at the same time. For example, a bundle of tubing can be cut to a pre-determined length without breaking the bundle and cutting each piece individually. This is a self-contained dedicated cutting system requiring minimum operator skill. Length tolerances are dependent on the number of tubes being cut simultaneously. Generally, band saws can meet a length tolerance of ± 1/16″.
Lathe cutting is slower than die cutting but faster than saw cutting. The lathe method utilizes a stationary blade (tool bit) while spinning the tube to perform the cutting process. Only round tubing can be cut on a lathe. As a self-contained, dedicated system, the initial investment for lathe cutting equipment is high. A fairly skilled operator is required for optimum set-up and maintenance. The lathe cut is very clean and square. Cut ends can be chamfered on both the OD and the ID of the tube, and tolerances of ±.010″ can easily be held.