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Cutting stainless steel pipes

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  • Cutting stainless steel pipes


    I would like to get some advice with regards into helping my friend's shop.

    My friend who runs a shop does automotive modifying work like turbocharging and exhaust stuff. He uses just a rigid abrasive chop saw and a bench grinder with a wire wheel and a stone wheel.

    I mentioned to him about the dry cut saw and told him that I would research on it first and if its a good investment he might get one. With exhaust works and turbo, he uses SS304 or 316 tube/pipe, and mild steel, they range from a 2" diameter to a 4" diameter. He either tigs or migs the pipe/tubing together.

    When Tigging pipe/tubing, these are his steps (doing exhaust/turbo work)

    1. Cut the tubing
    2. Deburr the pipe using a bench grinder stone wheel
    3. Clean the edges of the tube with wire wheel on bench grinder
    4. Using a sander, sand the tube so its flat
    5. Clean again using a wire wheel
    6. Then tig it connecting to the other pipe

    Sometimes he does some of the steps twice just to make sure its flat and burr free.

    It is very time consuming for them to be doing this and with those time that was used, it could have been used on another part of the car (be more efficient).

    I guess my question is mainly, what would be the best tool to use in cutting Stainless Steel pipe/tubing for exhaust/turbo work? That of course would greatly minimize the burrs? In order to just basically cut, quickly clean, and weld?

    Thank you in advance for any help!!!

    Greatly Appreciated


  • #2
    Cold saw.(Wet saw.)


    • #3
      you could also use a small band saw


      • #4
        I saw an incredible saw (heh, heh) at eastec. It was a small bandsaw, made in italy. It ran the blade in the opposite direction we are used to. The guy let me try it. I could cut a sliver off a 3" solid bar very quickly. the taper was about .003", verified with a dial caliper. I was very impressed. they are light and small and run around 1100-1500 depending on the model. I don't know if anybody knows the name, i will try to remember and post if i do. I have a milwaukee dry cut and would trade it in an instant for this one.


        • #5
          Hi Everyone,

          Thank you for your replies!!! Much help is appreciated

          Actually, my questions applies to both MY own tools and my friend's shop.

          Just for clarification, a "wet saw" is the same as a cold/dry cut saw? Reason why I asked about the cold/dry cut saw is that I noticed on the blade itself that it does not say that i can cut SS? But specify that it can only cut Mild Steel?

          This is the blade I am referring to:

          I myself already have a small band saw (horizontal), and a 14" chop saw. My band saw currently is broken due to the blade, and eventually would like to get it replaced and calibrated to some sort due to the fact that it does not cut straight (thats why I dont use it much before it broke). I just got my chop saw so I havent used it much.

          But I dont cut much pipes as I am just a hobbiest, as much as my friend's who runs a automotive shop business.

          Basically, I would recommend my friend to either buy a band saw or a cold/dry cut, but I would like to first get a confirmation that it is ok to use Stainless Steel on a cold/dry cut saw?
          (Leaning towards on getting a cold/dry cut saw thats why)

          Thank you!



          • #6
            Cleaver, as you can see, a lot comes down to your (friend's) budget. Cold saws are nice. Nice and pricey. Dry cut saws are more economical, but I'm not sure that would be my choice of machine. Noisy, too. Ouch.
            I like bandsaws.
            You already have a bandsaw. Get some blades, dial it in the best you can, and get 'er done. IMO, the kind of work you are talking about is all about proper fit-up and patience. I don't think you will find a magic tool to get it done without some post-cut tweaking for fit-up.

            I agree with Ironhead and Jack's approach... not necessarily with the same equipment they recommend, but in a nut shell it's suggesting that you don't need a $5000 saw to cut on the line. This is just my $.02. If your buddy has a shop, a cold saw could serve him/you well for a variety of applications... but it's not necessary IMO. See if you can't try one out somewhere on the material you are looking to work with and then you can make a better call for yourself.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Iron Head
              I think all you’ll need is a Ridgid model 460 pipe vice, couple pipe stands, and a little practice with a portable band saw. I would hate to guess how much pipe is cut everyday with these tools!
              This is the method we use out in the field but we also use these pipe cutting guides
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Hello Cleaver!
                If I understand your friends need from your post, he seems to have a need for prototype/modification work, as opposed to production.
                Since he is in the business of making money with the needed equipment, he should only invest in quality equipment. I think a miter bandsaw, and a belt sander would be a good start, and then a cold saw with appropriate blade for type of material as the need arises. There are plenty of good quality brands to choose from, but he will need to find a good local supplier, and find a product that has the best service locally. I would have them demonstrate the equipment first before any investment too! The good companies like Dake, Brobo, Scotchman, Doringer, and Burr-king are more than happy to help and advise on the type of equipment that will be needed.

                The saw blade you linked to is for a dry-cut saw. I doubt it will work with a cold saw which is completely different. A dry saw is similar to the abrasive chop saw in construction, but with a different style of electric motor. You have to purchase the blades recommended by the manufacturer for these type of saws. Milwaukee has one that is hand held, and used like a circular saw. Run a google search on dry-cut saw, and cold saw and you will understand the difference
                I hope this helps!


                • #9
                  For square cuts only, on stainless pipe or tube, I've never used anything better than a GF orbital cutting machine. I've also found cold cut saw blades don't stay sharp for long when cutting lots of stainless. GF's aren't cheap though.


                  • #10
                    Hi Everyone!!!

                    I wanted to say first thank you for all the help!!! I really appreciate it very much

                    Firstly, I never knew that there was a difference between a cold cut and a dry cut. I had always thought that they were the same machine just how people called it differs. But now I know!

                    Just for clarification:
                    Cold cut:

                    Dry Cut:

                    I am mostly looking into the drycut as the cold cut would be out of the budget right for now (for my friend's and me definitly).

                    And you right everyone, there isnt a tool that will do everything. So with my friend's shop already having a chop saw, I wanted to recommend him with something that cuts better, but not necssarily faster? haha, I dont know about that yet.

                    It boils down to two machines: a vertical/horizontal bandsaw or a drycut saw.

                    So my next question would be is that "has anyone cut stainless steel tubing using a dry cut saw (daily or occationally)?" How did it perform and how long does the blade last? [im trying to find out more about the drycut saws thats why]

                    Thank you.


                    ps: that Orbital site looks cool...and expensive! haha


                    • #11
                      The system ate my first post, so I'll try again...

                      I recently picked up a Slugger dry cut chop saw. I have not used it enough to comment on the cost per cut data, but can give my initial impression on its cutting abilities. Slugger sells blades optimized for SS, mild steel, and aluminum. I purchased the mild and SS blades. The blades are costly, but may outlast carborundum, and will not lose cutting capacity as it wears. The saw cuts very clean and square, leaving a thin very sharp burr which is easy to remove. The shavings are very sharp also, so care is exersised when cleaning up! It cuts thin walled tubing very well up to .25" wall. On thick sections it is less than happy requiring slow feed pressure. I cut some 3" X 3" X 1/4 wall tubes for a fab table with good speed and nice square ends. If I were cutting 1/2" I would go to the bandsaw. Noise is about equal to carborundum, so hearing protection is a good idea. I don't miss the smell of carborundum in the morning either! Time will tell if dry saws are cost effective.


                      • #12
                        Hi Russ,

                        Thank you for your post. Would you happen to have pictures of the cuts that you made and the machine itself? I wanna see how its constructed and etc.

                        Thanks again...



                        • #13
                          Here is a picture of the saw. I don't have any shots of the cuts.
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RWC View Post
                            Here is a picture of the saw. I don't have any shots of the cuts.

                            Hi Russ,

                            Thank you for the pictures. The machine looks like the Millwuakee one, but different color and etc. Where can you buy that product?

                            Does Slugger brand sell blades inself only or only with the machine?

                            Thank you.



                            • #15
                              I bought the saw from Westair in San Diego. There was a special going on that had the saw and 2 mild steel cutting blades for $399.00. They sell the blades separatly as well.
                              Here is a link to Jancy, who sells Slugger.


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