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Tube notcher


landmannnn
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Thanks ciderman.

I just looked at the Starret cutters and there seems to be a wide range of prices etc. Which ones would be the best to get?

I just ordered that thing by the way.

Do you have to bolt that thing to a bench or something?

Would an ordinary electric drill be ok? I have a Ryobi Industrial 2-speed drill. Is there a preferred speed for the cutters, like slow or fast?

Les.

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Just what I needed too. Just ordered one.

Les, the main thing with any hole saw is a very slow drill speed. I find a battery drill works well as they are generally high torque and slow. I use my DeWalt on the 300rpm gear and keep it well lubed up - seems to work pretty well on other stuff.

Up till now, I've been using the 2 saw-cut method of notching. I've found it is brilliant when the tubes are close to 90 degrees, but gradually worse and worse as the angle gets shallower. With a little luck this will be better!

Si

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I'm not sure what you mean by that Si?

Les.

I think Si's talking about the method where you make 2x opposed 45deg cuts to form the tube into a point, then round off the inner section with a grinder.

Hope that makes sense, I think there was a post about it earlier with some good pics of the technique, sorry can't find it.

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Les I'll be very interested to hear how it performs. At that price, its worth a punt. To be honest I have heard that this type of notcher is a bit on the flimsy side, and not really solid enough for some users, but I guess for a single cage it'd probably be ok? Let us know.

Defo go easy on the drill speed/pressure and use cutting fluid. Yes, you'll have to clamp it down well.

Depending on the angle of intersection, you'll not be able to do all notches with it (I think the beefier versions can handle shallower angles of notch without flexing so much that it becomes impossible to use. In light of that, you might find this thing is really pretty useful for intersections around 90 degrees (which is probably most of your notches).

Once you've figured out the angles, the 2-straight-cuts method works very nicely. I had to try it out before my brain got used to the idea that a straight cut through the pipe left a perfect notch profile! If you get on with it ok, I guess you can forego the notcher (you'll need a chop saw anyway unless you're using a grinder to cut all your tubes!!!).

I looked at notchers, and at making my lathe into one, but in the end it proved unnecessary. I went with some pipemasters:

http://www.pipemastertools.com/

I draw the profile onto the tube (having used the pipemaster to find it), then plasma along the line (cos I'm a ponce - you could just as easily use a chop saw/grinder to get close) and then just clean it up with a grinder. So far they come out bang on, no gaps - its REALLY easy! :

post-139-1181729565_thumb.jpg

Comes out perfect, and is really fast too! :)

Anyway - just some other ideas if it doesn't work out, or is too laborious with the notcher.

You don't need much else - I'd recommend a chop saw to cut the stuff up quickly, even a cheapo one. Whatever you normally use to clean up metal before welding (my weapon of choice is a rubber backed sanding disc on a grinder, others use flap wheels etc). Maybe a degreasant too, if you are feeling picky. Thats about it really - defo a grinder to clean up before welding - even with a notcher you'll prob need to chamfer the outer edge, or possibly remove the thinnest 'points' of the notched tube (don't bother welding really thin stuff, grind it back a bit so that you are welding something more meaty). Angle finders of various shapes & sizes if you like. Oh... and a Mig welder, or some bottles of gas and some skill! ;)

Keep us posted.

Cheers, Al. :)

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I looked at notchers, and at making my lathe into one, but in the end it proved unnecessary. I went with some pipemasters:

http://www.pipemastertools.com/

Al, is there a UK supplier for these - another very good idea IMHO.

I notice they also sell a 'flange wizard' - but I think that might be more something for Sarah! ;)

Si

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I got mine this morning. I'll take some decent photo's of it and also have a go. Not that I'm any kind of expert, but not too impressed with a few things about it just by having a quick look.

Les.

Uh Oh :blink: Doesnt sound good? Maybe we have been expecting too much for the cost? Other makes are way pricer. But maybe a good platform to make one?

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Well this is it. The first thing I noticed about it was that it was covered in some kind of really sticky (corrosion protector?). The whole thing was siezed up with it and I had to dismantle the whole unit and clean it all with Plus Gas. The slide had to be knocked out with a mallet after removing the locking pin it was that tight with this stuff. So 1/2hr or so making it useable. The pictures in the 'manual' only show the notcher fixed to a drill press, but it can be clamped to the tube if you want to use a hand drill (1/2" chuck). The clamp has two bolts that lock it in the desired position, but the pivot bolt already has excessive play in it right from the start due to the fact that the bolt is M8 coarse, but the hole it pivots through is 10mm. There is a degree scale riveted to the main backplate, but no accurate reference pointer to get the angle right - you would need to use a square to make the pointer yourself I presume. The slide comes fitted upside down as shown in the pictures, and it's only designed to take 1/2" or 3/8" threaded holesaws. The 'T' bar on the clamp has no recess to locate in, so as you tighten it, it goes off at an angle, although I suppose as long at the tube is in the 'V' of the lower part, then it might not matter.

Recommended drill speed is 500rpm, but higher if you are using thin wall tubing.

Sticky stuff.

post-2-1182026106_thumb.jpg

The degree scale and no apparent pointer.

post-2-1182026451_thumb.jpg

The backplate

post-2-1182027026_thumb.jpg

The foot you need to use to clamp it to the base plate of a pillar drill.

post-2-1182028317_thumb.jpg

This pin is used both to store the notcher and to lock the slide in order to change the holesaw.

post-2-1182026616_thumb.jpg

The clamp and the 'T' bar. I can't help thinking that the tip of the thread would be better if there was a seat for it to keep it straight, but like I said - it may not matter.

post-2-1182026779_thumb.jpg

The pivot point I mentioned. When the bolt is loose, there is a lot of play in it.

post-2-1182026925_thumb.jpg

Clamped on a bit of pipe. With the spindle still upside down!

post-2-1182027149_thumb.jpg

I couldn't actually use the thing as I don't have any hole saws at present. I would suggest you use an adjustable angle square to make sure the angles are right before you start cutting - if only as a double check.

Les.

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This is useful - and free. The only problem is it's not a stand-alone program, so unless you are online in your garage you need to make a set up before you go. But it works for ANY size tube and any angle. Also, it is so simple children can master it so you dont even need to be a real grown up. :) We have several sets made up and laminated. 15 degree increments over a 90 degree spread seem to cover most applications. Once you have used these a couple of times it gives a really good "feel" for the notch, and cutting them with the grinder becomes almost second nature rather than the usual cut- grind- cut- grind bore.

http://metalgeek.com/static/cope.pcgi

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Mine arrived a couple of days ago - only just got round to trying it.

Like Les, my first impressions were poor - but then, I remembered how cheap it was. Once the packing grease has been removed and the spindle freed up it was much better.

I removed the foot intended to clamp it to your drill table and filed it in the bin - it's a waste of time.

Clamp the backing plate in a vice and use a battery drill on it's slowest speed. Most pillar drills are too fast for hole saws anyway.

To use the angle gauge, you need to lay a ruler against the pipe clamp back plate which allows the accurate reading of an angle - works fine.

I attached a hole saw and cut a 10 degree notch in the end of a bit of pipe - and it's perfect. It actually does a surprisingly good job.

I cut a 45 deg notch in a piece of 2" pipe which was the biggest it would reasonably hold. The only problem here is the hole saw is not deep enough to cut the notch in one go. You have to remove the tube, slice a bit off with a cutting disk and carry on the notch. Still worked surprisingly well.

I'm pleased I bought it now!

Si

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