The use of tubing is a semi-common element in metalwork and jewelry making, used most often for small-scale applications like riveting and stone setting. While most of this tubing tends to be of lighter-gauge and smaller-diameter stock, some artists use industrial cuts in their metalworking.
But what is the best way to cut the metal tubing you need for your project? Depending on the metal’s outer diameter and the thickness of the tube wall, some methods are more effective than others. Here’s a quick rundown of four of the most common tube-cutting methods.
A traditional tube and pipe cutter
, used mostly in industrial settings, can be found at any hardware store. It works best for larger-diameter, heavier-walled tubing that won’t be affected by the pressure of the cutting blade. The unit consists of a channel for the tubing and a circular steel blade that is set on a clamp or a spring so that it can be set flush against the metal while cutting.
To use this cutter, place the tubing in a vise. Line up the circular steel blade to where you want to cut the tubing, tighten the blade firmly against the tubing and then rotate the tube cutter. With each rotation, tighten the clamp so that the blade will cut further into the tubing. Continue until the tubing is cut through. A hand file and sandpaper will be necessary to clean up the edges and to de-bur the inside of the tubing.