Best Way To Split aluminum Pipe

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by bobk, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. bobk
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 1, Points: 3, Legacy Rep: 22
    Location: Big Bend Wisconsin

    bobk Junior Member

    Hi, I need to split 20' sections of aluminum pipe for the rub rails of my boat. Which method do you use to split pipe this long?
     
  2. david@boatsmith
    Joined: Aug 2008
    Posts: 129
    Likes: 19, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 75
    Location: Jupiter Fl USA

    david@boatsmith Senior Member

    Table saw or band saw
     
  3. larry larisky

    larry larisky Previous Member

    metal band saw with a half round negative base guide in wood.
    have the pipe long enough for clamping
     
  4. sabahcat
    Joined: Dec 2008
    Posts: 792
    Likes: 28, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 273
    Location: australia

    sabahcat Senior Member

    If you dont have table or band saw, clamp pipe and attack with

    [​IMG]

    use tungsten tipped blades
     
  5. SaltOntheBrain
    Joined: Feb 2007
    Posts: 123
    Likes: 7, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 87
    Location: crosbyton, TX

    SaltOntheBrain Senior Member

    And spray Pam cooking spray on the blade while it's spinning, just before you cut. Aluminum tends to gall even with a sharp new blade.

    Lance.
     
  6. tazmann
    Joined: Aug 2005
    Posts: 329
    Likes: 17, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 215
    Location: California

    tazmann Senior Member

    Hello Lance
    Any noticable difference in weld quality using pam vs dry
    Thanks
    Tom
     
  7. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Thanks, I didn't know this one.

    Daniel
     
  8. rugludallur
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 17, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 249
    Location: Iceland

    rugludallur Rugludallur

    Another option

    There is another way, although usually it's employed for steel/stainless, you can plasma cut the pipe. The nice thing about using a plasma cutter is that the heat shrinkage causes the pipes to curve and so it's more easily fitted to the hull, the negative thing is that the inside tends to get filthy and depending on the diameter of the pipe and power of the plasma cutter it's possible to damage the other side of the pipe, especially with aluminum.

    Here is an image of some plasma split stainless pipes, the curvature is quite clearly visible with a straight edge right next to it.

    Dallur Rub Rails

    Jarl
    http://dallur.com
     
  9. WestCoastFab
    Joined: Jun 2010
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Vancouver Island B.C.

    WestCoastFab Junior Member

    I would use a band saw forsure, If you want to lube your blade use cutting wax, then wipe down your material with laquor thinner before you weld it

    Dont use a skill saw :eek:

    If you dont have a band saw use a table saw and make two cuts

    Or just get haul stiffener material

    If you use a plasma you will have a tone of prep before you can weld

    Dont use pam either, get some cutting wax pam will get in the pours and will give you a bad weld
    Again use laquor thinner on your cuts when your done
     
  10. tazmann
    Joined: Aug 2005
    Posts: 329
    Likes: 17, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 215
    Location: California

    tazmann Senior Member

    Thanks for the tip about using pam, I have been just cutting dry in fear of contaminating the metal
    Tom
     
  11. kmorin
    Joined: Apr 2005
    Posts: 185
    Likes: 18, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 231
    Location: Alaska

    kmorin Senior Member

    slicing pipe extrusions

    I've slit and split pipe with all the methods listed before and they all work. I do use Pam or generic brand pan spray and have since I began cutting aluminum in 1975 and its fine.

    [​IMG]
    a guide for the table saw made of the next size plastic pipe screwed to some plywood and clamped to the fence will slit pipe fine. It will split pipe too but then its wise to put a blade thickness kerf retainer so the halves don't bind behind the blade. I spray these with pam till they drip.

    [​IMG]

    same with the band saw, just use the next concentric ABS or PVC and use a line on the pipe made by laying an angle on the pipe and Magic Marking a TDC mark. When you run the pipe through the saw guide(s) keep the line at the TDC mark for a non-spiral cut. I lube the band saw with Pam for all cuts and usually us a 6-to-8 TPI blade and they cut fine.

    [​IMG]

    If you're not doing much pipe and want to rig the cut fairly fast then us a pair of planks (2x6) next to the pipe for the saw's table to run on. I usually line out the cut line and if I'm splitting instead of slitting I'd tighten the furniture clamps onto the cut behind the saw to keep tension on the entire show. I usually put a screw driver blade or some 1/8" scrap in the saw's kerf to hold the width of the cut open.

    Before I had 2" half pipe and 3" half pipe extruded in 1977-78 we had to split all the pipe for skiffs and we still have to slit and split the small stuff.

    WestCoastFab, there aren't/shouldn't be any pores in aluminum!!!; if there are then its one odd alloy standard! Acetone or laquer thinner will remove all the pan spray on any smooth surface and if its too rough to come clean its not ready to weld anyway.

    If the cut edges have so much rough surface or texture that they will retain the veggie grease; then the edges aren't dressed enough to weld they need to be dressed. If the blades are dull, or not lubed the cuts may tear and melt the surfaces and leave behind a mess; the Vixen file is the correct finish for all those edges or the 1" belt sander or some other means to clean up that edge.

    I use generic frying pan spray for all the aluminum cutting, sanding, grinding, milling, drilling and even in the first few grits of polishing- seems to work. I do clean it off with acetone, as I have for all these years and it comes clean enough to weld.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin
     
  12. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
    Posts: 2,164
    Likes: 53, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 575
    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Treat it like a hard wood, use regular wood circular saw or table saw, just oil it. I use WD40. Blades last don't as long - that is all.
     
  13. WestCoastFab
    Joined: Jun 2010
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Vancouver Island B.C.

    WestCoastFab Junior Member

    If you plan on powder coating your material you cant use wd40 or a oil base product, if you do so the powder coat will fisheye
     
  14. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
    Posts: 2,164
    Likes: 53, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 575
    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Wd40


    Actually soap and water works real good to remove residue for welding. Don't do much powder coating. But will keep in mind, thanks.
     

  15. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 3,497
    Likes: 147, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 2291
    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Kerosene is the usual cutting lubricant for Aluminum, if I remember from my long-ago shop apprenticeship, but I routinely cut aircraft grade alloy dry with a carbide-tipped crosscut blade and have no problem, at least up to 0.06" thickness. The cut is clean, just needs a couple of swipes with a file, and it's surprisingly quick.

    A skilsaw works well for cutting a slit and IMHO is safer than a tablesaw; I used a ply baseplate so I could attach guides.

    It may be dangerous to attempt to cut a tube into 2 pieces lengthwise with a skilsaw as the tool is resting on the workpiece which will become progressively harder to control as the cut proceeds. A bandsaw would be my choice of weapon.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.