Metal pipe is more common than most people realize. Many times when one is involved in a task around the home, plastic pipe or tubing simply won’t work. In cases such as this you may likely have to use or need metal pipe.
The cost of metal pipe may be a bit more than the same plastic, but with metal you get benefits over plastic. These benefits include, among other things, being more durable, longer lasting and holding up better against the elements. However, metal pipe is a not as easy to cut as the same plastic piping.
There are commercial metal pipe cutting tools on the market, but these can be pricy and unless one is cutting metal pipe everyday it many not make sense to go out and purchase one of these cutters.
So rather than not being able to use metal pipe or having to pay to get it cut, it’s possible to build an inexpensive, effective and durable metal pipe cutter in the privacy of your own home with some very common and inexpensive material.
Here’s what you will need. If one has a need to cut metal pipe, I’ll take you’re familiar with the following materials.
1 – A monkey wrench.
2 – A drill.
3 – 3mm drill bit for use with metal.
4 – Two pipe cutting wheels. (These are readily available at your hardware store and are the same wheels that are used in commercial metal pipe cutters.)
5 – Two (2) 3mm wheel pins.
6 – Four (4) 3mm nuts.
7 – Building clamps (optional).
8 – Wire Brush.
9 – Safety glasses and gloves. (Put these on before you start.)
- Let’s start with the monkey wrench. Open it as far as it will go and place the wrench flat on a suitable work surface. (This means a surface that you can use while drilling and also one onto which you can use building clamps to hold the wrench in place.) Using the 3mm drill bit drill a hole approximately one inch (1”) back from the outside edge of each jaw through the jaw.
- Next, using the same 3mm drill bit drill a hole through each of the pipe cutting wheels. (Make sure you are wearing your gloves when you do this and Watch Your Fingers!)
- Once all of the holes are drilled, using the wire brush, carefully clean the holes in the wrench and pipe cutters.
- Align the hole of the first pipe cutting wheel with one of the holes on the wrench. Using one of the wheel pins, secure the pipe cutting wheel to the jaw of the wrench. Then, using two of the 3mm nuts fasten the pipe cutting wheel to the jaw. Repeat this process for the other jaw and other pipe cutting wheel.
- Take care to ensure that both of the pipe cutting wheels are tight enough to provide resistance to effectively cut your metal pipe. You do not want to have the pipe cutting wheels rotating freely as you attempt to use your new tool. You may have to adjust the pipe cutting wheels.
- To use your new tool, measure and mark the metal pipe you wish to cut. Place the metal pipe securely against the bottom jaw of the monkey wrench aligning the pipe cutting wheels with your previously marked spot and then tighten the monkey wrench until both of the pipe cutting wheels are tight and secure against the metal pipe.
It is important to note that the monkey wrench will not simply cut through the metal pipe by continually tightening it, rather once the wrench is tightened against the metal pipe begin to rotate the wrench around the metal pipe in a complete circle to begin to cut the pipe. As the pipe is cut, you will tighten the wrench and continue to rotate to increase the cut until the metal pipe is cut.
Image Credit: avrene
Mitchell Davidson is an expert on industrial tools and equipment. He writes various articles on the working of tools like pipe cutting tools, pipe bevelers etc