How to Cut Aluminum Tubing

What You'll Need
Pipe cutter
Round file
Thread cutting oil

There are many situations in which you may need to cut aluminum tubing. One application where aluminum tubing is very often used is in electrical conduits. Aluminum tubing is also frequently used for chain-link fence posts and many other situations. Aluminum tubing is available in all sorts of different lengths, diameters and thicknesses, the different types of which are designed for different uses.

Fortunately, because aluminum is a fairly soft and light metal, it is also quite easy to cut. When cutting aluminum tubing, certain special methods do need to be used and the piping will need to be handled with care as there can be some extremely sharp edges involved.

Step 1 – Apply the Cutting Oil

Aluminum tubing requires that you use cutting oil to make the job work smoothly. You should be able to find some special cutting oil in any DIY store. A small amount of this then needs to be applied to the surface of the aluminum tubing where you plan to cut it. The cutting oil acts as a coolant, preventing excessive heat generated by friction during cutting metal.

It also lubricates the pipe making it easier and safer to cut through the metal. This also helps to prevent the saw being welded onto the aluminum surface due to the heat generated. Without the cutting oil, you will quickly damage your cutting tools.

Step 2 – Use the Hacksaw

Be very wary of sharp edges when cutting aluminum. It is a good idea to wear gloves as these edges can be razor sharp and cause nasty cuts. Wearing safety goggles is also a good idea. When you are ready to cut the ripe and you have marked the cutting location on it and applied the oil, place the hacksaw blade onto the pipe.

Create a first guideline cut by slowly but firmly drawing the blade back towards you. Continue cutting through the piping. Remember to slow down with the cutting movement when you near the end of the pipe as it is easy to end up crushing the pipe at this point.

Step 3 – Use a Pipe Cutter

Another method of cutting aluminum pipe is using a specialized pipe cutter. Before you begin, make sure that cutting oil has been applied to the area as mentioned in step one. If you find that the cutting process gets more difficult, apply more oil as required. Get the pipe cutter and close its jaws around the tubing. Turn the handles of the pipe cutter to create a cut line in the piping. Do this again to tighten the jaws and create more revolutions around the pipe.

Step 4 – Finishing Up

When the pipe has been cut, you should take care to remove any burrs on it. A round file is ideal for this job. You can also use a sharp utility knife to remove the burrs.