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Thread: Pipe Notching

  1. #21
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    An aspect to consider when the material is thin walled Chro-Mo.

    Milling cuttters can pull in those paper thin and razor sharp ears of the sinusoidal shape. WHAM! when you least expect.
    Thicker walls and softer material doesn't show this as often.

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    What about an annular cutter.

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    Surprised by the anti holesaw comments. Notched quite a bit of tubing both stainless and chromolly using them. You do need a mandrel to make it work right though. Best I have found so far is a 3/4 diameter peice of cold rolled, about five inches long. Longer doesn't do much for you except at the higher miter angles, but you give up a lot of stability in the cut. There are only two threads for the hole saws, 1/2-20 and 5/8-18, best I have found is to tap the cold rolled for that thread and use alloy steel set screws bottomed out in the tapped hole. 3/4 volley in the mill, thread the hole saw on and run with it. 600-800 rpm in 4130 is do-able all day. Good practice would be to make the quill brake drag the quill a bit and power feed (lowest quill feed) when possible to reduce the grabbing. Hole saws easily last 200 hits in chromoly, and can be touched up once or twice to get a few more hits. Lenox brand work well, Starret is better but availability on a Sunday afternoon in the local hardware store might be an issue (been there). Good luck, ex-Baja guy here.

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    I'm also surprised at the anti holesaw comments. I have used starret fine tooth 6tpi constant pitch holesaws to miter/cope/fishmouth/whatever you call it thousands of thin walled 4130 tubes, stainless tubing, and high chromium alloy heat treated tubing with rarely a problem. Diameters from 7/8 to 2" with .025" to .065" walls. Lots of 55-80* angled cuts. No pilot drill ever, 3/4 solid round arbors, vertical and horizontal mills in the neighborhood of 220 rpm. Rigid fixturing is your friend and never cut the full diameter of the holesaw, cut your tube to length first.

    Folks on this site have forgetten more than I know about machining definitely, but I have tried roughing end mills, finishing endmills and annular cutters and had nothing but problems and snags with each of them. So hole saws it is for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upthebikes View Post
    I'm also surprised at the anti holesaw comments...
    Probably the result of poor technique and equipment, plus improper setup.

    I have also used roughing end mills. There is a place for each method if one uses his head.

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    Wow, this thread got a much better response than I expected.

    Our moonbuggy team just got an annular cutter that I am excited to see the results from.

    CalG: I have encountered that several times. It makes a supersizing amount of noise when it happens too.

    I think that hole saws are capable of producing good results, we just don't have any good ones at the moment. I love the idea of making our own mandrel for them. I don't know a whole lot about machining but my experience with large drills is that they like to go slow but with real torque behind them.

    Along with not having a return spring, our quill encounters inconsistencies in staying engaged when using the down feed. It has some dead zones where it just drops.


    I love a lot of the other replies to this thread, but I don't have time to address them all right now. Thanks for all of the help! As much as I love learning from my own experiences, it is a lot easier to avoid poor methods when you talk to people that have more experience.

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    I have notched tubes several different ways, including hole saws, end mills and annular cutters. I even made a V-block adapter to replace the lathe tool post that worked well.

    Most of the cars that I built were drag cars and street rods, plus several sprint cars......mostly mild steel and chrome moly tubing.

    The fastest and my go to method was the hole saw.....I bought a JD2 notcher and used a cordless drill, quick and simple......one of the keys is to buy quality hole saws! I preferred the Starrett brand, lasted the longest and the runout was minimal!

    Here's a link to one of the models I used;

    JD Squared, Inc. - Tube/Pipe Notchers

    Kevin

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsg View Post
    I have notched tubes several different ways, including hole saws, end mills and annular cutters. I even made a V-block adapter to replace the lathe tool post that worked well.

    Most of the cars that I built were drag cars and street rods, plus several sprint cars......mostly mild steel and chrome moly tubing.

    The fastest and my go to method was the hole saw.....I bought a JD2 notcher and used a cordless drill, quick and simple......one of the keys is to buy quality hole saws! I preferred the Starrett brand, lasted the longest and the runout was minimal!

    Here's a link to one of the models I used;

    JD Squared, Inc. - Tube/Pipe Notchers

    Kevin
    That is one of the tools we have been looking at. Is it worth the cost? How is chatter?

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    Sorry, my post loaded twice for some reason
    Last edited by upthebikes; 09-08-2017 at 12:47 AM. Reason: Double post

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    Quote Originally Posted by nerdyrcdriver View Post
    I love the idea of making our own mandrel for them. I don't know a whole lot about machining but my experience with large drills is that they like to go slow but with real torque behind them.
    If you want to hone your skills a bit by all means make them. If not, paragon machine works in richmond california makes and stocks 3/4" hole saw arbors in both thread sizes and in a couple lengths for $6 a piece or so. I have no affiliation but have been a very satisfied customer of theirs for many years.

    FT211 hole saw arbor Threaded 1/2"-2, 3/4" OD x 2-1/2" Long

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    Quote Originally Posted by upthebikes View Post
    If you want to hone your skills a bit by all means make them. If not, paragon machine works in richmond california makes and stocks 3/4" hole saw arbors in both thread sizes and in a couple lengths for $6 a piece or so. I have no affiliation but have been a very satisfied customer of theirs for many years.

    FT211 hole saw arbor Threaded 1/2"-2, 3/4" OD x 2-1/2" Long
    They have really cool Kearney Trecker T shirts as well.

    img_0983.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by nerdyrcdriver View Post
    That is one of the tools we have been looking at. Is it worth the cost? How is chatter?
    Chatter is minimal if it exists. I have built several full tube chassis rock crawlers as well as dozens of roll cages, bumpers, shock hoops and any other offroad tubery item you can think of and the notchmaster has made perfect tig worthy notches every time. I think it is definitely worth the price comparing other notchers for the same price. The Jd2 is milled out a piece of 1.25" plate instead of weldment. Using a paper template, plasma, or grinder is caveman style best suited for complicated notches in bends and what not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CalG View Post
    An aspect to consider when the material is thin walled Chro-Mo.

    Milling cuttters can pull in those paper thin and razor sharp ears of the sinusoidal shape. WHAM! when you least expect.
    Thicker walls and softer material doesn't show this as often.
    This, in spades. If you're 0.065" and above, hole saw notchers and end mills work really well. For 0.049" wall and below, I recommend abrasive methods. I've had much better success with it, and learned the hard way when trying to fit 0.035" wall streamline tube. Wasting that stuff because your end mill grabbed is no fun at over $10/ft.

    FWIW, I have one of the Baileigh TN-250's that I really like a lot. The only downside to using it for a mini-baja or formula car is the min tube diameter it works with out of the box is 1".

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    Quote Originally Posted by upthebikes View Post
    I'm also surprised at the anti holesaw comments. I have used starret fine tooth 6tpi constant pitch holesaws to miter/cope
    Starrett unfortunately stopped making them afaik.

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    Holesaws work very well assuming you have the right saws, good arbors, clamp, feed, etc.

    As stated, can do good notching on a lathe. Or with a template, then grinder (talk about messy) and a file.

    The best bang for buck imo is a small horizontal mill like a Nichols. Can be had for cheap depending where you are located, will notch in it's sleep, and can be used for other tasks as well.

    You need to match people recommendations with what material and what thickness they typically notch... what will work for one guy/material will be a train wreck for another.

    Search this site too.. has been hashed a number of times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikebuilder View Post
    Starrett unfortunately stopped making them afaik.
    I did not know that. I bought a few about 6 months ago. Next time i stop by the tool supply counter I'll have to ask them about back stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikebuilder View Post
    Starrett unfortunately stopped making them afaik.
    Starrett KDP11042-N 15 Piece Fastcut Bi-Metal Industrial Hole Saw Kit
    Starrett KDP1142-N 15 Piece Fastcut Bi-Metal Industrial Hole Saw Kit: Hole Saw Arbors: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

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    Quote Originally Posted by LFLondon View Post
    Yes, they still make hole saws, not the ones mentioned which were fine tooth constant pitch.

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    Hole saws can work fine and be inexpensive. I agree that getting quality hole saws is worth it if you decide to go that way. Bad saws don't last and as they fail they slow down, heat up and produce messy cuts.

    I helped notch most of the tubes in a SAE Baja frame that was build in one of our members backyards as the school shop had just been closed for maintenance due to failing fire code. Although I wouldn't recommend it you can make any notch you want with a corded drill affixed to one of those harbor freight drill press conversion things, an angle grinder and a sharpie marker...

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    Ahh! Now I see the huge disparity in responses and methods.

    The original post asks about PIPE notching, and many of the responses are very well suited for that application. But some of us, (me mostly) has made a diversion from "pipe" and offered useful methods for TUBING.

    There in lays the disparity. ;-)

    This difference has been mentioned on this thread by others, I'm just making an issue out it so as not to appear stubborn.

    And to advise that NU is gonna beat butts! ;-)


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