If you are a newbie at soldering, welding, and cutting steel pipes, you might sometimes ask yourself, is this the right way of cutting a copper pipe?
Generally, copper is one of the most robust construction materials. Because of this, cutting it is not as easy as you think.
If you are currently doing a DIY project and want to find the best techniques for cutting a copper pipe, read on and learn more.
How to Cut A Copper Pipe
When you want to cut a copper pipe, you have to understand that there are specific tools that you can use. You just cannot use a scissor or a simple plier on a tough copper wire!
In this section, we will discuss and define some of these tools.
1. Pipe Cutter
Pipe cutters are one of the best copper cutters plumbers use. They have hardened steel within their body and they are easy to use.
If you are a newbie, pipe cutters should be your first option when you want to cut copper pipes. All you have to do is to place the copper pipe in between the cutting wheel and roller wheels. Using the roller, adjust the grip of the pipe cutter until it holds the pipe firmly.
Apart from the pipe cutters with rollers, there are also those that look like scissors. These come with visible blades and are easier to use because all you have to do is cut the pipe like paper.
Hacksaws can also be used in cutting copper pipes. Generally, a hacksaw is a cheap option that you can use for other things as well. If you are buying one, you will be assured that these tools will be useful for you.
However, take note that using a hacksaw for cutting pipes is not as easy as you think. This method requires manual labor and you should make sure that you are cutting the pipe properly and straight unless you get to find ergonomic hacksaws.
Additionally, if you want to cut pipes that are already installed, such as leak water line pipes, using a hacksaw might be challenging and may cause joint failure.
First, the whole pipe may wiggle whenever you move the hacksaw, thus, you might cut the pipe wrongly.
Second, if your blades or hacksaw teeth are not fine or sharp enough, they might make the end of the pipe rough. Unfortunately, burrs in end pipes and inside of the pipes are hard to fit into another pipe.
If you wish to use this tool when cutting a pipe, you should know the exact measurement of the pipe you wish to cut.
- Make sure to put a marking on the specific part that needs to be cut.
- In order to cut edges accurately, you are encouraged to clamp the copper pipe in place or ask someone to help you hold it firmly.
- After cutting, use sandpaper or steel wool to remove the rough parts of the end of the pipe, if there are any.
3. Oscillating Multi-Tool
You can also use an oscillating multi-tool when cutting pipes. This tool is more modern compared to other copper tubing cutters.
Plumbing experts say that a tool with a vibration control feature is one of the best oscillating multi-tools because it allows users to control the movement of the tool completely.
Additionally, these tools are battery-powered. Thus, this makes them very handy.
One great thing about oscillating multi-tools is that they can also be used for other home improvement needs.
4. Pipe Slice
There are also pipe slices that can effectively cut copper pipes. Generally, these tools work like pipe cutters and they are sometimes known as auto-cut tools.
Pipe slices are very compact and all you have to do when using them is to turn the slice until you completely cut the pipe.
The only disadvantage of a pipe slice is that different pipe slices can cater to different copper pipe diameters.
From those who have used these pipe slices, if these tools are sharp, cutting a copper pipe would only require 10-15 turns. If not, more turns may be required.
5. Snap cutter
If you do not know, there are also snap cutters. These tools are made with a chain and if you want to use them, all you have to do is to secure the copper pipe inside the loop chain and tighten the arm of the loop.
Once the copper pipe is cut, you will hear a snapping sound. The only disadvantage of this method is that, sometimes, it can bend the pipes.
What to Do After Cutting a Copper Pipe
After cutting your copper pipes, you are encouraged to do the following aftercare for your pipes:
- Take sandpaper and smooth out the edges of the pipe and outside of the pipes that you recently cut
- When choosing sandpaper, the 240-grit metal sandpaper is highly recommended
- Use a microfiber cloth and clean the whole pipe with acetone
- Aside from acetone, you can also consider a metal cleaner
Additional notes for you are that you should wear gloves and goggles when cutting copper pipe.
This protective measure is advised to keep your hands and eyes from danger, especially when you start to solder copper pipes.
After soldering copper pipes, you are also advised to use sandpaper to smooth them out and remove the excess solder.
Indeed, the right tool is important when cutting copper pipes in plumbing projects.
If you are one of the DIYers, having the best tool will not only make your life easier but will also allow you to cut your copper pipe correctly.
There are many techniques and tools you can use when cutting copper pipes. Some of these tools are pipe cutters, hacksaws, oscillating multi-tools, pipe slices, and snap cutters.
Among these, the best one would be the pipe cutter, especially the scissor-like pipe cutter. This tool is easy to use and very rigid.