Tips for Cutting Brass Tubing?
  • Hi Folks - I am in the middle of a Quintus Build and have to cut brass tubing for the spacers. The only way I can think of is a hacksaw (lacking a metal cutting bandsaw), and then filing/sanding in a drill press. Or a rotary tool with a cutting wheel (which I also don't have). A tube cutter leaves indentations.

    Does anyone know of any better or faster ways to do this?

    russg / USA
  • Hi Russ,

    I think you've answered your own question. By far the best way of cutting brass rod and tubing is with a Dremel and a Quick-lock cutting disc.
    There are other ways, not strictly kosher, but they do work.
    I have cut brass on a number of occasions using a fine wood blade in the bandsaw, without noticeable effect on the blade. Think safety, and use a piece of wood to support the brass as it passes through the blade.
    Another way is to use a scroll saw. Again, support the brass with a piece of wood.
    In all cases, you will need to clean up the ends of the tube. I do this with my disc sander with the mitre gauge set square.

  • Hi Everyone,

    My newly completed Quintus is ticking merrily in front of me!

    It's not what I'd call a "high production" tool but for all the brass parts, solid and tubing, I used this simple modeler's miter box with X-Acto's fine tooth back saw The saw cuts brass easily and X-acto says it's OK for metals. I've never cut steel with mine but after a lot of alum. and brass my blade is none the worse for wear. A desktop disk sander with miter gauge brings arbors, etc. to final length and chamfers the ends quickly and easily. Dave's trick with drill press and emery cloth makes the ends look like they were faced on a lathe.

    If I work carefully I can get lengths within a few thousandths - not really necessary but makes me feel good!

  • Brass tubing can be cut with a plumbers rotary pipe cutting tool device thingy. Don't know correct name for the tool!
    Cuts very clean square edges, slightly folded in and can be set to a length very accurately!
    Only cost a couple of quid too.

  • There are of course several methods of trimming brass to length and I would say it is as much a question of ways and means as much as personal preference.

    Irrespective of what method you use 2 things should be the result of your efforts

    Firstly the correct length, OK bit obvious that one but one tip I can give is to always start off a bit longer than needed and work down from there, because of the vagaries of wood the measurements given in the plans are theoretical ideals, mostly they are correct, but if, for instance, the frame should warp then that could add/subtract a couple of mm´s to the length.

    Secondly chamfer and smooth off the ends, and with that I really do mean smooth, so smooth that when you hold the end in the light it will mirror and reflect without a sight of a scratch or imperfection.

    I personally use an angle grinder rigged up to function similar to a compound mitre saw, with a very thin INOX cutting disc, I then bring to length on my disc sander, then off to the drill press to chamfer, smooth and polish.