Summary: How to cut copper pipe, cut plastic or PVC pipe and cutting steel pipe.
Cutting pipe is a fairly simple procedure. However to avoid damaging piping, you should be careful to avoid using the wrong equipment or technique. The method of cutting will depend on the pipe material.
Cutting copper pipe
To cut copper pipe, you can either use a hacksaw or a set of pipe cutters.
- When using a hacksaw, check the blade you are using is sharp and effective enough for the job. If the blade is not sharp enough you will end up having to apply more pressure to the pipe, which could distort it.
- Mark where you want to make your cut on the pipe. Gently saw back and forth, building up a little pace as you progress through the copper. As you reach the end, be careful not to let the scrap piece twist away, as this may distort both pieces of pipe.
Alternatively, you could use a metal pipe cutter. This is perhaps an easier and more reliable method.
- Simply start by hand tightening the cutters around the pipe where you want to cut it.
- Rotate the cutters around the pipe a couple of times and once you have made a groove, tighten and rotate again. Each time you tighten the cutters, it will cut a little deeper. Be careful not to tighten too much as this may deform the pipe.
- Once cut, remove all burrs from the cut edge using the provided tool on the cutter or a round file. The burrs should be removed because they can cause movement in the water as it runs through the pipe, which will make noise.
Cutting plastic or PVC pipe
It is best to cut plastic pipe using the correct type of pipe cutters; make sure they are plastic pipe cutters and not ones designed for copper pipe.
- Place the pipe between the blades in the position you want it cut.
- Squeeze the handles shut. You may need to squeeze several times.
- Do not use a hacksaw to cut plastic piping as this will not leave a clean cut. Burrs will remain, which can cause leakage problems further down the line.
Cutting steel pipe
For cutting through steel piping, it is best to use a sharp hacksaw. You will need to securely clamp the pipe before you start to cut.
- Mark on the selected pipe where you want to cut using a scribe.
- Clamp or vice the pipe firmly, but do not allow the steel to distort. Make sure the end to be cut is extended sufficiently from the clamp.
- Gently cut a groove in the steel pipe by running the hacksaw back and forth. Build up momentum slightly as you cut deeper, whilst applying downward pressure.
- When cut through, you may need to file down the burrs along the freshly cut edge.
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