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Thread: Cutting conduit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    284

    Cutting conduit

    How do you guys go about cutting EMT? Hack saw? Sawzall with Metal Blade? Vice or no Vice? Our teacher is making us cut conduit w/o a vice this year, saying we won't have a vice in the field, so get used to working without one. I mean...I think it's great for 1/2" and 3/4"...I kinda wish he woulda showed us that last year, actually. What about cutting bigger stuff on site?

    Edited to add soem more...what about cutting PVC and other types of conduit?

    [ December 29, 2004, 11:46 PM: Message edited by: midget ]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Portage, Indiana NEC: 2008
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    9,892

    Re: Cutting conduit

    I have put a couple of ΒΌ" bolts that stick out from the back side of my ladder (one in each leg) makes a great place to hold the conduit. But now I have the complete De-Walt cordless tool kit so the cordless sawzall does it all. For PVC the cordless skill saw is great and if you have allot to do, a chop saw or power miter saw does the trick and a regular carbide tooth blade works just fine and it does not dull the blade. This also works for aluminum just go slow with it. A metal cutting blade in a skill saw can also be used to cut steel conduit (EMT,IMC,RMC) but you have to make sure to de-burr the pipe after cutting.

    It will all depend upon how much cutting that has to be done to which method should be used. And with the cord-less tools that we now have many cuts can be made on the fly without taking the piece back down and measuring, cutting, then putting it back up, this save allot of time.

    But when I was taught in the beginning I was taught to lay the pipe across my partially bent knee and hold it ridged with one hand while starting the cut with the hack saw in the other, And I have skined a few knuckels in the process.

    [ December 30, 2004, 01:34 AM: Message edited by: hurk27 ]
    Wayne A. From: N.W.Indiana
    Be Fair, Be Safe
    Just don't be fairly safe

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    TAMPA FLORIDA
    Posts
    4,576

    Re: Cutting conduit

    If the job is only a few cuts just use hacksaw,beyond that one must think as to time used to set up power tools and clean up.A cord and saw for maybe 5 minutes worth of hand cutting is just not worth it.
    Tampa Florida

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    7,289

    Re: Cutting conduit

    I personally use hand ratchet cutters for PVC cuts and a hacksaw for emt. Tubing cutters work great but seem to slighty reduce the internal diameter of the tubing at the cut and it also leaves a sharper edge which requires more reaming.
    Bryan P. Holland, MCP

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    6,102

    Re: Cutting conduit

    Bryan, tubing cutters are brutal on pulling wire in if you miss reaming. I never permitted my guys to use one.

    The triple toothed hacksaw blade is the best if you are doing it across you knee. At least that is what my apprentices used to tell me.
    Charlie Eldridge, Indianapolis, Utility Power Guy
    Responses based on the 2011 NEC, unless stated otherwise.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    4,995

    Re: Cutting conduit

    I've used the tubing cutter for standoffs and other bits of conduit that don't have conductors inserted. If I have to pull conductors in a tubing cutter cut pipe, the deburring is extreme.

    Hacksaw for 1/2 & 3/4 thinwall. Cordless sawzall for everything else, unless the battery & backup battery are charging (I'm not that fast, just forgetful ).

    As for hand cutting thinwall over my knee. . .I do the cut with my left hand holding the pipe over my right thigh and while I'm squatting. As I squat down, I hook the thinwall behind my left knee, pinching the pipe between my calf and thigh.
    Another Al in Minnesota

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    743

    Re: Cutting conduit

    I keep a 24 toothblade (not 32) in my hacksaw.Once you get it broken in,for small EMT,goes through it like a knife and hot-butter.Tubeing cutters,yes still have one in the toolbag I think, (shows how much I use it).Old school methods frounded on useing them.I still use a folding tape measure stick for most of my conduit work w/ tape measure in tape pouch on my side.Allways looking for something in my job area about 18" to 24" tall that I can use for a cutting stand, (ladderstep-or cinderblock).Useing a bendershoe for stand,new one on me..My legg,if nothing else in my eye-shot.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    364

    Re: Cutting conduit

    We like the cordless metal saw for a lot of pipe work. Still use the hack saws too. If you have a ladder hold it tight against that. Any solid object you can hold it against will help by letting you lay into the cut harder. Watch that last cut. Some hack saws I would go thru with the blade and nick my knuckels on the pipe. Short pieces can be wedged between the floor and the holes in the side of the bender head.

    You need to learn to cut thru pipe with a hack saw fast. You can cut it about as fast as any tool by hand. I cary a tubing cutter for cutting pipes with wires in them. Otherwise I hate guys that use a tube cutter for new work. Not saying it's wrong, just me.

    I don't use sazalls much for this but some guys do. Don't get your fingers caught on the plunger by the blade.

    Tom

    Tom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    284

    Re: Cutting conduit

    I asked about a tubing cutter one day...the teacher threw a fit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    49,231

    Re: Cutting conduit

    Originally posted by charlie:
    Bryan, tubing cutters are brutal on pulling wire in if you miss reaming. I never permitted my guys to use one.
    If we are running rigid it's all we use.

    The threading machine has 3 tools attached, die head, cutter and reamer. As long as you remember to ream it's no problem. :cool:

    For EMT I like the port-a-band which does an excellent job on LFMC and threaded rod as well. :cool:

    Any one else use a large uni-bit as a reamer for 1/2", 3/4" and 1" EMT?

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