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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There may come a time when you need to notch a piece of tubing or pipe. Most will use this knowledge towards the installation of a roll bar or cage in their car. Here are three methods that I use to do some notching:

The first is the chop saw method, and it requires no notcher at all. It does require a little practice, and it is the method that is most like art. What you do is set the chop saw vise at a 45 degree angle, and cut the corner of the tube off, flip it 180 degrees, and cut the other corner off. You end up with two notches that require a little massaging with a file or disc sander to be a perfect notch.

With the chop saw vise set at 45 degrees, the piece of tube is set in the vise and clamped in place:


The corner of the tube is cut off and you now have one half of a notch:




The tube is now flipped 180 degrees. If you are making a straight 90 degree notch, you will position the tube exactly like the first cut, if it is an angle cut, you will set the tube in a little further in the vise so you are cutting off more of the tube. This is where the art part of it comes in as it takes a while before you know how much to cut off for angle cuts:


Here is the tube before deburring:


And here is the tube after deburring with a disc sander:


Just in case you think you cannot make accurate notches with this method, here is the notch and a piece of tube that it will weld to showing no gap at all. This is the method I use the most including chrome moly TIG welded cages:



The next method is by using a common hole saw tube notcher that several vendors sell. This one is made by Dale Wilch, and has been used thousands of times. I do not use a drill press as I have found that most of them do not have a slow enough low speed, and you end up tying up the drill press. I mount the notcher on the corner of a sturdy table and I power it with a variable speed 1/2" drill:

Here is the notcher and the drill used to power it:


The tube is held in place with a horse shoe shaped piece of strap, and will accommodate Tube sizes from 3/4"-2". It will also notch square tubing:


For straight 90 degree cuts, the tube is set to zero with the adjustable tube holder:


Any angle from 0-50 degrees can be cut by adjusting the tube holder:




The drill is turned on and the hole saw and the arbor that holds it are fed into the tube slowly until the notch is made. You want to notch the tube with the same size hole saw that the tube will weld to, in this case a 2" hole saw was used. A little cutting fluid will prolong hole saw life:


You end up with a nice notch that will need a little tune up:




This notcher works extremely well and the variable speed drill lets you control the feed and speed. The only modification I made to mine was to replace the bronze bushings where the arbor rides with needle bearings as the bronze bushings will only last a few dozen notches:


The last method is a version of the hole saw notcher except that I chucked up the arbor and hole saw in my chuck of my lathe, and the tube holder is mounted to the carriage of the lathe. This allows me to use the power of the lathe motor, and more angles than the 0-50 degree range of the notcher.

Here is the lathe setup:




The feed on the lathe is used to feed the tube into the spinning hole saw:


Angled notches are done by moving the tool post holder, this one is set at 22 degrees:









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Very nice. I have learned that even though the title is some thing I think I know about, guys here show there is always more to learn. Thanks.
 

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Fantastic!!!!!! I am gearing up to build the support structure for the IRS unit going in my Mustang and I was going to use square tubing because I didn't want to invest in a notcher, but now with the trick of using a chop saw, I am going to use the stronger round tubing Thanks!!!!!
 

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I do not use a drill press as I have found that most of them do not have a slow enough low speed, and you end up tying up the drill press. I mount the notcher on the corner of a sturdy table and I power it with a variable speed 1/2" drill:
Great article, I have do have some questions:

About what RPM are these cuts done at?

You don't use a cutting fluid on the notcher? How does that effect the life of the hole saw? Does that cut take longer than the lathe?

O.K., I'm done.
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great article, I have do have some questions:

About what RPM are these cuts done at?

You don't use a cutting fluid on the notcher? How does that effect the life of the hole saw? Does that cut take longer than the lathe?

O.K., I'm done.
Thanks.
I usually do not use cutting fluid, because it has to be cleaned completely off of the inside and outside of the tube to avoid weld contamination, especially with the TIG welder. I have an 1 3/4" hole saw that has been used several hundred times without cutting fluid, and it is still sharp. With the drill I would estimate that I am cutting at about 750 rpms, and with the lathe I usually cut at 250 rpms. The notcher is faster that the lathe, but the chop saw is the fastest of all three.
 

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Awesome idea. I have had a lathe for years and never thought of this one. I usualy use a hyd. notcher (really only good for 90s) or use the same method you use on the chop saw with a zip cut in a angle grinder. I will be making a jig vey soon.
Dave

PS just had a thought, Palmgren makes a milling vice to fit on the carrige of a lathe. Gives you fine up and down adjustment as well.
Happy Fording!
 
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