3 Tips for Cutting an Aluminum Pipe

An aluminum pipe.

An aluminum pipe can be used in many areas of the home and in crafting endeavors. Aluminum is a soft metal that's very touchy. If you're trying to weld an aluminum pipe, for instance, you may run the risk of burning a hole through it and melting it.

It's softness makes cutting aluminum pipe equally difficult as welding it. Cutting it the wrong way can cause shards or aluminum to go flying, which can become embedded in your skin or eyes.

It's also very easy to crimp the aluminum pipe at the area where you intend to cut it. The information below is a short guide on what you can do to cut the aluminum pipe without damaging it.

1. The Right Cutting Tool

Any type of work requires the right tool. You would not use a hammer to remove screws from a wooden fence. This also applies to cutting aluminum pipe. You can cut the pipe with several tools, including a hacksaw, a circular saw or a pipe cutter.

A hacksaw is all muscle driven and usually not the choice tool to cut a pipe. Aluminum pipe, however, is weaker than other metals, which makes a hacksaw usable. A circular saw is a great tool to use to cut aluminum pipe because you can get saw blades made specifically for the job.

A pipe cutter is a tool that is only used to cut pipe. You essentially place the pipe in the reservoir and turn the cutter. It cuts around the diameter of the pipe, which prevents bending and shards from forming.

2. Lubrication

Regardless of which tool you choose to use to cut the pipe, you will always need to lubricate the pipe. The lubrication is also for the saw because cutting metal can easily damage the blade. As you cut, you generate friction, which causes heat. This can cause a blade to break.

There are cutting tool lubrication products on the market that you can use, but you can save some money and use wax instead. An old candle is a perfect lubricating product that will help the blade and the aluminum pipe.

Wet cutting is also an option. Have a hose or use a wet saw with a metal cutting blade attached. It will keep the pipe and blade cool.

3. Slow Down

Cutting aluminum pipe is sometimes trial and error, but it can easily be done without any mishaps. One of the biggest problems you will face is making sure that the pipe does not bend or crimp as you're cutting it.

This is very common because aluminum is pliable. In order to prevent this from happening, you should slow down as you reach the end of the cut. Slowing down reduces the pressure placed on the pipe, which prevents it from bending.

This is especially important when using a hacksaw to cut the pipe and is not an issue when using a pipe cutter.

Cutting an Aluminum Pipe FAQ

What is the best way to cut aluminum pipe?

There are multiple ways to cut aluminum pipe effectively and safely. A wood-cutting saw with a carbine-tipped blade can handle aluminum pipes that have walls that are less than one-fourth of an inch thick.

A jigsaw can be used to make circular cuts in aluminum pipe. A cold chisel and clamps can be used to cut aluminum pipe.

Tin snips can also be used to cut thin pieces of aluminum pipe. Aluminum pipe is best cut with carbide-tipped blades, no matter which type of blade you use to accomplish the task.

What tool to use to cut aluminum pipe?

Power saws, hand saws, and even tin snips can be used to cut aluminum pipe, but a circular saw is probably the quickest and simplest option if you have access to this tool.

How do you cut aluminum without power tools?

Aluminum pipe can be cut with a hacksaw if you haven't got any power tools. It is also possible to score and cut thin aluminum pipe and cut it with other hand tools.

You can even use a drill to put holes in aluminum and make it easier to cut with hand tools.

Do you need cutting fluid for aluminum?

Cutting fluid provides lubrication for the cutting tools you use on aluminum. The best fluid to use is specialized alunimum cutting fluid, which is available at home improvement stores and online.

Should I wear a mask when cutting aluminum?

Because of the metal dust that cutting aluminum creates, it is highly recommended that you wear a breathing mask while cutting aluminum. You should also always wear eye protection when using cutting tools to protect yourself from flying debris.