Tube cutting machines let you cut flexible and rigid tubing products for various purposes. Many shops view them as essential tools. You can use them for cutting silicone, rubber, vinyl, multiple plastics (such as polyethylene, polystyrene, and PTFE), nylon, Tygon, polyurethane, various metals, and radiator hose. 


Tube cutting machines let you do what a regular tube cutter does, but faster. Some devices use a motor and compressed air to drive mechanical action. However, more recent models use lasers because they offer more accurate cuts. Both two-axis and three-axis laser cutting devices are available.


In this post, we take a look at some of the reasons why it makes sense to install a tube-cutting machine in your shop. By the end of it, you should have a greater understanding of why these tools are essential. 



Cut Tubes For Welding Projects And Other Metal Fabrication Tasks


Conventional saws do not leave clean or uniform cuts. Hacksaws, for instance, may cut through the tubing at the wrong angle, produce excessive waste, or leave spurs jutting out of the material. 


By contrast, tube-cutting machines make higher-quality cuts using superior and more accurate techniques. Cuts are free from aberrations that could affect processing. And users get a high-quality finish, similar to what they would expect from an original manufacturer to achieve. 


Being able to cut tubes uniformly improves their suitability for secondary metal fabrication tasks, such as welding projects. Metal tube cuts are smooth and flat, reducing the need for additional processing or filing. Shops can also cut tubes straight or at the precise angle of their choosing.




Save Time And Money


Tube cutting machines also help you save time and money. Laser tube cutting machines, for instance, can cut tubes of virtually any size, from less than an inch all the way up to nine inches in diameter. Laser tube cutters can also cut square tubes. 



Tubing length is no issue, either. Machines feel tubing laterally. 


Tube cutting machines are also highly efficient and far superior to handheld hacksaws or manual tube cutters. Laser cutting machines can process dozens of tubing products per hour, leaving clean, precise cuts that do not require secondary material removal processing. 


Many tube cutting machines also offer features that let you cut to length easily. Therefore, shops do not need to buy additional tooling to achieve a clean cut.


Furthermore, because laser cutters do not use a cutting blade, they reduce wasted material. Lasers can create cuts 0.1mm or less in thickness, letting operators use more of the underlying material, and reducing the cost of projects. 


Labor costs may also be lower. Laser cutting machines cut tubing so precisely that parts fit together easily and quickly. Workers do not have to accommodate inaccurate cuts but, instead, get the precise piping length, cut angle, and quality they need. 


Finally, shops can use laser cutting machines to automate tube-cutting tasks. They can set up cutting machines to perform cuts without human assistance. This further reduces manual labor requirements and reduces time-to-completion, allowing shops to offer shorter lead times on projects. 




Tube Cutting Machines Are Durable And Reliable Tools


Shops invest in tube-cutting machines because of their durability and reliability. With proper care and maintenance, they can last for many years, providing a healthy return on investment. 


Fiber laser tube cutting machines are particularly durable. They are “solid-state.” Instead of relying on gas like CO2 lasers (which can leak out of the chamber and degrade over time), they use fiber optic cables. Light travels from emitter diodes along the cable until it reaches a shaping apparatus that guides and focuses it on the material. There are no moving parts, so there is less to go wrong. 


Laser generators on fiber lasers tend to be considerably smaller than conventional CO2 resonators. Banks of diodes create the laser which fits inside a briefcase-sized module that can generate up to 1.5kW. To get more power, most machines simply splice banks together in something about the size of a filing cabinet. When light leaves the fiber optic cable, it has the same intensity as when it was emitted. 


CO2 resonators, by contrast, are larger and require significantly more energy to operate. These work by introducing electricity to a combination of gases to produce the laser beam. They then rely on a variety of mirrors to reflect the beam until it exits the resonator and reaches the lens, leading to a loss of power. Over time, gas tube components require replacement, whereas fiber optic cable can continue to accommodate light indefinitely. 


Mechanical tube cutting machines can also produce accurate cuts. However, they generate more waste and require regular maintenance, particularly of the cutting edge. Over time, any physical blade dulls, increasing long-run servicing costs.




Stronger Tube Ends


Lack of tube end strength can result in mechanical failure. Unfortunately, conventional cutting reduces tube end strength because it requires applying a mechanical force to the cut point, deforming the shape of the tube. 


Laser cutting bypasses this issue by eliminating the need to apply a force to the tube. The cut is clean and the tube retains its original shape, allowing it to perform to the manufacturer’s specification. 




Custom Tube Cutting


Lastly, laser tube cutting machines are helpful in shops that receive multiple requests for custom-shaped tubes. Operators can modify laser tube cutting action quickly and easily to produce cuts of the desired shape and angle. This, in turn, improves efficiency and helps the shop complete more orders in a given time frame. 


Conclusion


Because the need to cut tubing is so ubiquitous, tube-cutting machines are essential in workshops and manufacturing facilities. These devices make it easy to make quick, accurate cuts in practically any tubing product. They are particularly helpful for metal tube cutting applications because they reduce waste and improve cut accuracy.