# Cutting tubing with a Miter Saw

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#### jdud

##### Well-Known Member
Has anyone ever cut cardboard tubing (LOC type or Estes type) with a miter saw (an electric compound miter)? Would a paneling blade be best? Could you get the blade square enough to cut through a circle perfectly?

#### sodmeister

##### Well-Known Member
Ive done phenolic & quantum tubing using an 80 tooth triple chip blade I use for aluminum ,never tried card/craft.For those I use the old aluminim angle ,stop block and exacto knife.

But when cutting with the electric miter saw ,everything must be true and 90° or you will see the difference ,and it doesnt take much.

Paul

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
I've cut phenolic, cardboard, carbon fiber and fiberglass tube with a miter saw.

The blade I'm using is an 80 tooth DeWalt that came with the saw -- my 96 tooth won't be going anywhere near cardboard. The blade I'm using works very well, and makes nice, clean cuts. There's a little bit of fuzzy stuff from what gets cut away, but a quick pass with sandpaper resolves that nicely.

-Kevin

#### kelltym88

##### Well-Known Member
Yeah, what troj said. I've done it, works fine. YMMV

#### RimfireJim

##### Well-Known Member
Has anyone ever cut cardboard tubing (LOC type or Estes type) with a miter saw (an electric compound miter)? Would a paneling blade be best? Could you get the blade square enough to cut through a circle perfectly?
Nothing in real life is truly perfect, but my miter saw (Makita LS1011 10" sliding compound) is plenty square enough in itself, tested and proven with my woodworking projects. I haven't tried cutting cardstock tubing with it, but I'm thinking that the main source of error would be flexing of the tube rather than the saw itself. YMMV, depending on the quality of your saw.

#### ben_ullman

##### Well-Known Member
I have a 110 tooth laminate panel cutting blade on out 10" miter saw. Ive cut up to 4" casting tubes on it no problem.

Ben

#### stickershock23

##### Never Fly Naked
I have a fairly coarse carbide blade on mine, cuts great, just (as was said) make sure you are nce and square.

Cut slowly. you will need to sand lightly when you are done to get the Klingons off..

#### MartyAMC

##### Well-Known Member
I cut the 10" tube for my upcoming L3 with a homemade fixtures on my table saw. I made sure to tape a coupler within ~1" of the cut line for support and decrease tube flex.

#### Scott Evil

##### Well-Known Member
I just recently wwwhacked a couple 38mm LOC tubes in half with an 8 1/4 in. 100 tooth crosscut/trim blade on the cheapest miter saw money can buy. Just a few seconds afterward with some sandpaper and the cuts are square and ready to go. It also worked well with 4" Quantum tubing.

#### jdud

##### Well-Known Member
Well, you guys have talked me into it. For my next build, the old Dewalt compound miter is going to rip some cardboard. My dad has a great shop, and I only live about 10 minutes away from him. Between the two of us we have it pretty well stocked with all the necessary tools (for his woodworking and my rocketry).

I practiced getting the blade square using a piece of PVC. I've cut a fiberglass tube with the miter, but was always scared to try it on cardboard (and too cheap to waste a piece of tube).

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
Has anyone ever cut cardboard tubing (LOC type or Estes type) with a miter saw (an electric compound miter)? Would a paneling blade be best? Could you get the blade square enough to cut through a circle perfectly?
Ya Know there is a vary good reason the people that make Cardboard tubing don't use such saws to cut up their product. That said if you don't mind the interior distortions and damage go right ahead. If you use a fine enough carbide tooth or better yet hollow ground toothed blade it'll probly do an ok job.

If your cutting sona tube or phenolic tubing that's another matter all together but for .013 or .021" wall cardboard it's just not going to give you very nice finish ends. That's why the manufacturers and anyone who doesn't want to spend extra time cleaning up ends and edges use internal mandrels and a knife blade or razor to cut thin walled tubing.

The knife blade jig and mandrels I use was made up from scrap alumimum angle and bar junk I had laying around the shop. it cuts clean completely smooth and finished ends in any size tube without burr or inward distortions quicker then one can set-up and clean up after a mitre saw operation.
Personally unless your setting up to cut alot of tubes you'd be much better served to make up a quicky cutting jig out of a couple 1x3's and a razor blade......but that's entirely your choice.

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#### Evo666

##### Well-Known Member
I was wondering how people cut their tubes nicely.

#### cwbullet

##### Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Global Mod
I have always wanted to build one of these since I first saw it posted.

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
I have always wanted to build one of these since I first saw it posted.
Truely guys there is NOTHING to it! the entire thing was cobbled from Junk in the Shop scrap bin and a couple bucks worth of hardware.

19" piece of scrap 2" x 3" x 1/4" Alum angle.
2" Piece of scarap 2" x 2" x 1/8" Alum angle.
2- 2" long pieces of 1/2" x 1" Alum bar.
1- 1-3/4" long scrap pf 1/2" x 1-1/2" Alum bar. ( but a 3rd piece of 1/2" x 1" bar would do).
4- 10-24 x 5/8" round head machine screws, with washer & lock washer.
3- 10-24 x 1" brass thumb screws. (2 length stopblock locks and 1 blade lock)
and 1- #2 or #24 X-acto blade.

Tools needed: A hack saw w/18t blade, Electric hand drill, #26 HS drill bit(10-23 tap size hole, 3/16" HS drill bit, 10-24 bottom hand tap and handle. and about 1-1/2 hours to assemble.
Oh, ya may need a hand file and some sandpaper to knock off or round edges in some areas.
Hope this helps.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I'm with Micro on this. It really depends on what you are cutting. For Estes-style tubing (one of your examples) a razor-sharp knife or a razor blade work best. And in cutting such small diameter tubing with a miter saw, the kerf of the blade would take a good deal out of the remainder as well, which is just wasteful. But for thick tubing, sure, I guess. If you are looking for a justification for getting one, then apparently the answer is yes, you can use it to cut thick-walled cardboard tubing, especially in the larger diameters (larger than 2").

MarkII

#### AndyC

##### Well-Known Member
I also use a jig like Micro's. Mine was made from a piece of 3x3" aluminum angle, with a chunk cut off for a stop. I put a line of tapped holes in one side, and a slot in the stop. A thumbscrew goes through the slot into the base to hold the stop in place. A flat strip of metal clamps a single edged razor blade to the end. Simple, and works great for thin wall tubes up to 4" or so. I've also used it to cut casting tubes and liners, though phenolic takes more time and patience.

I recall that Micro posted a method to sharpen razor/hobby blades a while back (old TRF?), does anyone have the link? Or Micro, would you mind reposting your tip? I keep changing blades to keep a sharp one.

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
It really depends on what you are cutting.
That's the key, right there.

For LOC-type tubing, which is thick walled, which is part of what the original question was about, a miter saw works beautifully. Been there, done that, works really, really well.

For thinner-walled Estes tubing, which the original post also asked about, it's horrible overkill. A sharp knife or razor blade works very well on that type of material.

-Kevin

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
I also use a jig like Micro's. Mine was made from a piece of 3x3" aluminum angle, with a chunk cut off for a stop. I put a line of tapped holes in one side, and a slot in the stop. A thumbscrew goes through the slot into the base to hold the stop in place. A flat strip of metal clamps a single edged razor blade to the end. Simple, and works great for thin wall tubes up to 4" or so. I've also used it to cut casting tubes and liners, though phenolic takes more time and patience.

I recall that Micro posted a method to sharpen razor/hobby blades a while back (old TRF?), does anyone have the link? Or Micro, would you mind reposting your tip? I keep changing blades to keep a sharp one.
Sure Andy:
I don't recall how long ago that old thread was posted so I'll mention just a bit of what I think your asking about here.

X-Acto blades coming out of the package have whats referred to as a "Factory Edge". While this is pretty sharp it really isn't all that sharp
X-Acto blades are sharpened on about a 10° angle both sides. this is fine. you'll need to lean to hold the handle in such a way that you can strop the blade at this angle each time you PULL it along the rouge rubbed leather strop. Note that I said Pulling the blade which is exactly opposite of what is done when a blade is "sharpened" on a stone, where we sort of attempt to cut a very thin slice off the stone with each pass "Pushing Away" for ourselves in the process. With a Leather strop we will be Pulling the blade "Backwards" toward ourselves with each pass or Pulling backwards Away for ourselves on the back side of the blade.

When you begin with a New blade straight out of the package it may take as much as 100 strokes on each side to really remove the factory edge, polishing the edge to a razor sharpness. it doesn't require pressure but constant correct angle and the super fine grit of the white cake jewelers rouge that makes the difference. Once this edge is achieved it only takes about 10-12 passes each time you pick up your knife to keep and maintain that sharpness.

I make all my strops from scrap wood and tanned leather scraps from some of my other leather work projects. it's just as easy to use an Old "real" leather belt and a piece of scrap wood or even plywood. just pick a size that fits your hand well. apply contact cement to the wood piece and the Hair side...that's the face side of the old belt piece, as we want the Flesh side or the rough back side of the belt to end face up after assembly. Once the contact cement is dry to the touch carefully align and press the leather piece down on the wood backing. trim off any unwanted overhang and your ready to rub in a good coating of jewelers rouge. This material is available from any number of Leather goods supply or even some industrial supply houses in the form of 1/4lb cakes.
I keep all my knifes, axes, chisels and cutting instruments razor sharp with this method. I have some knives that have NEVER been on a sharpening stone since they left the factory that will shave hair. Just for GP's. just about all knifes are sharpened at 30° on both sides. I generally change that to 20° and on some have gone as far as changing the pitch to 0/20° on swiss Army knives. but just about any 30° blade can be kept hair shaving sharp with a good stropping every so often. My Better 2/3rds really doesn't like it when I shapen her Kitchen knives as she says they are sometimes a hazard to her fingers LOL!!!
Hope this helps.

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#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
That's the key, right there.

For LOC-type tubing, which is thick walled, which is part of what the original question was about, a miter saw works beautifully. Been there, done that, works really, really well.

For thinner-walled Estes tubing, which the original post also asked about, it's horrible overkill. A sharp knife or razor blade works very well on that type of material.

-Kevin
Kevin:
Loc tubing cuts on my fixture just as well, it simply takes a couple additional turns to cut completely through. You still need a decent internal mandrel but i've used spent 29mm motor casing as mandrels that work well.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
Keep on putting good edges on this kitchen knives, John. It is said that a sharp knife is safer to use than a dull one.

I didn't know about the "factory edge" thing with X-Acto blades. Does that mean that there's a slight burr along the edge? I'd like to be able to keep a keen edge on an X-acto blade for a little while at least. Even though they are fairly cheap, it still bothers me when I have to discard one after just three or four uses. Jeez, even cheap razor blades last longer than that.

I keep meaning to, but haven't gotten around to building a tube cutting jig like yours. What I do now is mark the tube all around the outside with the measurement, and then use a strip of paper or cardstock to make sure that all of the marks are even before drawing a line around the tube. Then I put 3 or 4 wraps of delicate release or perfect release masking tape around it on the "good" side of the line, and use that as my guide as I cut the tube. Then I sand the cut end to make sure that it is square. For beveled cuts in tubes, I create a template that I use to draw the cut line, and then carefully make the cut using many light passes with a brand new blade. I wouldn't use a saw unless I was cutting phenolic or composite tubing, but that's just my preference.

I like the info about how to make and use a strop. When I locate a source for jeweler's rouge, I'll start using one. I have plenty of old belts; now I know why I didn't throw them out!

MarkII

#### hcmbanjo

##### Well-Known Member
You can get a small Jeweler's Rouge from Tandy Leather:

https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/search/searchresults/3323-00.aspx?feature=Product_1&kw=rouge

I used their's years ago when I was doing leather work. It's about 1" x 2" cylinder, much smaller than the 1/4 lb. piece that Micromeister mentioned.

In the Tandy store they sold small leather scraps. For stropping I had a 2" x
4" leather piece. The leather was wetted and the rouge rubbed on.

Certainly not as nice as Micromeister's pictures, but it got the job done.

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
You can get a small Jeweler's Rouge from Tandy Leather:

https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/search/searchresults/3323-00.aspx?feature=Product_1&kw=rouge

I used their's years ago when I was doing leather work. It's about 1" x 2" cylinder, much smaller than the 1/4 lb. piece that Micromeister mentioned.

In the Tandy store they sold small leather scraps. For stropping I had a 2" x
4" leather piece. The leather was wetted and the rouge rubbed on.

Certainly not as nice as Micromeister's pictures, but it got the job done.

Mark:
Yes: Those X-Acto blades have exactly that its called a wire edge. this occurs as part of the Stone grind sharpening process. What most preceive as that "Brand new" sharpness is this Burr wire edge which flakes off with the first few uses.
While it certainly takes a great deal longer, Just dry stropping your new blades on a bare leather strop will improve the staying power of your knife blade edges It's also good practice getting in the habbit of stropping our blade each time you pick it up. I have to tell ya, I haven't changed an X-Acto blade in years unless I physically break the blade off. My Downstairs #1 handle and #11 blade are at least 12 years old and going strong, still hair shaving sharp.

As Chris just mentioned you can still get the 1" x 2" 1/8lb smaller round rouge cylinders from Tandy. or the larger 1/4lb cake from www.hidecrafter.com either is great.
One more tip: The strop only need be wetted during the very first rouge application, thereafter it can be topped off dry just by rubbing the rouge cake all over the leather.
Eventually over time you'll start to get a buildup of blackened junk on the surface. This is a combination of tiny fibres from the leather, rouge and the micro bits of metal for the blade polishing. This can be removed fairly easily by using the back edge of the knife to scrap the buildup off the strop holding the blade at 90° to the surface of the strop as you scrap the surface, you'll end up with a new smooth but even surface. Usually takes Year to build up tho.

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#### dedleytedley

##### Well-Known Member
I'm curious what is the best way to cut big tubing? Eight inch sonotube for example. I'm making a tube launcher for a scratch project and need some clean cuts. I cut a 2 foot diameter tube for a rocket playhouse for my kids with a jigsaw with mixed results. How do you high power guys cut big tubing? Ted

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks, John and Chris; I will definitely start using it. I will still need to buy blades from time to time, because I break off the tips with some regularity. But I won't need to buy them nearly as often. The X-Acto blades get dull pretty quickly; you can see it by looking closely at the blade edge. I don't know - does stropping them regularly actually keep the edge from wearing down so fast? Or does the benefit come from keeping the edge clean and smooth while it is still keen?

I have a big combination stone from my speedskating days (for sharpening skate blades before every session). If I rig up something to keep the blade at the proper angle (10°, you say?), I'll try resharpening a few, too. I know about the burr issue; deburring the skate blade was always the final step in the sharpening process, and we used a another stone for that.

MarkII

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I'm curious what is the best way to cut big tubing? Eight inch sonotube for example. I'm making a tube launcher for a scratch project and need some clean cuts. I cut a 2 foot diameter tube for a rocket playhouse for my kids with a jigsaw with mixed results. How do you high power guys cut big tubing? Ted

MarkII

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#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
I'm curious what is the best way to cut big tubing? Eight inch sonotube for example. I'm making a tube launcher for a scratch project and need some clean cuts. I cut a 2 foot diameter tube for a rocket playhouse for my kids with a jigsaw with mixed results. How do you high power guys cut big tubing? Ted
I don't build HPR rockets but I do build lots of ground support equipment with large to very large diameter Plastic, PVC and sometimes Sonotube in the 6 to 24" diameter range. I generally use a Hand Rip saw with hollow ground blade on Mailing and cardboard sonotubes, This type saw reduces kerf burring quite a bit and I think the tooth set helps follow the line better then crosscut or combination tooth sets.
On really big 1/2" wall PVC tubes I use Hollow ground 18Tooth blades in a jig saw, following a scribed or drawn line completely around the tube. These hollow ground blades leave a very smooth cut requiring very little clean up with a hand file and sanding block.

ROTFL! I like marks idea though, a Chain saw would certainly make it faster...not so sure about neater but it'd certainly be quicker LOL!!!!

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#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
If you buy a piece from a supplier, you'll find they cut it with a circular saw, mounted on a jig that holds the saw stationary while they spin the tube. The cuts aren't very accurate.

We've cut a LOT of concrete forms, and have settled on a jig saw as the best way to cut it. We make a straight edge that we wrap around the tube, then tape it in place, so we have a nice, even cut line.

When you buy concrete forms, don't be surprised if you have to toss an inch or so from the end, due to it getting banged up.

How good the cut is depends more on your ability to follow the line on a curved surface than anything else.

-Kevin

#### dedleytedley

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks for the tips guys! I was thinking about cutting off a small section and splitting the ring to use as a straight? edge. The chainsaw looks like fun. We painters' have a saying; How can you tell the difference between a framer and a finishing carpenter? The finisher doesn't like you to see him use his chainsaw.
The jigsaw looks like the best tool I have for cutting the big paper tube. I have several wood handsaws but they were dulled cutting soapstone and alabaster to blocks for sculptures. Ted

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
Thanks for the tips guys! I was thinking about cutting off a small section and splitting the ring to use as a straight? edge.
If you get one of those rare tubes with a really nice end on it, that works. But they're hard to come by.

We've typically used butcher paper. It takes some work and practice to get it even, but it can be done.

-Kevin

#### als57

##### Well-Known Member
Just wondering if anyone has tried one of the 14" abrasive disc blade cut off saws on tubing?

A friend has one and I was wondering how it would work on g10 tube and quantum tube.

Al