Miter saws are a great tool for cutting wood, plastic, and metal. The question is: can I cut copper pipe with a miter saw?
Miter saws can cut copper pipes easily due to the softer nature of the copper pipe. However, it needs to be equipped with the right metal cutting blade to finish the job with the best results.
Ideally, I wouldn’t recommend using a miter saw for cutting copper pipe. It is because a miter saw isn’t specifically built for this kind of project. A simple hacksaw or a tubing cutter will do the job much more effectively instead of a miter saw.
Apart from that, you can even use a chop saw instead of a miter saw. However, if you don’t have any other tool available and want to cut the copper pipe urgently then you can count on your miter saw.
Now you know it is possible to cut the pipe with a miter saw. The next thing you need to learn is how to finish the job professionally. Don’t worry I have got you completely covered.
Here is the right way to cut a metal pipe with a miter saw without hurting yourself.
Safety Guidelines Before Cutting Copper Pipe With a Miter Saw
Whether you are cutting copper or involved in any other kind of metal cutting project, the first thing you need to keep in mind is personal safety. Without safety, you will not only hurt yourself badly but sometimes ruin your project.
According to most power tools experts and professionals, you should always keep the following points in your mind while working with a miter saw. :
- Wear Appropriate Clothing
- Create a Clean Work Environment
- Clear out Unnecessary People From the Area Where you’ll be Working
- Use eye protection
- Wear a dust mask at all times
- Wear hearing protection
- Be sure not to wear loose clothing while operating power tools
- Hold the copper pipe firmly to avoid it slipping out of position as you cut
- Consider using a marking pen or chalk line to help align your cuts and prevent uneven sawing
How to Cut The Copper Pipe With a Miter Saw
Once you have ensured the proper safety let’s progress to pipe cutting with a miter saw. Let me mention once again you should always use a tubing cutter, a chop saw, or use a hacksaw for this project.
Having that said, if a miter saw is the only tool available at the moment then here is a step-by-step method to cut a copper tube with a miter saw.
For this project, I will be using a 12-inch sliding compound miter saw with a 12 inch 60 teeth carbide tip blade. However, you can use a 10-inch miter saw as well but make sure you are using the right blade.
Another thing that may confuse most beginners is the number of teeth on the blade. It is simple, the more the teeth of the blade the finer will be the cut. Having that said, you can always sand the cut piece later to make it smooth.
Step 1: Equip the Right Blade for the Project
Before you start working on this project you will need a specific type of blade for your saw. Unlike wood, you can’t use regular blades because cooper or any other metal is far more different than wood. For this purpose, I highly recommend getting a carbide-tipped blade for your miter saw.
During my research, I noticed that the Freud 12″ x 96T Thin Kerf Non-Ferrous Metal Blade is one of the best available options. However, if you have time and you want to explore other options you feel free to search the market. There are sure some great non-ferrous blades available on the market.
Once you have equipped the right blade that can cut copper let’s move on to the next step.
Step 2: Take the Proper Measurements
Measurements are the most important parts of every project. Without proper measurements, you will never be able to get the right pieces of cuts. You can use a measuring tape to measure the required amount of piece you need for the project.
Once you have measured the piece make sure to mark it with a marker or any other marking tool. Try to be as precise as possible because a slight bit of mistake can produce unwanted results.
Step 3: Cover the Motor of Your Miter Saw
The motor of your miter saw is more important than the blade and other parts. If something happens to it then you will have to either visit the nearest repair shop or sometimes invest in a new saw.
While cutting metal popes with a miter saw, small fragments may fly in different directions due to the speed of the blade. When these fragments get inside the motor it can cause permanent damage to different parts. Therefore, I highly recommend covering the motor of your miter saw properly before you cut pipes.
Step 4: Set Your Miter Saw to 90 Degree Angle
Unlike lumber, most plumbing jobs require straight cuts only. Whether you are cutting metal pipes or PVC pipes you will mostly need to produce a clean cut at a 90-degree angle. So make sure to set your miter saw to the right angle.
I would highly recommend checking the tool manually because the scale on the saw isn’t always straight. It may be off by some degrees. Once you have confirmed that your miter saw is straight and perfectly squared then you can start cutting pipes without any issue.
Step 5: Secure the Pipe using Clamp Jaws
The next step is to hold the pipe securely using a vise or a clamp. You can do this by holding the workpiece between the jaws of the tools and then tighten the jaws to secure the material fully. Once you feel the material is secured and won’t move during the metal cutting process.
If the pipe is longer then I would recommend using a miter saw stand extension for holding the excessive piece of the copper pipe. These extensions are freely available and are quite affordable so it is better to get one.
Step 6: Cutting the Copper Tube
Finally, after getting everything ready and taking all of the measures it is time to start cutting the copper pipe. As I’ve already mentioned copper pipes are different from wood and this is why you have to treat them differently.
Whenever you are cutting copper pipe make sure to do the process slowly and carefully. During the cutting process, jitters may fly in different directions. You need to be careful and always wear glasses to protect your eyes.
Start the saw and pull it down towards the copper pipe slowly. As the vise and the clamps will hold the pipe you need to let the blade sink slowly into the copper tube. This will ensure precision and safe progress throughout the project.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to apply too much pressure while cutting the pipe. It is because the miter saw may kick back sometimes. This can cause injuries so you should always keep personal protection as a primary objective.
I have tried my best to answer one of the most beginner-level questions “can I cut copper pipe with a miter saw”. The straight answer to this question is yes, you can use a miter saw for cutting the copper pipe. However, you need to mount the right blade in order to cut the pipe.
While it cutting the copper pipe is possible I would still not recommend using a miter box for such kind of task. Instead of a miter saw, you can use a hacksaw. When it comes to metal cutting, a hacksaw will never disappoint you with its performance.
Compared to a miter box, a hacksaw is also a quite cheaper solution. Apart from that, you can do much better by using a tubing cutter. You can find a high-quality tube cutter which is also known as a pipe cutter in your local hardware store.
According to most plumbers, a tubing cutter is the safest approach to cutting copper pipes.
If you want me to add anything to this article to make it more informative and valuable please feel free to let me know.