View Full Version : HF Tube Notcher
12-17-2004, 09:20 PM
Has anyone ever used one of the tube notchers that HF sells? If so, do they do an acceptable job? How do they hold up?
12-18-2004, 02:18 AM
I don't know about HF but I have a tubing notcher from Grizzly and it works great. You use it with your drill press and it works really well. I paid $59.99 for it and I saw one just like it in the Mittler Bros. catalog for $150.00. It will handle up to 2" diameter tubing. www.grizzly.com
01-12-2005, 06:13 PM
i bought one but alas my drill's chuck is not big enough..... hopefully i will get a drill press soon
01-12-2005, 07:04 PM
Thanks for the feedback.
I know of 3 different systems for notching- well, really 4.
The simplest is the mechanical punch and die- like the williams low buck notcher.
I have one of these, and it works ok for small projects. It is well built, and will last forever, and wont break. Its great for aluminum, ok for steel. Chromalloy is pushing it. It really helps to have the right size dies, which means several sets. Not cheap, when you add it up.
You can get these same types of dies for a hydraulic ironworker, as mentioned, but then you are talking big money- figure 5k to 10k for the ironworker, then probably another grand for decent dies to notch pipe. Of course, you can do 500 a day this way.
The second way is with a hole saw, like the old joint jigger. I have one of these, too, and I use it more- with bi-metal hole saws, it will cut most anything, pretty accurately. We are doing a project right now with 1 1/2" schedule 40 stainless pipe, which is 2" od, and the joint jigger does a really nice job- fit up is so tight that the tig bead is very small and clean. One advantage is the hole saws are much cheaper than the notching dies- 10 to 15 bucks each, for really good lenox brand.
A variation on the joint jigger is to use actual end mills, as opposed to hole saws. This means a much bigger, stouter machine, and, of course, lots more money.
and look at "ultimate tubing notcher"= $3500 to $4000.
The last way is with a belt sander. These rigs are really slick, and will run for years with only the cost of sanding belts. But again, mucho dinero.
and look at notchers- they make both punch style and abrasive.
02-24-2005, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the Jancy link. I really like the design of those belt-sander notchers. I've been wanting to build a belt grinder for some time, and seems like it wouldn't be too hard to make it usable as such a machine.
I have one of the asian mill-drills (excellent drill press, barely usable mill) and do OK fishmouthing with holesaws with two caveats:
1) You need to make up a 1/2 or better 5/8" arbor for the saws. The 3/8" hex arbors that the saws come with kill your ridgity. This is part of the secret of the "joint jigger" rigs...they have thier own HD mandrel. It would be awsome if someone made an appropriatly threaded R-8 mandrel.
2) Feed VERY slowly when starting on square tubing. On round, only a few teeth are cutting at once. On square, half the diameter is cutting at the start and finish of the cut. The groove supports the saw at the finish, but it is way easy to overfeed at the start.
Two alternatives I've used on square:
(when the round was smaller) is to cut the square stock long enough to drill a full hole, then saw through the midpoint of the hole at whatever required angle.
Single pointing with a boring head to start the cut, then finishing with a hole saw (which handles the verticle walls better than the single point tool.
03-29-2005, 10:13 PM
I have one of the Harbor Freights tubing notchers. I would have to say it does an ok job, but you really need to take your time and expect the stand to move on you once in a while where the bolts are tightend to set it up. I have seen the same notchers selling fro $129 in other places.
They are not that great and the first one I purchased had a cross threaded shaft nut and caused the notching blade to wobble (standard harbor freight quality). lol
But I have made some excellent notched in 1 5/8" mild steel, but you really need to take your time.
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