View Full Version : Tube Notcher Ques/Advice
02-27-2006, 12:33 PM
I'm in the market for a tubing notcher, i'm sick of getting hit with flying tube when trying to do it in the drill press, and i like the idea of the angles.
Every notcher i've found so far thread into the hole saw. Great execpt that all of my holesaws don't have that treaded arbor hole. And i have alot of hole saws, mine have a hex shape at the top and you insert this 1/4" drill bit with a notch on it into the hole saw and tighten a set screw, i usually dont use the guide drill bit and chuck up the hex.
So here's my question, can i somehow mount a onto the shaft? or does anyone make one with a chuck? does a hand held drill chuck have a thread on the back? i know it has a set screw, but i'd imagine i need some type of thread and screw, not just a taper like drill presses.
i also think the chuck would be cool because i could chuck up smaller drill bits so i could drill perfectly centered holes thru tubes or even run smaller tubes right thru bigger ones
02-27-2006, 03:46 PM
Hi Brendan, I think notchers that use hole saws go the route of threading them directly onto the shaft for "stiffness" purposes. When you are notching, you aren't using a pilot hole to keep the saw centered and stable. Therefore, the arbor has to be very solid. The hole saws that use "Chuchable" arbors, especially the 1/4" arbors would never be stiff enough. Even chucking a 1/2" arbor whole saw into a drill press is marginal at best. That is why you see the production guys using a bridgeport, and shell endmills. Just my thoughts.
02-27-2006, 03:52 PM
Brendan sounds like you want to do so tubular frame work. Motorcycle frames maybe? My opinion is invest in the tubing notcher and keep the hole saws you have for the drill press. You can get the cheap ones for less than $50 and it'll last a couple of years. Been there. The bronze bushings uaaully wear out. But it's a good investment. If your doing bikes then you need it.....
02-28-2006, 10:17 AM
Personally, I like the tubing notcher that Williams LoBuck puts out the best! No drill press or flying shrapnel... it only cuts one side of the notch at a time and you can control how much.. I'm building one on that principal to use on aircraft tubing, since his is much too big.
03-01-2006, 07:30 AM
Some good advise already posted by Tuck, TigMan, and JH. There are a number of hole saw notchers on the market of a similar design that will work well for a reasonable price. I have had good results with the unit from JD2.com. I worked it pretty hard and it held up fine.
I'm sure it's been discussed before but I'll mention again some of the keys to successful tube notches are: drill speed, quality hole saw, slow feed into the cut, and use cutting oil. I just checked the RPM of the drill I use with my notcher, (Snap-On PDR5 air drill) and it's 490 RPM.
Also, here is a link to an interesting tube notcher I found on the internet some time ago that is well worth considering: http://www.kcdawnpatrol.org/TubNotcher.htm
Marvin's notcher is different from the usual ones such as the JD2 I mentioned above and looks like it would work nice, however I only saw it on that web site and have never used one personally. I requested a price some time ago and at the time I think it was $200.00.
Hope this helps.
03-01-2006, 09:00 AM
Funny you should link to KC Dawn Patrol's webpage.. I made the paint that they use..used to be part owner in that company..
Here's a link to Williams, showing his tubing notcher..
03-01-2006, 11:27 AM
Thanks for the replies and the help, i had looked at all of the notchers you mentioned, but i was really asking about mounting a chuck onto the shaft to use my exisiting hole saws and possibly use small drill bits to drill perfectly centered holes.
I guess i'll just buy a notcher, the hole saws aren't a big deal because they aren't that expensive and i'll be most likely only working in 1.5, 1.25" tubing
03-01-2006, 11:14 PM
The main problem I have found using hole saws no matter what type of notcher you use is that it is impossible to find hole saws that have a fine enough tooth count. They just aren’t made. I had a long discussion one day with the guy at tricktools (tricktools.com) about that. He has been through many brands of hole saws and has yet to find one that works real well. If you use a good sized mill, the set up is ridged enough to get away with course teeth, but short of that, it just produces too rough of a cut.
I finally just scrapped the hole saw idea and started using the plasma cutter and welding positioner and cut by hand using tubemiter.exe as a guide. Still requires some clean up with a file but it's much less exciting than watching your drill press bounce across the floor. :evil:
I had used a drill press with my hole saw notcher for many years untill I used a friends notcher while it was mounted in a vice horizontally with 1/2" variable speed hand drill. I now do all of my notching that way. You have a lot more "feel" and it is much handier.
Another thing. You can make a Harbor freight notcher last a lot longer if you do a few mods to it. The first thing is to get rid of all of the bolts that came with it. Drill and tap all of the holes for 3/8" and install good allen head bolts and hardened flat washers. Install gease zerks in the holes in the block that the arbor runs in and grease it often. If you have an older steel style, you can weld a support rib on it from top to bottom on the back side opposite of the arbor to make it more rigid. On the newer aluminum ones, you could also weld a rib on if you can or just bolt a piece of angle iron to it. My HF notcher has been going strong for 10 years, and I only just recently had to put new bushings in it.
paul 'botch' venners
03-23-2006, 01:59 PM
I made about 50 rollcages of various complexity over a ten year period BY HAND. As in a 4 1/2" grinder and then a half round file to finish. I had tried the drill style machines but found them to much hassle.
Lots of fine grinding dust and noise and physically tiring.
Then a bought a very cheap second hand horizontal mill ( I guess around $400) and bought a long series end mill.
You guys have it lucky over there as you have so much specialised machinary at various cost and quality levels. Try Mitler bros, they do a mini mill that is little more than a motor with a chuck.
I only bought the mill for th notching operations for building vw air cooled drag chassis and roll cages but have found it most usefull since finding this place for assisting in making funky metal shaping tools :D
I guess the method you use/ investment made will depend on how much of this work you want to do. You can download various programs that produce a pattern that you print out and cut to shape to use as a template (tube mitre is one that springs to mind). You just input the angle of the joint and off you go.
Doing that much hand notching has one major advantage/ disadvantage. My fore arms looked like popeyes!
03-23-2006, 05:55 PM
I was at Harbor freight the other day and was going to buy the notcher, but after seeing it in person i just couldn't buy it, its is such a piece of crap,i can't pay $40 for something like that,
i've decided to wait and buy the protools notcher, its 199 but it has sealed bearings and does offsets and is much much better.
03-23-2006, 06:43 PM
In the machine shop I worked in I always used one of the horizontal milling machines to notch tubing. At home I now use my lathe, still using end mills. For smaller diameter tubing I use my Aloris boring bar holders, some sizes needing home made bushings. For larger I use a Palmgren milling attachment, that I bought at a yard sale for $20. You can raise or lower either one to center or offset them. I use the compound to get the angle. I made myself a tubing notcher years ago to use at home. I just don't think the holes saws do such a great job. Bill
03-24-2006, 06:37 AM
The lowbucks notcher works great on 1.5 diam. and larger tubing. For smaller stuf I have had better luck with the HF holesaw and lennox bit.
I also used a gear reduction device like Richard did, only I mounted it on a 1/2" steel plate bolted to the back end of my drill press. In essence, I reduced the drill press speed by 25 to 1. The plate was bolted where the motor used to be, and was big enough that the motor was also bolted to it, out to the side, with a coupler between the motor and gear reduction box. Before the reducer was installed, any hole saw would let out such a screech, even with cutting oil, that it hurt your ears with hearing protection donned. Now, it turns about 60 rpm, about 1 rev, per second, and I have cut holes as big as 4 inches in 1/4 inch plate with no problems, I just drill a small hole inboard and slightly into the cut, so as to allow the chips to drop out. Coincidentally, my old Westward Gorilla drill press was bought about 30 years ago, in the first wave of imports from wherever they came from, and it only has the drive pulley and the driven pulley up top. Its a decent quality, fairly sturdy unit, compared to a lot of the cheap drill presses out today, that have the 3 pulleys up top. (that's why I needed the gear reduction) The tag on the front says the slowest speed is 60 rpm, but after the 25 to 1 reduction, its now about that speed, (They wouldn't actually lie to a person, or misrepresent the tool, would they?) John V.O.
03-24-2006, 10:56 AM
You sure do a nice job with that freeware cad/illustration program.
gear reducer made with round cornered casting with feet and mounting holes. cover plates with fasteners, shafts with keyways, a threaded adaptor, and then a hole saw complete with welded on pressed mandrel welded to the TOOTHED blade.
Why is it we are using solid works again?
03-24-2006, 06:06 PM
What are you using, Richard?
03-25-2006, 04:39 PM
If you want the quickest and easiest way to fit tubing, use a chop saw and or band saw. Use tubemiter to mark the cut. With a chop saw it takes some practice to hit the center (or off center for an angled cut), but once you get it, you can make the cut, touch it to the grinder and have a fit that you can't see light through in less than 30 seconds.
For anything more that 10 degrees angle, you'll need a band saw also as a good 90 degree fit requires a 30 degree cut and a 10 degree angle requires a 20/40 cut.
If you try it, I guarantee you you'll never use a hole saw to fit tubing again
04-06-2006, 09:02 AM
If you plan to use a milling machine, use roughing endmills instead of regular ones. They chatter far less and don't grab, especialy on thin wall stuff. I have built 20+ cages with (1) 1 3/4" long series roughing end mill.
04-06-2006, 12:14 PM
at school we first used an old bench grinder with roughly 1" thick wheels on it (for 1" tubing) once they get worn down a bit on the corners (don't dress them) they work real well. then we got some funding to get a roughing mill and a little tabletop mill/drill which works better on the thicker stuff. I kinda like grinding them on goofy angles since you can creep up on it and not get too large of a gap or a rotated notch.
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