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Old 12-09-2011, 09:42 PM   #1
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Default Best method for cutting stainless steel?

I have a very small project that I am working on and I need to cut a piece of stainless tube (just 2 simple straight cuts). It is my understanding that when using a hacksaw, or any type of non stainless metal-to-stainless metal cutting, the stainless becomes contaminated with the other steel and can rust at that point.

So my question is do I cut with a hacksaw or sawzall, then clean up with sandpaper, or will a cutting disk on my miter saw be better?

FWIW, I don't have a miter saw cutting disk, so I will have to incur that cost if I want to do it that way (which would provide the cleanest most accurate cut I assume), but I have a hacksaw.

What would you do/suggest?

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Old 12-09-2011, 09:59 PM   #2
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Bite it really hard.

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DMartin View Post
Bite it really hard.
Is that what you'd do, or is that what you suggest?
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:10 PM   #4
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As a machinist I would have to call BS on the "contamination" of the stainless steel. There's a chance if an inferior quality cutting tool was used that there may be some build-up on the cut surface that may oxidize, but that doesn't mean the stainless has changed. Stainless steel has high levels of nickel and chrome that make it less prone to oxidation. Having a little high speed steel rusting on its surface isn't going to change that. If you were worried you could hit it with a little sand paper, but you should probably do that anyway.

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:28 PM   #5
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How big diameter is the tubing? If its thin wall tubing you can just use a tubing cutter on it like the ones used for copper pipe. Just take your time and dont try to cut to much at one time.

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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I recommend just using the hacksaw. When you're done, take some 220 grit sandpaper, fold it up so it fits the slot snugly, and sand it. This will remove any material that the hacksaw may have deposited on the SS. That's the stuff that will rust later, not your stainless, so you want to get it off.

I used the same technique (I also used Scotch Brite on some stuff, but that wouldn't be appropriate for your application) for every cut that I made for my electric keggle and nothing has rusted yet, and it would have by now.

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
As a machinist I would have to call BS on the "contamination" of the stainless steel. There's a chance if an inferior quality cutting tool was used that there may be some build-up on the cut surface that may oxidize, but that doesn't mean the stainless has changed. Stainless steel has high levels of nickel and chrome that make it less prone to oxidation. Having a little high speed steel rusting on its surface isn't going to change that. If you were worried you could hit it with a little sand paper, but you should probably do that anyway.
Yeah I understand that a little sandpaper, and a scrub with some BKF will more than likely remove any metal contaminant that may cause rust. Since this will be immersed in the beer, I want to make sure there aren't any corrosion issues from any contaminants.

I was wondering if a cutting disk would avoid any metal contamination, but then you run into the problem of overheating which is another can of worms.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisl77 View Post
How big diameter is the tubing? If its thin wall tubing you can just use a tubing cutter on it like the ones used for copper pipe. Just take your time and dont try to cut to much at one time.
It is a Sanke spear.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:06 PM   #9
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What exactly are you making to be concerned about overheating?

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Old 12-09-2011, 11:11 PM   #10
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I am making Randall.

I overheard Palmer on a Brew Strong podcast talking about stainless steel and cutting it and the potential hazards of contamination and overheating of the stainless when using certain methods to cut it.

Maybe I'll just take the spear to HD, open up a pipe cutter, cut it there and leave, lol.

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