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  • Cutting iron pipe

    I will be cutting some 4 inch cast iron drain pipe with an angle grinder. Would it be best to use a wheel that's 1/8" thick or 1/4" thick? Thanks.

  • #2
    It would be best ot use a soil pipe cutter, the ratchet type is nice for demo work. Make sure both sides of the cut are supported well. Put a wedge of wood in the cut so it doesn't close up and pinch the cutting wheel. Safety glasses or goggles AND a full face shield is best if working overhead. If its wood frame construction then have a fire extinguisher close by. I like to use a spray bottle with water and wet the wood down lightly before soldering or using a grinder as you suggest and in close proximity to wood.

    1/8 or 1/4" wheel will both work. Are you using a cutting wheel or grinding wheel? One is made to use the edge (cut) and the other to use the face (grind). Neither is properly reinforced to perform the other type work, though many have at times thrown caution to the wind and used them incorrectly. If you ever seen one of these things came apart at 23,000 RPM and embed itself in a 2x12 10 feet away, you'll think twice before you use them wrong again. That's what stopped me from doing it again. Luckily no one got hurt the time my wheel came apart.

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    • #3
      dcdude, i've cut tons of cast iron with a grinder and high speed cut off saw. i snak cutter works great on new pipe and also on pipe in good condition. the cast iron tends to thn out on the bottom after years of service. a 4.5'' grinder works fine. a 14'' high speed cut off saw is even better.it cuts all the way through without rotating in seconds.
      if all you have is the 4.5'' grinder then use a 1/8'' or 5/32'' wheel. a 1/4'' is typically a grinding wheel and not a cut off wheel. if you can get all the way around the pipe then you don't have to cut a window in the top. if you can only access the pipe from the top, such as in a ditch, then cut as far around the top as you can go. then cut 2 parallel cuts approx. 4'' back, then another circular cut on top to expose a window for the grinder to get to the inside and allow you to finish off the bottom of the pipe. sounds harder than it actually is. as bob said wear you safety face shield. a spark or chip in the eye is no fun. i speak from experience on this one.
      i've even seen some people use a diamond wheel to cut cast iron. i'm not too keen on this, but others swear by it.

      rick.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the help. I have a 4 1/2 inch 12 amp and a 9 inch 15 amp. One of them should get it done.

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        • #5
          Best way for portability is a deep cut band saw. Short of that, a large pair of snap cutters will do.

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          • #6
            Re: Cutting iron pipe

            O/K now we have a hole in cast iron what do we do with it?

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            • #7
              Re: Cutting iron pipe

              Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
              O/K now we have a hole in cast iron what do we do with it?

              duct tape and some more duct tape??

              zeljka
              sigpic

              Robert

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              • #8
                Re: Cutting iron pipe

                super glue fixes every thing
                9/11/01, never forget.

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                • #9
                  Re: Cutting iron pipe

                  Originally posted by syreja
                  Very nice. We used one of these back when I did commercial work. They are pretty sweet. Great purchase if you are cutting a lot of steel pipe for new installations. We used it for Victaulic.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cutting iron pipe

                    I deleted my post because I didn't catch the cutter.As soon as I saw the logo I figured he wanted us to look at his new T-Drill.

                    Wish I hadn't now that you guys have posted.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cutting iron pipe

                      Originally posted by thedcdude View Post
                      I will be cutting some 4 inch cast iron drain pipe with an angle grinder. Would it be best to use a wheel that's 1/8" thick or 1/4" thick? Thanks.
                      I like to use a 1/8" cut off disc. The 1/4" grinding wheel takes too long.

                      Originally posted by imported_PLUMBER RICK View Post
                      dcdude, i've cut tons of cast iron with a grinder and high speed cut off saw. i snak cutter works great on new pipe and also on pipe in good condition. the cast iron tends to thn out on the bottom after years of service. a 4.5'' grinder works fine. a 14'' high speed cut off saw is even better.it cuts all the way through without rotating in seconds.
                      if all you have is the 4.5'' grinder then use a 1/8'' or 5/32'' wheel. a 1/4'' is typically a grinding wheel and not a cut off wheel. if you can get all the way around the pipe then you don't have to cut a window in the top. if you can only access the pipe from the top, such as in a ditch, then cut as far around the top as you can go. then cut 2 parallel cuts approx. 4'' back, then another circular cut on top to expose a window for the grinder to get to the inside and allow you to finish off the bottom of the pipe. sounds harder than it actually is. as bob said wear you safety face shield. a spark or chip in the eye is no fun. i speak from experience on this one.
                      i've even seen some people use a diamond wheel to cut cast iron. i'm not too keen on this, but others swear by it.

                      rick.
                      Ditto on Rick's post.

                      In addition to wearing safety glasses, a safety shield, and ear plugs, You also might wanna wear a cap to cover your head.
                      This past July I was cutting with a grinder, I was wearing everything but the cap, and some of the ground metal ended up in my hair, after I was done cutting, I removed the glasses and shield, only to have the pieces of metal from my hair fall into my eyes. One piece got lodged real bad and started to rust over night. I had to go to the Opthamologist to get it removed. This was the second time something like this happened.
                      The first time I was cutting metal with a sawzall while wearing safety glasses, I guess the wind blew the small metal particles under the glasses and a piece got lodged in my eye.

                      Tracy
                      sigpic.................I Love My Toto Bidet :twofinger2: :twofinger:

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