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  • Grooving Tips

    We've been grooving some 4" copper at work. Did some at school and have done it in the past when I did the 4" main in the other hallway as well as in another building too. We're putting up water mains in one of the hallways. Not brain surgery by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm just wondering if you guys have any tips as far as grooving is concerned. We run I think it's a Ridgid 915 Groover on a 300 power vise. Using 12 foot lengthes of Type L Copper, we have the Copper roller/groover adapter kit (or whatever it's called - different components) installed into the groover. Generally speaking I usually set up the pipe stand so the pipe is level, and I offset it so the end of the pipe (the end opposite the end in the groover) just to the left and put the power vise on reverse. This way it won't back out when you start it (why I put the pipe just to the left slightly). But every now and then you get a warped end or a burred end. I make sure I go really slowly with the grooving as far as pulling down on the handle as I understand it takes a while to turn the 4" pipe. I figure that making sure the pipe is level helps as it, in my thinking anyways, seems to not cause the end of the pipe to flare up when the groover edge bits down into it (and I use the term "bite" loosely here - I go slow like I said). I'm not having problems but I just want to reduce the "every now and then" to Nil. In fact it's usually not me who has the problems with the groover but a less expiereinced co-worker. Any fool proof tips or thoughts to offer? There doesn't seem to be much talk as far as grooving is concerned either on here..so maybe now is the time? (grooving for victaulic clamps).

    By the way I am a firm believer in properly lubing your Victaulic Clamps gaskets. I know some don't, but it is so much easier to work with when lubed plus it prevents potential pinching of the gasket.

    Another Q I have is what is your guy's preference as far as cutting the bigger Copper (3" plus) pipe? I have a set of Ridgid 118 Midget cutters, Ridgid 151 quick acting cutters (1/4" to 1 1/2"), and the Ridgid 153 Quick acting cutters (1 1/4" to 3 1/8") so I am covered up to 3" pipe. I was thinking of getting a set of 154 or 156 quick acting cutters (I think the 154's are 1 7/8" to 4 1/8" and the 156's are 4" to 6 5/8"), Or is there a low burr chop saw blade you guys might be able to recommend for Copper pipe? We are currently using a Chop (or "abrasive cut off") saw with a carbon blade. It's not the best as it takes a while and leaves burrs (which I file out, but hey if I can find something that works better and makes the chop saws job easier then...) but it seems to do the trick ok. The nice thing I will say about all the cutters I own (the 118, 151, & 153) is they all use the same cutter wheel so buying replacement's is always nice.

    [ 12-21-2005, 02:56 AM: Message edited by: Scott K ]

  • #2
    scott, i have a hand vic. roll groover. it is operated by a ratchet wrench and is fairly easy to set and adjust.

    have you guys thought of the propress for this 4'' work? it only takes 7 seconds to press/ crimp a 4'' fitting. plus you don't need a pipe machine to grove the pipe. don't know if you need to be able to take the fittings apart? but i doubt it. the propress 320 runs approx. $2600 1/2''- 2'' and an additional $1600. for the xl jaws 2.5''- 4''.

    as far as a chop saw cutter goes. i have a dewalt 14'' multi cutter. ridgid makes a similar one.
    it has a carbide tipped blade and will cut burr free copper or steel. no heat and no burrs. the blade turns at approx. 1800 rpm. a regular abrasive chop saw runs approx. 3400 rpm.

    the multicutter with balde runs approx. $450.

    maybe santa will be nice to you this year?

    ridgid can demo all the tools i listed.

    rick.

    [ 12-21-2005, 03:48 AM: Message edited by: PLUMBER RICK ]

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    • #3
      Hey Rick, Thanks for the tips and the response!

      A hand groover? Is this thing pretty easy to use? Is it relatively quick or does it take a while per groove? How much does it cost roughly? I'll look into it via a web search but I'm also mainly interested in working/learning more about what the company I work for has.

      I've never heard of a propress. I'll have to look into it. Anymore info you have shoot! I don't know if we do enough of the big Copper at my company to warrant buying one but you never know...

      I don't think the boss is gonna spring for the multi-cutter. But a good recommendation for a chop saw blade would be more realistic. We have a few Ridgid chop saw's, I believe they run about 3900 RPM. 14" blades with a 1" spindle.

      By the way, correction, the groover is a 916 Roll Groover attachment for a power vise, not 915.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Scott K:
        Hey Rick, Thanks for the tips and the response!

        A hand groover? Is this thing pretty easy to use? Is it relatively quick or does it take a while per groove? How much does it cost roughly? I'll look into it via a web search but I'm also mainly interested in working/learning more about what the company I work for has.

        I've never heard of a propress. I'll have to look into it. Anymore info you have shoot! I don't know if we do enough of the big Copper at my company to warrant buying one but you never know...

        I don't think the boss is gonna spring for the multi-cutter. But a good recommendation for a chop saw blade would be more realistic. We have a few Ridgid chop saw's, I believe they run about 3900 RPM. 14" blades with a 1" spindle.

        By the way, correction, the groover is a 916 Roll Groover attachment for a power vise, not 915.
        I cut 4" copper with a portable band saw. Use a wrap-around to mark it and cut it with the saw. It leaves very little burr, and is fast. It requires some skill on your part, but you'll get it.

        the dog
        the dog

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        • #5
          Hey so does your V28 bandsaw (assuming that's what you have) cut it pretty fast?

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          • #6
            dog, does the portaband cut straight and true enough to allow for grooving?

            scott, the blade used on the multi cutter is a special carbide tipped blade. if you try it on a high speed chop saw, you'll probably shorten it's life and the blade is probably not rated for the higher speed. the hand held groover is a very portable unit and ridgid makes a model #915. it is good for in place grooving and will work up to 8'' copper with the proper copper wheels.
            do you use the vic. on domestic water or hvac? the propress fittings are rated for underground use. vic. is not. look at the top of this sight for a propress video clip.

            rick.

            [ 12-21-2005, 11:09 PM: Message edited by: PLUMBER RICK ]

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            • #7
              We use Victaulic on domestic water lines for mains down hallways of condo's. These mains feed risers that go up and down to feed the suites. The company I work for doesn't do HVAC, or if we did I'd imagine it'd be subbed out.

              We generally use Ductile Iron with hub's for underground and sometimes we use Grooved Ductile/Victaulic for hallways where 6" or larger pipe is required, although lately my boss is preferring two 4 inch mains instead of a 6" ductile due to weight, ease on the back, easier to customize, etc. (we don't have the equipment to groove 6" ductile - we have to measure it all before hand and then order it cut and grooved).

              My understanding is Grooving/Victaulic is one of the cheaper & easier options available, cheaper than sweating with couplings, etc that's for sure. I doubt the company I work for is in for a change but I certainly appreciate enlightening myself with new methods with respect to joining materials and such. Something to keep in mind down the road and something I would eventually like to learn/try in the field.

              [ 12-22-2005, 02:07 AM: Message edited by: Scott K ]

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