What Are Tube Cutters and How Do They Work?

Tube cutters by Monroe

Tubes are often used to carry water and other fluids through airplanes. When building an airplane, you’ll typically need to install tubes. Cutting tubes, of course, can be difficult without the right tool. While it’s possible to cut polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes with a knife, it’s not easy. As a result, you may want to invest in a tube cutter.

Overview of Tube Cutters

A tube cutter is a device that’s designed to create clean and uniform cuts on tubes. It features a set of jaws with a blade. You can use a tube cutter to create clean, uniform cuts on tubes.

How Tube Cutters Work

There are different types of tube cutters, but most of them work in the same way. When engaged, the jaws will close while simultaneously dropping the blade on the tube.

Tubes are typically rigid. They can’t bend or flex. And with their rigid design, tubes must be cut to the correct size. If a tube is too big or too small, it may not connect to the intended endpoints. A tube cutter, however, makes it easy to cut tubes to the correct size.

Before using a tube cutter, you’ll need to measure the tube and mark the area where you want to cut it. You can then place the tube between the jaws of the tube cutter. Pressing down on the top of the tube cutter will drop the blade. The blade will slice through the tube. You can rinse and repeat these steps to cut all of the tubes for your project.

Tube Cutters vs Pipe Cutters

While the terms “tube cutters” and “pipe cutters” are often used synonymously to describe tube-cutting tools, they aren’t necessarily the same. Tube cutters are typically designed for soft materials like PVC. Pipe cutters, on the other hand, are designed for hard materials like copper, iron and steel.

Tube cutters also use a different method of operation than pipe cutters. As previously mentioned, tube cutters feature a set of jaws with a blade. Engaging a tube cutter will drop the blade, thus causing it to slide through the tube.

Pipe cutters are designed to cut pipes in a circular motion. Unlike tube cutters, they don’t have a blade that drops on the pipe. Instead, pipe cutters are designed to rotate around the pipe. You can place a pipe inside of a pipe cutter. As you turn the pipe cutter, the blade will cut it from the sides.

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