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Cutting speed rail


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#1 Anton Delfino

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:04 PM

Is there a specific type of Sawzall blade recommended for cutting speed rail?

Thanks!
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:14 PM

I'd use the finest you can find BUT the superior way to cut any tubing is with a horizontal bandsaw that has a hydraulic damper on it to control cutting rate. I've got a 6" Wilton that does the prettiest job you've ever seen on tubing including large, 3-1/8" copper.
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#3 Christopher Santucci

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:38 PM

Is there a specific type of Sawzall blade recommended for cutting speed rail?

Thanks!



I use the Milwaukee 18 tpi "The Torch" blades in my Bosch cordless reciprocating saw and they work like a charm.

.
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:48 PM

... on tubing including large, 3-1/8" copper.

I've got a manual wheel and roller cutter for copper in that range, which gets you a very nice square cut. The wall thickness of speedrail would be way too big for that, though. Saws are OK for aluminum, but I prefer the angle grinder for steel pipe. Cost per cut is lower, and it's easier to control than a floppy sawzall blade. If you do have to saw, help it a little with some cutting lubricant.



-- J.S.
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#5 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 06:39 PM

Usually on set, speedrail and other pipe must be cut with your circular saw, as there is rarely a bandsaw readily available right there and ready to use. This is especially true on non-studio jobs. As a result, certain blades made for circ saws are better for certain things.

Generally, any toothed metal blade that is specifically made for non-ferrous metals will cut aluminum. Sometimes they will say "aluminum" on the blade, or sometimes they will say something like "only use for non-ferrous metals," meaning things like aluminum, tin, copper, brass, etc. They usually have a high tooth count (upwards of 36 teeth), and generally aren't too expensive. Here is an example:

http://www.internati...lu89mblades.htm

Obviously, price depends on the size of the blade and the manufacturer as well (Lenox makes some of the best and most expensive blades).

Also, you could get a ferrous metal cutting blade. These blades are much more durable, much more expensive, and generally have more teeth. They are used for cutting ferrous metals such as steel and iron. If you have one of these, it will cut the speedrail fine as well.

But, like others have said, to get the prettiest cut on a piece of aluminum, get a non-ferrous, high tooth count blade. But really, in practical terms, when rigging something on a film set, the smoothness of the end of your speedrail is the least of your concerns.

Also keep in mind that just because something says "for ferrous metals" or something on it, doesn't mean it can cut ANYthing. I have several ferrous metal blades that fit my 6.5" cordless circ saw, but that doesn't mean I can cut a 10x10 block of iron. The material and construction of the blade is just one part of the equation; to cut a big slab or block of very hard metal requires a larger circumference, higher RPMs on your saw, and higher torque.... and sometimes water to cool the parts.

Edited by Daniel Wallens, 11 September 2008 - 06:40 PM.

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#6 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 06:46 PM

[oops, sorry for the double post... what? we only have like 60 seconds to edit now? here's the updated one:]


Usually on set, speedrail and other pipe must be cut with your circular saw, as there is rarely a bandsaw readily available right there and ready to use. This is especially true on non-studio jobs. As a result, certain blades made for circ saws are better for certain things.

Generally, any toothed metal blade that is specifically made for non-ferrous metals will cut aluminum. Sometimes they will say "aluminum" on the blade, or sometimes they will say something like "only use for non-ferrous metals," meaning things like aluminum, tin, copper, brass, etc. They usually have a high tooth count (upwards of 36 teeth), and generally aren't too expensive. Here is an example:

http://www.internati...lu89mblades.htm

Obviously, price depends on the size of the blade and the manufacturer as well (Lenox makes some of the best and most expensive blades).

Also, you could get a ferrous metal cutting blade. These blades are much more durable, much more expensive, and generally have more teeth. They are used for cutting ferrous metals such as steel and iron. If you have one of these, it will cut the speedrail fine as well.

Your third choice is to get a metal cut-off blade. These are non-toothed wheels, which are generally a lot cheaper and usually a lot more common to find in your local store. The tradeoff is that these generally don't last as long and don't provide a very smooth/accurate cut. Here is an example:

http://power-tools.h...lade-metal.aspx


But, like others have said, to get the prettiest cut on a piece of aluminum (on set), get a non-ferrous, high tooth count blade. But really, in practical terms, when rigging something on a film set, the smoothness of the end of your speedrail is the least of your concerns.

Also keep in mind that just because something says "for ferrous metals" or something on it, doesn't mean it can cut ANYthing. I have several ferrous metal blades that fit my 6.5" cordless circ saw, but that doesn't mean I can cut a 10x10 block of iron. The material and construction of the blade is just one part of the equation; to cut a big slab or block of very hard metal requires a larger circumference, higher RPMs on your saw, and higher torque.... and sometimes water to cool the parts.

Edited by Daniel Wallens, 11 September 2008 - 06:47 PM.

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#7 John Sprung

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:24 PM

Your third choice is to get a metal cut-off blade. These are non-toothed wheels, which are generally a lot cheaper and usually a lot more common to find in your local store. The tradeoff is that these generally don't last as long and don't provide a very smooth/accurate cut. Here is an example:

http://power-tools.h...lade-metal.aspx

These are basically the same as the angle grinders use. It's interesting that they actually label the first one for aluminum. Abrasives tend to work best on ferrous metals. Softer stuff, especially aluminum, has a tendency to stick in between the abrasive particles and load up the wheel. A lot of them will be labeled for ferrous only, which is what you don't want for most speed rail.

Your woodworking circular saw will work if you have to use it, but the angle grinder's advantage is much higher RPM's. With the slower saw, you have to be careful not to push too hard and try to cut too fast.

Cutting lubricants are great for metal cutting metal. Don't use them with an abrasive unless the label specifically says it's OK.

Oh, and safety glasses for all this stuff. Nasty sparks and fragments....



-- J.S.
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#8 Hal Smith

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:44 PM

I've got a manual wheel and roller cutter for copper in that range, which gets you a very nice square cut. The wall thickness of speedrail would be way too big for that, though. Saws are OK for aluminum, but I prefer the angle grinder for steel pipe. Cost per cut is lower, and it's easier to control than a floppy sawzall blade. If you do have to saw, help it a little with some cutting lubricant.

Problem with pipe cutters is no matter how carefully and slowly you cut copper the end is slightly swedged. Water could care less but not where I'm using copper; radio transmitter feedlines where the inner sections are connected with silver plated bullets plugged into the center of the line. Outside of that a horizontal bandsaw is just so much quicker for the same quality cut.

I've seen people use a miter box and a long sawzall blade to cut soft tubing, not a bad approach.
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#9 robert duke

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 10:41 PM

On set I tend to use a circlular saw or a pipe cutter (if I have to be quiet about it). I buy the highest number teeth for the cheapest price. Every time I buy an expensive blade I it ends up breaking. $$$$ I dont even bother looking for a blade that cuts aluminum. the most teeth and the cheapest $. you ruin the blade but it cuts quick and smooth.

For tricking out my speed rail set I use a horizontal band saw, just like Hal. you get a beautiful cut that only needs a little smoothing, but I do that at the shop.
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#10 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 12:16 AM

On set I tend to use a circlular saw or a pipe cutter (if I have to be quiet about it). I buy the highest number teeth for the cheapest price. Every time I buy an expensive blade I it ends up breaking. $$$$ I dont even bother looking for a blade that cuts aluminum. the most teeth and the cheapest $. you ruin the blade but it cuts quick and smooth.

For tricking out my speed rail set I use a horizontal band saw, just like Hal. you get a beautiful cut that only needs a little smoothing, but I do that at the shop.



Don't forget to file the outside edge down and use a reaming tool on the inside.
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#11 JD Hartman

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 09:07 AM

To clean up the edges after the cut, you could use a deburring tool like these: http://www.shaviv.com/ or clean up the burrs and rough edges with a strip of emery cloth wrapped around a dowel or rod.
If you use a circ. saw to cut metal, be sure you wear earplugs.
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#12 Reil Munro

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 09:53 PM

1 Measuring Tape
1 Sharpie (fine point)
1 Hacksaw
1 Apple-box
1 Foot

Measure out your desired length on speed-rail, mark with sharpie, lay your pipe on an apple-box (I prefer using the #2 side of the apple-box personally)applying down force or pressure on said speed-rail with foot, cut along desired length marked from your fine point sharpie, with a standard hacksaw - as an added bonus, asking one of your mates to hold the end will give him/her a good reason to get a cigarette in while you saw away.

In 30 seconds you'll be all set to run that cut piece in...ok maybe 90 seconds, give your mate a chance to enjoy that cig


Shoot Film and not Heroin
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#13 JD Hartman

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 08:56 AM

cut along desired length marked from your fine point sharpie, with a standard hacksaw


Would that "standard hacksaw" have an 18 tooth, a 24 tooth or a 32 tooth blade?
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#14 Reil Munro

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 02:25 AM

JD

Whatever gets the job done
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#15 JD Hartman

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 07:24 AM

Whatever gets the job done.


That means knowing what the correct tool for the task is. In this case, being a Grip, you should know which blade to select for the type and thickness of metal you are cutting. It also means showing up for work with the proper tools.
There are too many people, calling themselves "grips", that don't know their butt from a rat hole.
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#16 robert duke

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 09:17 PM

I got caught with my pants down the other day and had to cut a gobo arm with my leatherman file. It took about 2 minutes of sawing to get through but...
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#17 Reil Munro

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 05:09 AM

JD

If your that anal in believing that a grip should be bringing hacksaws to their show calls then I'm sure glad as (obscenity removed by admin) I won't be working with you.

As a grip I bring what's in/on my pouch/belt:
Quick-piq
Needle nose pliers
Olfa knife
Scorpion flash-light
6" crescent wrench (8" spare in the bag)
ratchet for key clamps
Speed wrench (if rigging)
Hex keys
Carabiner
2" Paper tape
Measuring tape
Leathermen

Holy crap, sounds like alot for one belt, but saves me the time, that's maybe why I work so much as a Grip/Lead Grip/Dolly Grip on IA sanctioned shows here in Canada.

Don't flatter yourself with your knowledge of saw blades, if I ever have a doubt about using the Key's tools for a task, I ask. (You can use that line, my compliments)

JD...maybe you've worked in the fiction world for so long that you've forgotten what reality is, you seem to pass judgment pretty quick...and if that's the case, (obscenity removed by admin) off.


Stay classy
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#18 Hal Smith

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 01:26 PM

I got caught with my pants down the other day and had to cut a gobo arm with my leatherman file. It took about 2 minutes of sawing to get through but...

The Gerber 600 Pro Scout comes with a grit blade that can be changed out for any sabre saw blade that has a hole at the base. I keep a 24T blade in mine, it comes in REAL handy from time to time.

Posted Image
.....................^
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#19 Tad Howard

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 03:20 PM

I bought one of theseempire pipe cutter from Sears and keep it in one of my tool bags. It does a nice job but you should still de-burr the inside of the pipe. I like to use a metal chop saw most of the time though. I'm new to the forum, but I know Mr. Duke.
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#20 Michele Peterson

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:37 PM

I was taught to be very careful not to step on toes and bring too much, like power tools without being asked to. Local 80's required minimum tools are all hand tools. The key is usually getting a kit fee for the additional power tools and if I were to bring it for free, the producers' wouldn't want to pay the kit fee. Then I lower the standard, don't get hired by the key again, and I don't make a kit fee to allow me to replace blades and other upkeep of my kit. When in doubt, you could always bring your power tools, but leave them in your vehicle nearby and don't take them out until you know for sure.

Edited by Michele Peterson, 25 September 2008 - 02:37 PM.

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