Rotary cutting machines (also known as cutoff lathes/pipe cutting machines/cut-off machines) part off lengths of tube or pipe quickly without any waste of material or need for deburring. They are not saws, but they do much the same thing. In fact, a rotary cutting machine is a sort of hybrid between a lathe and a saw, but is technically a parting or metal forming operation, not an abrasive method.
In the end, it all comes down to speed and efficiency. Rotary cutting machines rotate the tube or pipe on rollers, spinning the part at high speed like a lathe. Because of this, the sawblade does not need to penetrate the entire way across the pipe, but only has to break the thickness of it. Rotary cutting is therefore much faster than many traditional cutting methods.
Rotary cutters use a single solid blade instead of a saw with teeth. The blade causes the metal to flow to either side rather than breaking chips away from the pipe. This means that no metal is removed, which means no chips, no kerf, no mess, and no waste.
However, there will always be a slight chamfer to the end of the pipe or tube, and so a rotary cutting machine should not be used for parts that require straight ends.
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A piece of tube or pipe is set atop two cutter block rollers. The distance between these rollers can be adjusted to determine the placement of burr, if any. A length gauge keeps the parts the same length. The blade descends onto the tube, makes the cut, and then rises up again. The process is repeated.
Rotary cutting machines can either be manual or air-operated. They can come equipped with feeder systems or automatic length gauges to make the process semi-automatic.
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