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2-1 Cutting Conduit

Regardless of the type of conduit being installed, you will often have to cut it to make it fit. All conduits should be cut at a 90 angle. Rigid-steel conduit can be cut with either a hacksaw or a pipe cutter. Although a vise is not absolutely necessary, it makes cutting with either tool much easier (Figure 2-1).

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Figure 2-1. Cutting and reaming tools

When cutting any conduit with a hacksaw, use a blade with 18 to 32 teeth per inch. A blade with fewer teeth hangs up, binds, or even breaks (Figure 2-2). Put the blade in the hacksaw frame (with the teeth pointing forward) so that the teeth cut when you push the saw forward. Place the pipe in the vise so that there is ample room between the vise and the cut. This lets you saw without hitting your hands on the vise and allows enough room for threading purposes after the cut is made. Remember, let the saw work for you, do not force it. Use a steady forward cutting stroke with light to medium pressure.

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Figure 2-2. Hacksaw blades

To use a pipe cutter, place the conduit in the vise as described above for cutting with a hacksaw. Put the cutter over the conduit and adjust it until the cutting wheel makes contact at the point of the cut (Figure 2-3).

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Figure 2-3. Pipe cutter

Tighten the cutter just enough to score the pipe on the first turn. Then, screw the handle in about one-fourth of a turn for each turn around the conduit until the cut is complete. Cutting oil can be used to ease the cutting action. Rigid-steel conduit is cut the same way.

EMT and PVC conduit should be cut with a hacksaw because pipe cutters may flatten the end of the pipe. Pipe cutters also leave a ridge on the inside of the pipe that is very hard to remove. There are tubing cutters made specifically for cutting EMT or PVC (Figure 2-4), but be sure you have the correct cutter for the job. As stated before, when cutting conduit with a hacksaw or tubing cutter, using the vise will make the job much easier. The tubing cutter is used the same way as the pipe cutter.

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Figure 2-4. Tubing cutter

Flexible metallic and nonmetallic conduit should also be cut with a hacksaw at a 90 angle. Cutting any type of conduit leaves a sharp edge or burrs on the inside of it that must be removed by reaming.

To ream rigid-steel conduit, use the reamer shown in Figure 2-5. A rat-tail file does a good job on any type of conduit. Use pliers, such as needle-nose or side-cutting pliers, to ream EMT that has been cut with a hacksaw. The important thing is to remove any sharp edge or burrs inside the conduit that might cut the insulation when the conductors are pulled into it.

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Figure 2-5. Reaming tools

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David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015