It’s common to see a portable machine tool operator applying liquid coolant to the cut track while cold cutting or beveling pipe. The process of cold-cutting metal with rotating equipment generates a considerable amount of heat.
The heat produced by a tool bit is concentrated along the cutting edge, and can have a significant impact on tool bit life. Heat also can cause a condition called Built Up Edge (BUE) where melted parent material fuses to the bit edge, which affects the bit’s ability to get under the chip, causing a slower, rougher cut.
It is important to note that all of our tool bits are designed for dry cutting. Nevertheless, infinite variations in material types, parent metal hardness, tool bit geometries, and faster cutting head speeds can lead to conditions where the operator may need to cool the cut by applying a coolant. Many times, this is indicated by the condition of the cutting chip such as unexpected discoloring or by the appearance of the tool bit path.
Appropriate coolants for use when cold cutting pipe range from commercially produced cutting fluids, simple demineralized water, or even water containing a few drops of regular dish-washing liquid. Knowing what to use and when it is needed is often something an operator gains from experience, but as usual, you can always call Tri Tool for help in making the best cuts possible.