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Machine Shop and Tool Talk

Cutting Quartz Tube


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  #1  
Old 09-22-2017, 09:32:51 AM
AngrySailor AngrySailor is offline
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Default Cutting Quartz Tube

Has anyone done this? Being on a ship I am limited to tools available onboard but here's what I've tried (unsuccessfully)... I was able to scribe a line around the tube with a carbide cutter in a lathe, tapping the tube it doesn't break at the scribe. I then scribed again and heated the tube then plunged into cold water to the scribe line, it wont fracture. I was able to ALMOST part the tube in the lathe, but its so nasty it wears out carbide... wrapped a wire around the scribe line and heated red hot also. Trying to MacGuyver something together here but this tube is the only one close to the right diameter, I have sight glass tube, but wrong size
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:48:17 AM
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John Newman, Jr. John Newman, Jr. is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

How big is this tube (diameter)?
I was shown a technique for cutting glass tubing in my high school science class where you score one spot with a 3-corner file and it would break cleanly at that mark. Something about the stress it induces at the nick that makes it work.

I have also seen YouTube videos where people were cutting off the necks of wine bottles to make unique drinking glasses by scoring a line around the bottle with a glass cutter (the wheel kind or the diamond type). In the video they were working outside in the winter and then ran warm water over the scored line and the top half would simply pop off quite cleanly.

Good luck!
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:55:05 AM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

Quartz is a form of glass but has different qualities and composition. You may not be able to cut it like Pyrex or sight glass. Have a look on the internet or perhaps a good hardware for a diamond blade for a saw. I know they make a wire type for use in a hack saw, and a disc type for use in a 4" Makita Angle Grinder. You have to keep the work wet when cutting. I know the wire type (hacksaw blade) will cut glass bottles and sheet glass. My sister makes leaded glass panels and cuts the colored glass with her saw when she needs a specific sized piece. The blades are not as expensive as one would think.

You can find them on EBay, Amazon and other tool suppliers. You might check with ships supply and see if they have any diamond or carbide type saw blades.
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Old 09-22-2017, 11:46:26 AM
AngrySailor AngrySailor is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

Thanks guys. Yes quartz is incredibly tough... I've come close where it fractures most of the way around but also cracks longitudinally beyond the score mark. Also the piece I require is about an inch and a half long, if it were longer I bet simply flexing the tube would snap it cleanly. I've machined a piece of copper pipe to replace the glass and keep the oil in for now, just would be nice to see the level...

John, I would like to purchase those Onan parts if they're still available.

Andrew

---------- Post added at 11:46:26 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:44:27 AM ----------

oh, the tube is about 1" diameter
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:17:30 PM
akuna akuna is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

Valve lapping compound and string? They cut stone in quarrys using wire with grit.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:59:48 PM
AngrySailor AngrySailor is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

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Originally Posted by akuna View Post
Valve lapping compound and string? They cut stone in quarrys using wire with grit.
I tried this this afternoon. With the tube in the lathe and about 5 mins with 320 grit silicon carbide there was no visible effect on the tube

Thanks
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:48:44 PM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

Maybe sight glass can temporarily be an alternate material- how hot does oil get and what pressure?
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:45:08 AM
beezerbill beezerbill is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

Easiest way I can think of is with one of those diamond grit circular saw blades used for cutting tile. Has to be diamond, other grits won't work. Could put it on an arbor in your lathe spindle and fix the tube into a fixture mounted to the tool post, then feed the tube through the blade using the cross feed. Speed of the blade is not too important, just whatever you are comfortable with. A dribble of soapy water helps it cut faster. Biggest problem you might have is you might get edge chipping around the cut due to the rather coarse grit used on tile blades. You could even dress off the sharp edge around the outside of the tube piece by holding it against the rim of the blade by hand and gently rotating it around. Be sure to cover the lathe ways under the blade with rags or paper towels to keep the resulting mess from getting into the ways, and don't let the rags get caught in the spindle!

Just remembered some of the lapidary outfits have inexpensive diamond blades for sawing rocks - these have a narrower kerf and finer grit and might give a better cut.

If you have a table saw available you could just put the tile blade in that - no risk of getting quartz slop in your lathe ways. Cutting forces should be real low - you could just about feed the tube through the blade by hand but attaching it to a piece of wood or something might make it easier to handle. Let the tube overhang the end of the piece of wood - don't try to feed the wood through the diamond blade. Have someone dribble water on the blade as you cut. Not much water - just enough to keep things damp.

Last edited by beezerbill; 09-23-2017 at 11:38:40 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 09-23-2017, 01:27:55 PM
I like oldstuff I like oldstuff is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

^ He's on a ship bobbing around on the ocean somewhere. Doubtful he has a table saw. Neat idea tho.
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:10:27 PM
AngrySailor AngrySailor is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

Thanks for all the input guys, some really good ideas but as Old Stuff pointed out, I am pretty limited with what I have to work with. I also appreciate Beezers concern for the lathe but if you saw what 51 years of sailors who obviously weren't machinists have done to her you would probably cry.

Regarding the temp/pressure question that's not why I attempted to use quartz, it's only atmo and maybe 120*f lube oil. The quartz is from a UV sterilizer but happened to be the right size.

I have been unable to cut the quartz, but I did find an old battery tester which cut just as you would expect glass to cut with a score mark.

Thanks again guys!
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:10:53 PM
AngrySailor AngrySailor is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by I like oldstuff View Post
^ He's on a ship bobbing around on the ocean somewhere. Doubtful he has a table saw. Neat idea tho.
Lake Superior today. Heading to Quebec City with iron ore.
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Old 09-25-2017, 08:32:45 AM
Bubbles Bubbles is offline
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Default Re: Cutting Quartz Tube

I look after a Scientific Glassblowing Shop, we cut the Quartz tube with a wet diamond blade.
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