Notching tubing when fabricating - who/what/where/how/pics - all of that

UR_Mawm69

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Apr 13, 2022
Messages
237
Ok, this thread is just going to be for notching help / pics / ideas / just everything. Steve-to the-E / Wall-to the-E said he'll move the thread after they make an appropriate sub-thread for fabrication stuff.

Honestly, I WISH I would of made this thread or someone else did back when I was constantly building shit and fabricating (not doing gay yoga shit, like now).

I always look at build threads, like Tommy's I was just looking at, and see all your copes/joints and think HOW THE FUCK DO YOU GET THEM SO CLEAN AND PERFECT for the weld your going to do?!?!?!? If i made notches that perfect, my welds would look tittyrific as well!!!!!!!

Now....... I say unfortunately now, but back when my cousin had initially taught me how to cut/notch tubing/build things, it made everything go by MUCH FASTER and I wasn't trying to make titty perfect welds and whatnot. He showed my how to notch a tube for a 90* perpendicular joint, with the chop saw. Just take the one side of the clamp on the saw, completely off so that I can hold the tube at any angle. Just hold on tight, and press the saw down SLOW. Because then it left a little flared bevel to fill with the weld. It didn't leave the gap missing/a flat/flush joint to weld onto, which ending up with a raised/booger weld, so to say.
(idk if this is making fucking sense but idk how to explain it, or anything for that matter anymore. hah)

He showed my to hold it in the chop saw a little angled this way/that way for a deeper notch hear on this side and not so deep on the opposite side. Then i can do a 45* joint with the tubes. Just clean it up with a flap wheel after, to make it fit flushER.

So that's how I've notched 99* of every fucking tube i've used to build something in the past 15 years. I'm pretty sure i've used a notcher here and there or tried this one, tried that one, I've even used the $50k one that SDHQ had in their shop one of the like 4 or 5 times I've worked(hah) there before. Which did end up with a perfect notch, just burnt the fuck out of that end of the tube. blah blah blah.




soooooooooooooo.................. how is everyone notching their tubes / what are you using / what stories do you have about ALMOST cutting your fingys off maybe (like me in the chop saw)

Pics are from Tommy's 4x4 ttb 69 f100, or whatever, thread just because there's a lot of reading. so im rewarding you fucks with some cool pics. haha..........

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SaltyMethods

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Apr 14, 2022
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37
Location
San Diego, CA
Buy notcher. Used said notcher a few times. Realized said notcher was way more work than it needed to be. Put said notcher back in the box. Pulled out angle grinder. Now use said angle grinder for 99% of notching.

I would rather burn through grinding discs and flappers than burn through my hole saw constantly re-cutting the same tube.
 

michael_gonzalez

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Apr 1, 2022
Messages
121
I've always used my dad's homemade tube notcher. Billet aluminum from the 80s that he had machined for him.
The key to making the holesaws last is buying good ones, and using the right speed/pressure.

I pretty much only use angle grinder when its a really shallow/deep notch that can't be holesawed.
 

85Yota

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Apr 5, 2022
Messages
255
Ok notching takes lots of practice. The single tube at an angle into a single tube is fairly easy. I just line up ends of the tube where I want it to land. Then draw the depth of the tube it's landing onto on the tube to notch. Then I use my baileigh TN-250 notcher and line up the edge of the hole saw at the angle and depth. Then notch it. Now when it's off since its almost never perfect first try I use a grinder and flap disc to tune in the angle. BUT now I have an ameribrade with the small wheels so I use that to find tune the angles to perfection, or close enough to get a good solid weld without major gapage. Since I have the ameribrade now I find myself using the small wheel attachment a lot for everything but single angled notches like a 40 deg or so. On those I mark my depth of the notches then I use my swag table with portaband or cutoff wheel to get the angles close, like if you were chop saw notching it. Then get the angles perfect with the ameribrade. Before that I would also notch the 2 angle depths and then use my TN-250 Notcher to do the 2 angles. I'll have to make a quick video on this since I've been doing it like this for years and always had great luck with it. It's hard to explain with only text so I'll do a video for everyone to hopefully not be as confused then.
 

michael_gonzalez

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Joined
Apr 1, 2022
Messages
121
Ok notching takes lots of practice. The single tube at an angle into a single tube is fairly easy. I just line up ends of the tube where I want it to land. Then draw the depth of the tube it's landing onto on the tube to notch. Then I use my baileigh TN-250 notcher and line up the edge of the hole saw at the angle and depth. Then notch it. Now when it's off since its almost never perfect first try I use a grinder and flap disc to tune in the angle. BUT now I have an ameribrade with the small wheels so I use that to find tune the angles to perfection, or close enough to get a good solid weld without major gapage. Since I have the ameribrade now I find myself using the small wheel attachment a lot for everything but single angled notches like a 40 deg or so. On those I mark my depth of the notches then I use my swag table with portaband or cutoff wheel to get the angles close, like if you were chop saw notching it. Then get the angles perfect with the ameribrade. Before that I would also notch the 2 angle depths and then use my TN-250 Notcher to do the 2 angles. I'll have to make a quick video on this since I've been doing it like this for years and always had great luck with it. It's hard to explain with only text so I'll do a video for everyone to hopefully not be as confused then.
Video would be titties!
 

mobil1syn

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Joined
Apr 9, 2022
Messages
68
lots of screwed up notches is how you get good. it takes practice to learn to visualize the notch. you can have all the fancy tools, but you dont understand how the legos fit together it dont matter. starting out you will screw things up, just put them aside because you never know when you can reuse them.

first truck i build a truck with the chop saw method, even worked at a shop that did a decent amount of fab and that was the main method.

recent built/help a buddy build his cage at my house. bought a notcher and it worked ok for the simple stuff but i would still revert to the chop saw/cutoff wheel and flapper wheel for the more complex stuff. i cut stuff dry because lube makes a giant mess, then you got to clean it off the tube. i have a pile of hole saws that i knew where going to get destroyed.

if i ever get a decent compressor i will be adding a barrel sander to the mix as ive see guys get down on the fine tuning with those.
 

theycallmeWALLY

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Mar 30, 2022
Messages
808
Angle Grinder is everyone's best friend. With that said I first bought the Harbor Freight notcher that wasn't worth a tit.... Ended up buying a used JD Squared and I feel like it's worth the money.

JD Squared Tube Notcher

Totally forgot what I paid for it. I like using the big wrist breaker from HB Freight with it. Because it's so heavy and has way to much torque I feel that I'm able to manage it all better at a lower feed/torque rate if that makes sense. It's that or using my 20v drill at full kill.
 

Motiracer38

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Apr 27, 2022
Messages
34
I use a harbor freight notcher for most notches and am on my second one in 20 years. The key is to mount it in a drill press so that the hole saw lasts longer. I've been wanting to get a stiffer one but most reasonably priced ones aren't meant for drill press use.
 

GahnRacing

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Apr 4, 2022
Messages
178
You just need to know how to use notchers.. the sketchy’r the better.1DE1C417-190B-4E88-9090-8E019A014C14.jpeg02FBFF9E-A57A-4243-B132-5A0BCBF8CF0C.jpeg
I just use them to take the majority of material off and give myself a baseline to start the notch. Then finish them off with an angle grinder.
 

charlie brown

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Apr 4, 2022
Messages
74
@GahnRacing thats about what i also end up doing. my off brand notcher always off center the same way every time, every size. not sure way. my hole saw comes loose half way through every time. and my drill twist me up most of the time.

i would prefer using my cordless drill so i can set the clutch to save my wrist. when will they make the plug in drills with a clutch??

last front end rebuild i did, i watch a video youtube on 4" grinder notching and it was great for getting great notches.
 

charlie brown

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Apr 4, 2022
Messages
74
i have had a few "good" notches. i dont like using it. always chatters, comes loose, broken teeth, twist my wrists.

when i was remaking my front cage, i watch a video of a guy using a chop saw. best video i have seen. it saved me so much time and material.

i will look for the video and post it.
 

Giant Geoff

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Oct 28, 2022
Messages
36
Location
Costa Mesa
I have been fabing for 30 years and have used every notcher out there and a chopsaw and Burr King is my go to for ease and speed.

Before I got a Burger King I learn to do it with a hand grinder. With other notchers machines, it’s hard to come back and change the rotation/timing where I can adjust that with my clean up if I need to rotate it more.

You look at a notch as three flat spots and just some basic cleanup, 2 45° cuts on each side that is a cut off of each side and massage to fit. Great thing about a Chopsaw is you can get extreme angled notches by putting the tube in there at the needed angle to cut the majority first and then just fish mouth each end.
 

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85Yota

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Apr 5, 2022
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255
For for my personal first 2 race trucks and 4 customer Backhalfs and cages I used my chop saw, sawzall, and hand grinder. Now I have an Ameribrade with small wheels it makes cleanup for chop saw cut tubes super easy, fast and accurate
 

marcytech

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Apr 6, 2022
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Im with maitai. i LOVE my harbor freight notcher. been using the same one through the silverado build and ranger build. 90% of tubes get notched with it, then cleaned up/ beveled with a flap disc.
i use it in a vise with a drill attached to it. milwaukee hole dozer holesaws rip...i probably used 3-4 for my entire back half of my ranger.

main thing is to shim up the tube clamp...its always off center- no big deal
 

84projectFORD

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Apr 1, 2022
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Now I have an Ameribrade with small wheels it makes cleanup for chop saw cut tubes super easy, fast and accurate
Same. not as fast as the belt coping machine i used many years ago but damn good and way faster than hitting with the angle grinder. my JD2 notcher just sits on my bench now...
 

85Yota

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Apr 5, 2022
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I had a harbor freight Notcher I used for quite a few years and builds. The bushing closest to the hole saw end would walk out when using it fairly often. A set screw I threaded into the housing held it in place but I got employee discount on the baileigh notcher tn 250 so couldn't beat the heavily discounted tool. I use it now and then for straight single notches that are straight or a known angle.
 

84projectFORD

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Apr 1, 2022
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Heres a question:

How many of you ACTUALLY calculate the angle of the cut? im willing to bet, its only 1% of fabbers that actually do that. i sure as heck dont.
 

UR_Mawm69

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Apr 13, 2022
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Heres a question:

How many of you ACTUALLY calculate the angle of the cut? im willing to bet, its only 1% of fabbers that actually do that. i sure as heck dont.
I dont calculate the angles. fuck that.
i do calculate something else tho...........................
 
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85Yota

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Apr 5, 2022
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I draw the line for the depth of the notch at angle of tube. Then I line up the hole saw edge on that line and run it into the tube. I sometimes measure the angle of that line I draw and set Notcher at that angle but very rarely
 
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