How To Cut Steel Pipe With A Plasma Cutter Using Roller Stands

The easiest and fastest way to cut steel pipe is with a plasma cutter and a set of roller head pipe stands. This will dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to make your cuts and they will also come out very clean . Today we are going to break down what you need to put together one of your own pipe cutting rigs for cheap. For this setup you will need two rolling pipe stands as well as a stand for your plasma torch.

Here is a quick video showing the process of cutting pipe on rollers with a plasma cutter. This specific demo was done using a large scale powered rolling machine, but similar results can be achieved with manual rollers.

How Do Rolling Pipe Stands Work?

The setup is pretty simple and quick to assemble. The main idea is you are placing your steel pipe on a set of roller stands so you can rotate the pipe by hand while it sits securely on the rollers. Your plasma cutter torch will be attached to a stand that will hold it in a set position. You simply start cutting with your plasma torch as you rotate the pipe slowly by hand. Since both your pipe and your torch are being held in place with no movement, it will make a perfect cut on the rotating pipe.

Which Pipe Stands Should I Get?

Take a look at what pipe size you will be working with. If you’re working with steel pipe that is 12 inches or less you can get away with using a standard roller pipe stand. They run about $100 each. If you are working with larger pipes than we recommend you spend a bit more money and get a larger set of stands with adjustable wheels. These are typically about $200 each. This will give you a wider and more stable stance on your pipe and make it easier to turn without the stands falling over.

Steel pipe comes in all thicknesses, so be sure the weight of the pipe is withing the weight rating of the stand. Also working on a flat ground and taking all safety precautions is mandatory.

Ridgid Roller Head Pipe Stand (12 Inch Capacity)

Great pipe stand made by Ridgid here in America. This stand can support pipe up to 12 inches with two width settings. It has a limited lifetime warranty from Ridgid themselves. The stand also has height adjustments. Great stand for anyone working with pipe that is 12 inches or less.

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Sumner Adjustable Roller Head Pipe Stand

(36 Inch Capacity)

Sumner makes a good adjustable stand that can work with pipes up to 36 inches. It can hold a maximum of 2000lbs. Great stand for working with larger pipe and the adjustable rollers will allow you to get a more solid base under the pipe. This reduces the chance of the pipe moving while you rotate it. This is a little bit more expensive than the Rigid stand above, but adds more utility for large pipes. With the roller adjustments you can easily roll smaller pipes as well.

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How Many Pipe Stands Do I Need?

When working with smaller pipe you can get away with using two stands and letting the pipe hit the ground once it is cut. When you get into larger pipe you really want to have fours stand total. Two stands to hold the pipe you are cutting and two stands to support the piece that will detach from the cut. If all of the stands are adjusted correctly you will feel little to no resistance in the rollers throughout the whole cutting process. If the rollers are not adjusted snug to the pipe, the pipe itself may shift at the last small bit of the cutting process and causing an uneven cut.

What Stand Should I Use To Hold My Plasma Torch?

What’s funny is not many companies make stands specifically for holding plasma torches stationary. In our experience we have used a fully adjustable cymbol stand (one that you would find on a drum set) for our torches and they have worked great. Typically we attach the the torch to the cymbol stand using hose clamps and it has worked out perfect. You can find these stands for less than $60 online. Just be sure to adjust the legs on the bottom of the stand extra wide to support the weight of the plasma torch. They also serve multiple purposes in the shop like attaching a small clamp and using them for holding wires while we solder etc. This a DIY trick, but we find that it works really well.

PDP Fully Adjustable Cymbal Stand

This cheap cymbal stand works great for holding your plasma torch and adjusting it perfectly to the pipe. Be sure to spread the legs nice and wide to support the weight of your plasma torch.

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