Budget Tubing Notcher Needed... Any Recommendations?

Chris Kouba

Supporter
As part of the truck build, I have a need to do some notching. Anyone have a decent recommendation for a tubing notcher? I don't mind paying a little bit for a decent one but the reality is I probably only need it for this project.

I see horriblefright has them for cheap, Summit and JEGS have them for a little more.... but they all look fairly the same, and none of them seem to have bearings in the arbor.

Let's discuss....
 

Brian Kissel

Lifetime Supporter
Chris, Years ago a buddy of mine designed and developed the RTN 1000. I spent 3 full days one year at the PRI show demonstrating that unit. I made 100’s of cuts in those 3 days. I cut several different diameter tubes. The cutters were nothing special and neither was the drill. Even using the cheap hole saws, the cuts were accurate and the saws were still in great shape. After the demonstrations I personally took the unit apart and checked for wear. Using a go no go tool, proved virtually zero wear. I have had the opportunity since then to test some of the less expensive ones offered by others and while ok when new, they got sloppy after extended use. I am not connected to the manufacturer of that notcher, and I think my buddy sold the rights to it. Last I knew, Summit still was selling them. They were anodized purple and held up nicely. Not a lot of help I’m sure, but that’s my experience. I think Mitler Brothers still offers a really high dollar one for around $5000.00. But if you only have a few hundred cuts to b make, I could highly recommend the RTN 1000.

Regards Brian
 

Brian Kissel

Lifetime Supporter
Chris, As a follow up, it appears that the RTN1000 isn't offered anymore. However this one by Baileigh looks to be the same construction and build quality. If it holds up as well as the previously mentioned one, that is the one I'd buy currently. Hopefully I didn't mislead you too much.


Regards Brian
 
I have an Ol' Joint Jigger which I think is the RTN1000 unit Brian mentioned above. I bought it 20+ years ago when starting on my Ferrari 250 GTO chassis. The whole chassis is tube and I used this tool and a couple of regular hole saws for the notching on the entire chassis. It worked flawlessly and still does today. The arbor actually uses brass bushings which is what you want. The only short coming is that it only notches on center but it's rare that I've actually needed an off center notch. I'd guess the Summit, Jegs and other copies are of this unit. The key thing would be to find one that has no play in the arbor bushings.
 

Neil

Supporter
Harbor Freight has a tubing notcher that works OK but I had to shim it to get it aligned properly. An important note is to use quality hole saws- DeWalt, etc. Forget the El Cheapo ones!
 

Brian Kissel

Lifetime Supporter
Unfortunately the cheap ones like Neil is pointing you to is the exact thing I was trying to warn you about above. Junk notchers frequently have to be reworked to work adequately with a high quality hole saw cutter. A excellent quality notcher works accurately and efficiently with a run of the mill standard hole saw. I have done thousands of cuts over the years. Not only on building cars, but I helped a buddy that used notched tubing in his products. Buy a quality notcher. Buy it once and it will treat you well.

Regards Brian
 

Neil

Supporter
Brian, I'll have to disagree with you on hole saw quality. You should buy good ones regardless of which notcher you are using. A good hole saw will cut many clean holes if properly lubricated and run at a slow speed. Cheap ones get dull quickly and cut ragged holes.
 

Brian Kissel

Lifetime Supporter
Neil, I'm not going to argue with you on this, and this will be my last post about it. Like I stated, I have done thousands of cuts and can back up my statements. Not 50-100 cuts like many will do. Buy it once. !!!!

Regards Brian
 
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