Please click the small photos for a closer look

A really safe and clean way to     
Cut a Thin Wall Tube
© Frank Ford, 2008; Photos by FF 

This week I've been duking it out with an old light fixture that had been converted from European sockets to American ones a long time ago.  For reasons I can't explain, the sockets were of different diameter, and the bases were brazed to the fixture, so I had to replace only the tubular section of the socket.  Three of the four fit normally, but the central one was about 1/8" larger in diameter.  I found a mating piece at the electric shop down the street, but it was made for a dimmer unit, and the tube was too long for my use.

Here's how I cut it down.

There's no way the CFL would fit into the new socket tube on the right - I'd have to cut it to match the short one:

I chucked up a piece of scrap aluminum and turned it to slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the tube.  Then, I reversed the piece in the chuck and turned the larger diameter to be a nice fit inside the tube. 

First I turned a short section:

Trial fitting it to make sure the diameter was about right:

Then, leaving the cross slide in the same position, I finished the diameter and slipped the tube right over it:

I next moved the entire assembly back in the chuck and tightened down on the end of the brass (plated) tube:

With my skinniest parting tool, I simply cut the tube to length:

The chuck held the tube solidly and the aluminum insert made a nice backing for when I cut through the tube:

See?  Safe, easy, and neat as  you please:

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