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Old 11-26-2011, 07:27 AM   #1
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Cutting perfect hole-furnace exhaust in skin

I am not far from intalling my new suburban furnace into my 1960 overlander. I have to cut holes for the exhaust. I have a Dremel Trio but it can be tricky keeping a perfect line when cutting. What do you suggest I use to cut the perfect hole for my suburban furnace exhaust. I would like to use a sheet metal cutter, but I have read it is only recommended for a drill press. Can they be used on a hand drill?

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Old 11-26-2011, 07:32 AM   #2
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A hole saw would be best.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:25 AM   #3
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... or hand shears. It's just aluminum, so have no fear. Cut with confidence.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:47 AM   #4
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How big of a hole and is it a perfect round hole? If so I would use a hole saw. They have a centering bit that will keep it from drifting and place the hole right where you want it.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:48 PM   #5
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If the holes are too large for hole saws, I use a tank cutter:

Tank Cutters | Buy a Tank Cutter at THESITEBOX.COM

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Old 11-26-2011, 01:01 PM   #6
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Just do it. God hates a coward. Sal.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:05 PM   #7
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They make a punch tool to install additional circuits in steel electrical boxes, basically two cups that rest on either side of metal with a threaded bolt to draw them together - drill a pilot hole, assemble cups and tighten and it cuts a perfect circle. However getting the right size may be a chore, or expensive, or both. Maybe a good tool rental shop could/would have sizes above three inches?

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS 3" PUNCH sells for $30 but I'm not sure if it includes the 3/4" arbor bolt, that maybe it is only an add-on piece to another set like the $25 1/2" to 1-1/4 manual set or the 1" to 2" hydraulic kit (HF Punch search here)

I got one of the small size kits from Greenlee on clearance ages ago and they come in handy!
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noreen View Post
Just do it. God hates a coward. Sal.
So awesome. x2
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:50 PM   #9
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Just do it. God hates a coward.
When leading a particularly difficult section on a rock climb, I used to tell myself just that sort of message.
I then always fell off.
Now I know better.

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Old 11-26-2011, 02:34 PM   #10
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A chassis punch is ideal for a clean cut, but expensive to buy. Fly cutters(tank cutters) are too radical for hand use on light materials. a sharp hole saw will work, but the drill in the center should be replaced by a plain mandrel after the pilot hole is drilled to prevent the pilot hole from elongating and enlarging as the saw cuts the outer diameter. Since the opening is covered by a trim plate anyway, you could do a careful job with a sheet metal "nibbler" tool-good to own in its own right.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:26 PM   #11
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Thanks guys for your advice. We have been very exact on everything we are doing. The trailer is looking really awesome. This one I don't want to screw up. I have used tin snips before and the dremel. I might be a little to concerned about the hole, but the trailer is looking really tight (slang for good).

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Old 11-26-2011, 04:55 PM   #12
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use hand shears. "wiss" makes them and they sell at a big box or a good hardware store. if you are right handed get the ones that leave the waste to the left of the blade. if left handed do the other. they are lefts and rights so less stress is on what you want to save. they also have a center cutter which stresses both sides. 3 colors for the handles. i am thinking red handles are for right handed use....

don

http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brand...pound%20Action
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:27 PM   #13
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Used a hole saw for mine, worked fine......Phil.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:19 AM   #14
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Absolutely use a hole saw.
If you already have a smaller, or ragged hole, drill a template in a scrap piece of plywood. Then hold the plywood firmly over the aluminum, and drill the new hole through the hole in the plywood.
The plywood will prevent the hole saw from "skidding" around and you'll get an exact circle. You might need someone to help hold the plywood in place.
If you don't have the right sized hole-saw, go buy a set. You'll use them sooner or later. (Buy a good quality set.)
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:45 AM   #15
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I like the hole through the plywood. I think I will try that.

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Old 11-27-2011, 04:52 AM   #16
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Im sure youll do a neater job than the factory did on the holes for the sewer vents. Sal.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:03 PM   #17
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drill a hole center and spiral out with snips. red counter clockwise or green clockwise. hole saw will leave a jagged cut and could jump. snips are safer
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