If you plan on welding two pieces of pipe together, then you need to bevel your pipes. Beveling is an essential step in the preparation process of pipe joining. Proper preparation and cleaning ensure the best possible weld joint. In this article, we will tell you how to use the bevel pipe for welding.
In short, here is how to bevel pipe for welding:
- The hand grinding method
- A torch or plasma cutter
- A portable beveling machine
- A stationary beveling machine
But there’s more to just the method. You’ll need to understand what beveling is, how to do it correctly, and which method will work best for your particular project.
What is beveling?
Beveling is the process of forming an angle between the pipe and the surface it is to be welded to. Beveling is used to neaten and smooth out the ends of the tube for safety. Including this process provides aesthetically pleasing results to all welding procedures.
In simpler words, beveling is altering the shape of the pipes before welding, so they fit better. There are two ways to bevel a pipe. You can either do it by a hand grinder or use pipe beveling machines. There are also three types of angles that you can create.
- I type butt joint
- Single V bevel
- Double V or X bevel
- U bevel
- J bevel
Ways to bevel a pipe
There are four basic ways to bevel a pipe in preparation for welding.
1. Hand grinding
The cheapest way to bevel a pipe is through a hand grinder. Using a hand grinder is the least safe method of all. It is time-consuming and required skilled operations. You will not be able to produce a J bevel using a hand grinder, either.
- Creates a lot of mess
- Inconsistent bevel
- Potential safety hazard
- Fire Hazard
- Expensive grinding wheels
A hand grinder or an angle grinder is one of the most dangerous tools. You need to take extra care when using one to create a bevel. Here is a short video with tips on what not to do when using an angle grinder.
2. Torch or plasma cutter
You can use a torch or a plasma cutter to cut the angle by hand. You can even use a portable clamp-on machine to guide the flame. A torch or plasma cutter produces faster results than using a hand grinder. However, this technique has almost the same drawbacks as a hand grinder.
- Requires touchups
- Creates a lot of mess
- Fire hazard
- Can’t be used on all materials
- Requires Oxygen/Acetylene gas or Dry compressed air
Using this method, you won’t be able to create J bevels. You will also need to prepare the flat land at the end of the pipe by hand. The process is not very safe, so we advise that you be careful.
Bevels produced are also inconsistent and again need some excellent skills that you can only develop over time.
3. Portable beveling machines
A portable beveling machine is considerably safer and comes in several different configurations. A significant advantage of these machines is that they are portable. The ability to be able to take them to the pipe saves a lot of time. They also produce more consistent bevels than either of the manual techniques.
Some drawbacks of using this method are:
- Flying chips have to be contained
- Electrical cords can be a hazard
- Possible guarding issues
- Expensive custom ground tooling
Portable beveling machines are ideal for use on new construction sites or maintenance work. High-speed cutters fixed in the machine remove pieces from the pipe to form angles.
Different tools come with the machine used to produce different types of slopes. The clamps attached with the machine ensure the pipe stays in place.
4. Stationary beveling machines
Stationary pipe beveling machines offer the most diversity in terms of bevel options. They are designed to meet high production requirements. With different combinations of tools, you can create almost all bevel types.
Stationary Machines use inexpensive standard carbide cutting inserts. They are easily incorporable into automated production lines. No monitoring is required, and even a robot can operate such machines. The pipe, once inserted, does not rotate. An inbuilt drawer in the machine catches all metal shavings.
Benefits of a stationary beveling machine
- Fast -the regular cycle time is 20 seconds and under
- Inexpensive inserts
- Creates no mess
- Low Maintenance
- Easy to setup
- Lowest cost per bevel
- Covers a broad range of pipe or tube
Automated stationary machinery can perform multiple operations, such as:
- Compound J-bevels
- Compound straight angles
- ID bores for mating two different wall thicknesses
- Radius pipe ends
- Squaring up pipe ends
Choosing the right method
Choosing the right method can depend on multiple factors. Before you pick a technique, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the required quality?
- How much time is available for each pipe?
- Can the tube or pipe be brought to the machinery?
- Is the portability of the machine a necessity?
- What are the specifications of all bevel requirements?
- What is the skill level required?
- Will electricity connectivity be a problem?
- What is the skill level of the operator?
No matter what the requirements, safety always comes first. Before you decide on the method, assess all potential safety hazards on-site first. Make sure that the technique produces healthy beveling.
Some metals, when heated, produce toxic gases. Such emissions can become serious health hazards on site. Before you opt for a method and pick a spot for beveling, know which metal you are working with. Prior knowledge will help you meet all safety requirements.
Choosing the right beveling method is essential. But so is choosing the right bevel type. The most common one is the 37.5-degree bevel measure at the face of the pipe. Cutting off material at this angle creates a 75-degree angle between the two pieces of pipe. Other types of bevel include I type Butt joint, V bevel, X bevel, J bevel, and single U bevel.
I-Type butt joint
The I Type Butt joint is not precisely a beveled joint. It only requires two pieces of pipes to be parallel joined together. There are no angles needed for this joint. However, it is occasionally confused with beveled joints.
V bevels are the simplest bevel type. To create this angle, you need to remove metal at a 45-degree angle from the top to the bottom edge. When you put both the piece together, it forms a V shape, thus the name V bevel.
X bevels are similar to V bevels. In V bevels, you remove material from only one side of the pipe. In X bevels, you remove it from both sides. The angle of removal will be only half as steep as that in V bevels. When welders weld these two sides together, they create a stronger joint.
J bevels are very common, as are V bevels. The two are different, though. In a J bevel, you do not need to cut from top to bottom. A chunk of metal is left un-beveled at the weld area. A J bevel is not straight. It forms a slight curve to the bottom, forming a shape resembling the letter J.
J bevels are more challenging to create. According to professionals, J bevels offer several benefits. It forms a more uniform bonding layer. A J bevel also requires less material to fill it in as compared to V bevels.
Single U joints are the most expensive joints to produce. Their radian shape makes it hard to manage them. The single U joint requires less material than double V. It also makes for a sturdier joint.
There are other technical specifications associated with each type of bevel joint. For the best possible result, use an automated stationary beveling machine. It will save you a lot of hassle and time, and the process is also the safest out of all possible options. Many companies now automate their pipe beveling procedure.
Why companies automate pipe beveling
There are multiple benefits of automating your pipe beveling process:
- Saves time – stationary pipe beveling machines work faster. Their turnaround time per pipe is less than 20 seconds.
- They are less messy – Hand grinding, torching, and even portable beveling machines produce a lot of scrap shavings. Automated machinery has inbuilt drawers for scrap collection.
- Safe – the entire cutting process takes place in closed compartments. There are no cut pieces of metal flying around.
- Requires no skills – the machinery is so simple to use that even a child could handle it. That is, of course, inadvisable. Keep all children away from construction sites.
- Suitable for all material – it can even bevel stainless steels and other materials not suitable for torching or hand grinding.
The benefits of automated pipe beveling far outweigh those of other methods. The angle you choose will depend upon your requirement, and the method you choose will depend on many more factors. Make sure you select the best option for your project.