How to Use a Pipe Reamer

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Learn how to use a pipe reamer.

A pipe reamer is a helpful tool for machinists, plumbers and other occupations that work with pipe and metal tubing. A pipe reamer's basic job is to remove burrs from the inside of pipes or holes drilled in metal. Many pipe reamers are used manually with a T-shaped handle, and others can be mounted onto a drill for larger burrs. If you've been working on a project involving the use of pipe or you have drilled a few holes in a metal surface, a pipe reamer can help you clean up your work and make the holes smooth and free of burrs or metal shavings.


Step 1

Choose the appropriate diameter of reamer for your pipe or hole. Pipe reamers come in three different sizes and should only be used for the holes that they neatly fit into. The sizes of pipe reamers include a 1/8-inch to 1-inch, 1/4-inch to 1 1/4-inch and a 1/4-inch to 2-inch diameter.

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Step 2

Fit the pipe reamer into the hole until it fills the hole. Pipe reamers are shaped like a spike or shank, so the tip will have a smaller diameter than the base. Insert it into the hole until the reamer's diameter is flush with the diameter of the pipe.

Step 3

Depress the drill trigger or turn the T-handle clockwise to begin reaming the hole. Depending on the size of the burr, this process may take a few minutes or longer.


Ensure you wear appropriate eye protection when using a pipe reamer. Metal shavings can splinter off and end up in your eye.

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