E. Recommended Cutting Tools

 

  Equipment Options Cutting Blade
Internal Circular Cutouts Drill Press (preferred) Bi-metal hole saw with pilot drill (i.e. Lennox or Starrett)
Hand-held drill (speed approx. 125 rpm) Bi-metal 14 tooth, ½" wide x 0.034" thick blade (reciprocating saw)
Reciprocating saw
Internal Square/Rect. Cutouts Hand-held drill for pilot hole and reciprocating saw for cutting hole Bi-metal 14 tooth, ½" wide x 0.034" thick blade
External Cutouts Bandsaw (Rockwell model # 28-300 or Powermatic model 143 or MA615 mobile (20 amp service required - speed approx. 450 ft/min Bi-metal 14 tooth, ½" wide x 0.034" thick blade
Reciprocating saw

 

Recommended Cutout Sizes:

 

The largest recommended cutout size in the access floor panel shall be no more than 15" x 15" (or other shapes with an area no greater than 225 in.2). Large cutouts should be no closer than 3" from the edge. This allows sufficient room to accommodate additional support pedestals required to reinforce the panel's design load capacity.

 

What is the best tool for our project?

Band-saws offer fast and accurate cutting but are more cumbersome to transport but ideal for large projects. Jigsaws are easy to use, portable and affordable for small projects.

How to Cut Raised Floor Systems

Cutting into raised floor systems to install a cable cutout requires basic carpentry skills and the ability to use multiple measuring devices. You will need safety equipment including work gloves, ear plugs, sleeve protectors, safety glasses and full-face shields. 

Panels with a cutout extending to the edge of the panel may be cut with a bandsaw, and Tate, the world leader in raised floor systems, recommends creating a cutout at least 3 inches away from the edges of the floor tile to maintain structural integrity. If you're creating cutouts inside the perimeter of the panel, you may use a heavy-duty hand-held reciprocating saw with bi-metal saw blades that have approximately 14 teeth per inch. 

While preparing a cutout plan, make sure you can accommodate the locations of the cables existing each rack or node. Next, cut a cable hole in the raised floor tile within 6" to 21.5" wide and 6" to 17" deep to accommodate the cables you need to route. The hole you cut must be sized precisely, as a hole too large will weaken the raised floor tile and allow excessive cooling loss, while a hole too small will need to be enlarged, delaying the installation. 

Computer floor tiles with a cable hole should also have pedestal support if they are weight-bearing to maintain structural integrity, and the location of the hole should be adjusted to avoid pedestals and stringers. 

Once cable cutouts are created in raised floor systems, owners have a few options to stop cold air loss and save energy. One option is PolarDAM foam, which prevents bypass air and recirculation by filling gaps. This self-forming foam conforms to any area, and it's ideal for filling cable cutouts after cables and hoses have been routed. A variety of grommets may also be installed in existing cut-outs with edge protection to prevent air loss. 

Remember: whenever computer floor tiles are cut, they lose structural integrity. It's very important to have a plan in mind before cutting into raised floor systems, and this plan should allow for flexibility of the system. If done correctly, it can maximize the lifespan of the floor system. Cutting into a floor system too much is a lot like turning the floor into Swiss cheese; plan carefully and be strategic to avoid mistakes.  

 

Cutout Sizes

ROUND CUTS

Round or grommet cutouts can be made with a hole saw up to 6" in diameter. A drill press is recommended for this operation. Use a very slow speed heavy duty drill with a bi-metal cutting hole saw blade. If you use a hand-held drill, pre-drill a hole at the center of the cutout location. For round holes larger than 6", lay out the circle on the panel. Drill one entry hole along the edge of the circle just inside of the line and cut out the panel with a reciprocating saw, and deburr all sharp edges.

 

RECTANGULAR CUTOUTS – EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL

Panels with cutouts extending to the edge of the panel can be cut with a bandsaw. Tate recommends that a cutout be at least 3 inches away from the edges of the panel in order to maintain a reasonable degree of structural integrity for the panel. Cutouts inside the perimeter of the panel can be cut with a heavy-duty hand-held reciprocating saw. Use bi-metal saw blades with approximately 14 teeth per inch for this. (Cutout sizes for Tate accessories are shown in Figure #15). Follow these steps for making your rectangular inside cutout:

  • Lay out the cutout on the panel. (see Figure #16)
  • Drill pilot holes in two opposite corners. Be sure holes are large enough for the saw blade to pass through without binding.
  • Cut out the hole.
  • Deburr all cutouts made for grills or electrical boxes where no trim will be used.