Track Cutters

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February 7, 2013 8:49 AM

What do you use to cut O scale track nice and flush?

 

 
 
 
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February 7, 2013 9:07 AM

When I need to cut rail that hasn't been spiked down yet I use a Dremel with a fibreglass reinforced cutoff wheel, or if I am cutting sectional track close to the end of a section.  If the rail is spiked down already or if it is sectional track and the cut is further in from the ends I use a Jewelers saw.  Just depends on the situation.

 

    Chris

 

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Last edited by N&W Class J February 7, 2013 9:13 AM
 
 
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February 7, 2013 9:13 AM

I use a band saw and a very fine file.

 

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February 7, 2013 2:59 PM

I use Xuron flush cuts, the big pair.  it will deform one side but the other will be flat.  I have used them to shave less than a 32nd of an inch off of code 148 rail.  If the track is laid, what Chris said.

 

 Ken the guy from AR

Modeling the Rock Island something like the Arkansas Division

 
 
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February 7, 2013 9:45 PM

I use the angle head with the EZ change chuck.  I try to cut up from the bottom when ever possible.  Worn cutters are good for close  work.  Set up on a hanger or in a sliding tray you can just buzz around the layout laying flex track.  ttDremel Rotary Right Angle

 




Last edited by Tom Tee February 7, 2013 9:58 PM
 
 
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February 7, 2013 11:23 PM

Originally Posted by Ken the guy from AR:

I use Xuron flush cuts, the big pair.  it will deform one side but the other will be flat.  I have used them to shave less than a 32nd of an inch off of code 148 rail.  If the track is laid, what Chris said.

 

How big are they? About how long? Thanks.

 
 
 
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February 8, 2013 10:37 AM

They are about 6 inches long with the orange handles.  I purchased them from Micromark.

 

Ken

 

 Ken the guy from AR

Modeling the Rock Island something like the Arkansas Division

Last edited by OGR Ad Man August 28, 2014 8:24 AM
 
 
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February 13, 2013 5:13 PM

I use these, from techni-tool, even on code 148 rail, only cut top to bottom not side to side.

They give a nice, flush cut on non-ferrous metals (do not use on steel rail)

 

 
Jim Scorse
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February 13, 2013 5:48 PM

I use a pair of these:

 

 

Right through code 125 or code 148, or a 16 penny common nail.

 

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August 17, 2014 3:14 PM

I see that this thread is over a year old, but I still have the same question.  I am cutting MTH ScaleTrax which mics out at .190 or code 190 rail.  I'm using the Xuron 2157B cutters.  The ScaleTrax does tax these cutters, but they do work with a little extra effort.

 

Jim, you stated "I use these, from techi-tool, even on code 148 rail, only cut top to bottom not side to side.  They give a nice, flush cut on non-ferrous metals (do not use on steel rail)."

 

 

How do you think the Crescent cutters will work on code 190 rail?

 

Bob

 
Last edited by OGR Ad Man August 28, 2014 8:26 AM
 
 
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August 17, 2014 3:26 PM

Why not purchase one of those nice small cut-off saws (actually a cut-off disc for metal work) from Harbor Freight?

 
 
 
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August 17, 2014 4:03 PM

I use a powered Miter Saw.

 

With a Diablo Metal Cut-off Disc. • Not shown in photo

 

Place track against the fence and get a perfectly squared cut, every time, for curved track follow the same procedures. File if needed.

 

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August 17, 2014 4:26 PM

The easiest way is to use a Dremel rotary tool with a 2 foot flexible extension and a cutoff disc.  You can cut totally vertical if you have the eye for it.  Dress up the end with a small file and you are finished.  It doesn't matter if the rail is laid or loose.  Wear eye protection at all times.

Ed

 

 
 
 
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August 17, 2014 4:39 PM

Posted by Ed:

The easiest way is to use a Dremel rotary tool with a 2 foot flexible extension and a cutoff disc.  You can cut totally vertical if you have the eye for it.  Dress up the end with a small file and you are finished.  It doesn't matter if the rail is laid or loose.  Wear eye protection at all times.

Ed

 

Hands down the best way to cut rail.  Simple, clean, fast and no deformation.  Be certain to get the two foot extension so you have better angles.  I have cut dozens of pieces with this tool. And, you have the ability to cut different lengths for each rail for custom fits.  (No two pieces of track have the same lengths on all three rails.  No more running out to the band saw and "hacking" away with a saw.  Find it right in your local Home depot and be sure to get the Dremel EZ Lock metal cutting disks (EZ456).  With a flip of the lock you can replace disks in seconds.

 

Wood

 

 
 
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August 17, 2014 7:46 PM

Ditto Ed, flex shaft or 90 degree head.  Love them both.  EZ mount for outright cutting of  rail lengths.  Thin old fashioned standard mount disks for cutting electrical gaps.  You get a narrower gap that way.

 

Have done a lot of Atlas 2 and 3 rail, MTH both styles and GG.  Have not even touched tubular track in five decades.

 




 
 
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August 17, 2014 8:53 PM

Depending on the rail hardness, code 190 solid rail might be pushing it the Crescent Cutters.  If you can find a pair of the same size cutters made by Klein Tools I think their extra strength would be enough.

 

I don't think Klein makes 7 inch cutters any more.

 
Jim Scorse
 
 
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August 18, 2014 2:27 PM

 

I use a Dremel abrasive cutoff disc (not a wheel),  followed by a fine pattern file to square off the cut and remove burrs.

 

Then I have a beer. 

 

Rip Track

 

 

 
Last edited by Rip Track August 20, 2014 4:47 PM
 
 
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August 18, 2014 4:19 PM

Dremel.

 

Check out MY WEB SITE

LCCA#38963

 
 
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August 25, 2014 11:45 AM

Jim, are these the cutters you are making reference to?

 

Bob

 
 
 
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August 25, 2014 4:09 PM

Bob, those look to be cable cutters. They will crush the rail.  You are looking for flush cutting diagonal pliers.  7 or 8 inches long would be apropriate.
 
Jim Scorse
 
 
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August 25, 2014 4:17 PM

Just a note:

 

This is the 2-rail forum. But, some recommendations being made are for 3-rail track. These are overkill in the 2-rail world. On the other hand, some of the cutters recommended are great for solid rail up to about code 148, but not the larger and sometimes hollow 3-rail track.

 

Jim

 

 
 
 
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August 26, 2014 3:21 PM

Originally Posted by Jim Scorse:
Bob, those look to be cable cutters. They will crush the rail.  You are looking for flush cutting diagonal pliers.  7 or 8 inches long would be apropriate.

Thank you Jim.  I appreciate your input.

 
 
 
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August 26, 2014 4:42 PM

My preferred too for cutting rail is a #409 cutoff wheel in a Dremel tool - always while wearing close fitting eye protection.  For convenience I use a  rechargeable battery powered model.  I find a "portable" drill press vice handy to hold the rail/ track piece rock steady while making cuts as it frees up a second hand to steady the Dremel tool.  I also use the cutoff wheel to gap the rail where required.  To prevent later closure I fill the gap with .005" styrene epoxied in place and filed to rail contour.  With 2400' of track and over 100 hand laid turnouts down the Dremel has proven to be a very useful tool.

 

Ed Rappe 

 
Last edited by Keystoned Ed August 26, 2014 4:57 PM
 
 
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August 26, 2014 7:10 PM

I agree eye protection is essential. However, beware of an issue when using safety glasses / goggles.

 

Many years ago I finished cutting some sheet metal using safety goggles. After I removed them I felt a stinging in my eye which our company quack diagnosed  as an infection. After some days of no improvement I went to see someone else at an eye clinic who removed a relatively large piece of metal from my eye.

 

The lesson is to exercise caution when removing safety glasses. If they are made of a plastic material metal shavings may stick to them and subsequently end up in your eye. I learned to keep my eyes closed when removing eye protection.

 
 
 
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August 27, 2014 8:07 AM

Originally Posted by rheil:
The lesson is to exercise caution when removing safety glasses. If they are made of a plastic material metal shavings may stick to them and subsequently end up in your eye. I learned to keep my eyes closed when removing eye protection.

Good information! 

 

I've seen that on my glasses where metal "dust" coats sections due to static charges - hard to remove w/o scratching them as well at times

 

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August 27, 2014 8:12 AM

Proxxon Mini Chop Miter Saw for Hobby Use

 

available from micro-mark; this allows infinite angle cuts as well. note that

blade shown is not the abrasive blade I use.

 

AlanHN

Last edited by AlanRail August 27, 2014 8:14 AM
 
 
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August 27, 2014 9:32 AM

I bought a Klien flush cutting plier from McMaster-Carr.

 

Larry

 
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August 27, 2014 9:35 AM

Originally Posted by AlanRail:

Proxxon Mini Chop Miter Saw for Hobby Use

 

available from micro-mark; this allows infinite angle cuts as well. note that

blade shown is not the abrasive blade I use.

Looks like you could get one for ~$200 +/- a bit.  Little over a 3" blade.....

 

Neat toy - might have to find a place in the shop for one of these!!! 

 

I don’t always talk to Art and Literature students, but when I do, I tell them a Big Mac with no onions.

Last edited by mwb August 27, 2014 11:26 AM
 
 
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August 27, 2014 11:10 AM

 

Using a Dremel cutoff wheel means you have to grind your way through the rail, which is time-consuming.

 

I prefer to use the Dremel disc, which lets you slice throuh the rail, which is much fasster!

 

RIP TRACK

 

001

 
Last edited by Rip Track August 27, 2014 12:18 PM
 
 
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August 27, 2014 11:43 AM

Originally Posted by LLKJR:

I bought a Klien flush cutting plier from McMaster-Carr.

 

Larry

 

Works for me.

And did you drink your Ovaltine?

 
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August 27, 2014 2:03 PM

Originally Posted by Rip Track:

 

Using a Dremel cutoff wheel means you have to grind your way through the rail, which is time-consuming.

 

I prefer to use the Dremel disc, which lets you slice throuh the rail, which is much fasster!

 

RIP TRACK

 

 

Hal,  Dremel refers to the (discs) as Cut-off wheels.

 

    Chris

 

Help support the Restoration, Operation and Preservation of N&W Class J 611

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August 28, 2014 4:14 PM

Originally Posted by LLKJR:

I bought a Klien flush cutting plier from McMaster-Carr.

 

Larry

Larry, do you have the part number for the cutters so I can look them up.

 

Bob

 
 
 
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August 28, 2014 5:31 PM

Hal said,

"Using a Dremel cutoff wheel means you have to grind your way through the rail, which is time-consuming."

I just finished "grinding" my way through code 148 steel rail and it took ten seconds at the most.  After the cut, the rail end took only a minimal number of file strokes to be ready for a rail joiner.  I used a Dremel cutoff wheel, #409, on a flexible shaft.

Ed

 

 

 
 
 
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August 28, 2014 7:02 PM

By hand. At least 20 tooth per inch hacksaw blade.

 
 
 
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August 28, 2014 7:13 PM

Originally Posted by Ed Kelly:

Hal said,

"Using a Dremel cutoff wheel means you have to grind your way through the rail, which is time-consuming."

I just finished "grinding" my way through code 148 steel rail and it took ten seconds at the most.  After the cut, the rail end took only a minimal number of file strokes to be ready for a rail joiner.  I used a Dremel cutoff wheel, #409, on a flexible shaft.

Ed

 

 

Ed,

 

For some folks, 10 seconds is just probably an eternity....in the instant gratification universe. 

 

I'm surprised that Hal just doesn't bite through the rails neatly and put it into place...

 

I don’t always talk to Art and Literature students, but when I do, I tell them a Big Mac with no onions.

 
 
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August 28, 2014 8:26 PM

Dremel tool and reinforced fiberglass cutoff wheel used to cut Gargrave steel Phantom rail, for cutting isolation joints on mounted rail I use an Excel or Zona saw  

 
 
 
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August 28, 2014 11:14 PM

 

I wouldn't want to damage my dentures, Martin.

 

Rip Track

 
 
 
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August 28, 2014 11:24 PM

Originally Posted by Ed Kelly:

I just finished "grinding" my way through code 148 steel rail and it took ten seconds at the most.  After the cut, the rail end took only a minimal number of file strokes to be ready for a rail joiner.  I used a Dremel cutoff wheel, #409, on a flexible shaft.

Ed

 

 

That's what I did on all of my hand laid track and 25+ switches...I love it...a nice clean,quick cut with as you said a couple strokes with a file to smooth it up.  Now...back to more track laying....  

 

    Chris

 

Help support the Restoration, Operation and Preservation of N&W Class J 611

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August 29, 2014 11:21 AM

Originally Posted by Jim Scorse:
Originally Posted by LLKJR:

I bought a Klien flush cutting plier from McMaster-Carr.

 

Larry

 

Works for me.

And did you drink your Ovaltine?

 

Congrats Jim,

 

You are the first to decode the binary message.  That is a great movie!.  The Klien cutters work great.

 

Larry

 
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August 29, 2014 11:37 AM

Originally Posted by Erie Bob:
Originally Posted by LLKJR:

I bought a Klien flush cutting plier from McMaster-Carr.

 

Larry

Larry, do you have the part number for the cutters so I can look them up.

 

Bob

 

 

I believe the item number was 3706A89 

 

Larry

 
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