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Anyone have some tips on ways to speed up dressing the end of Gargraves track cutoff with a mini chop saw?

I have the Harbor Freight one plus a combination belt / disc sander.

Despite that I end up having to use a jewelers file and a fine jewelers needle nose plier and sandpaper to clean it up.

I have tried Dremel wire brush wheels, but they don't get the flashing and the burrs off unless there is a special one I am unaware of.

There is always the possibility that I am just being impatient.

John

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I would suggest trying a very fine tooth hobby saw (hand held), non powered to actually cut the steel of the track.  Since the teeth are slowly abrading away the steel, there should be no flash to clean up.  Anyone ever tried this, and have a saw they like for this task?  If using a hacksaw blade, I would use at least a 32 teeth per inch. Problem with a hacksaw blade is that the are wavy, and cut with a wider kerf.  I don't know if they come any finer than this, but hobby blades should be available with more teeth per inch.

Yes, maybe a different cutoff wheel for the saw is worth a try.  I bought the HF saw and Rikon sander based upon forum member suggestions HERE and I really like both of them.

I may try another 6" cutoff wheel just for the heck of it as some of you have suggested.  Otherwise the jewelers file method is fine for the burrs and flashing..............OK, the Gargraves cutoff wheel is a 2" Gyros wheel for a Dremel.  I actually have those for mine.  I'll check the Proxxon wheel Alan suggested.

Thanks,

John

Last edited by Craftech

I think you are doing the same way we all do it. I don't put much effort into the sides. I usually go lightly around the edges with sandpaper or a needle file and give the top and insides of the rail head where the flanges contact a little more effort just to cut down on wheel wear and noise.

I use a Dremel and reinforced cutoff wheel for cutting GG/Ross, a "floppy Dremel sandpaper wheel" (not sure of the real name) for general burr cleanup and, if needed, a quick in-and-out of the "hole" using a round miniature file. It goes pretty quickly. You may also be over-cleaning the stuff. It looks worse from 2 inches away than when on the layout - it really isn't a "fine cabinet".

Don't forget the safety goggles.

I use the 1 1/2" Dremel EZ lock cutoff wheels with a flex attachment so I can get perpendicular to the track. I rarely need to dress GG but Atlas O is another story. On the Atlas cuts I drag a file across the burrs and that seems to be enough on the nickel/silver rails.

I place a small piece of plywood across the rails as a guide, when the EZ Lock hub rubs the wood I know I'm ready to begin the cut. I tap the joints closed first.

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I found that taking your time with the HF chop saw was the key to cleaner cuts.  If you are forcing it, you get a lot more clean-up.  Just take a little more time and less pressure, and gently let the blade cut slower.  The cut is much cleaner and requires less cleanup.  It took a while building my layout for me to tumble to the fact that I was creating work for myself hurrying the initial cut.

I found that taking your time with the HF chop saw was the key to cleaner cuts.  If you are forcing it, you get a lot more clean-up.  Just take a little more time and less pressure, and gently let the blade cut slower.  The cut is much cleaner and requires less cleanup.  It took a while building my layout for me to tumble to the fact that I was creating work for myself hurrying the initial cut.

John,

Are you still using the Warrior brand disc that came with it or a different brand?  It seems kind of thick.

John

I do the same as everyone else with files. The hard part is getting the pins in.

I find that if I lift the end of the piece I'm adding, so the pins are pointing down a bit, they seem to start themselves easier than if I try to push straight in before pins are started. When the pins start I push level but with a fair amount of side to side wiggling.

I find that if I lift the end of the piece I'm adding, so the pins are pointing down a bit, they seem to start themselves easier than if I try to push straight in before pins are started. When the pins start I push level but with a fair amount of side to side wiggling.

I do the same.  I slipped once and drove one of the little daggers straight into my knuckle.  Ouch !

Well, at least they don't spin like tubular track pins.  The real problem is with the Gargraves turnouts.  The center rail sections move when you push against them to get the pins in.   Not locked very tight. 

John

Last edited by Craftech
@Craftech posted:

That looks like the disk, it worked fine for cutting track as long as you use a light touch.  I can say that using the chop saw was much quicker than cutting rails one by one with a Dremel.  There were places with the fitting that happened, but if I could, I used the chop saw.

That looks like the disk, it worked fine for cutting track as long as you use a light touch.  I can say that using the chop saw was much quicker than cutting rails one by one with a Dremel.  There were places with the fitting that happened, but if I could, I used the chop saw.

John, could I bug you to provide a link to the chop saw at Harbor Freight? My search results were so varied.

I agree with Dan (Turkey Hollow RR) re the use of the Dremel flex attachment for cutting squarely.  However, I decided not to re-invent 'the wheel' re the cutting tool.  I bought Gargraves' recommended cutting wheels (Gyros 2" diameter, pkg of 2, item 93108) and the 1/8" mandrel (item 83985).  Worth every penny.  Still using the first cutting wheel after building the layout.

Also agree with Rod Miller re dressing.  10-15 seconds with a jewelers file...railhead tops, sides, faces...done.  The wheel cut is clean enough that I've never had a problem getting the rail pins inserted...steel or plastic...or the 910-4 blade connectors.

Re using the cutting wheels and the flying sparks show:  WEAR THOSE SAFETY GOGGLES, pal!!

KD

@dkdkrd posted:

I bought Gargraves' recommended cutting wheels (Gyros 2" diameter, pkg of 2, item 93108) and the 1/8" mandrel (item 83985).  Worth every penny.  Still using the first cutting wheel after building the layout.

I'm sorry I didn't see this before. HD has these in 12 packs for $21 but they have to be ordered around here. A 2" wheel is about the perfect size for cutting track with a Dremel. The 1 1/2" EZ lock discs are just big enough to catch two rails at the same time when fresh, but they get the job done well enough.

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