I took the chance and bought a PROSES Loco Cradle never seen one before except on the internet when it arrived I liked it so much I made a tray for it to keep spare parts and tools. I have it set up for Atlas SW Loco's but it will fit any plastic loco I own The SW's I am always modifying so I will keep spare parts for those locos in the tray.

Roo

 

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Thanks Simon and Chris.

Chris. I have always used the good old mitre box and sharp Zona saws for cutting tube and beams I would not use a chopper this is my own personal view and I would welcome anyone else's opinion.

Apart from the NWSL Chopper and the Proses above there are many Styrene "Choppers" or cutters around here are three more.

I would still use a saw for beams and tube. I chose the Proses because they don't use special blades just the ordinary break off blade that can be bought anywhere. Again it's a personal thing. I would like to buy them all and try them but I don't have the money for that kind of thing I'd rather buy something for the layout. Of course if you have the time you could always make your own Chopper or guillotine. Roo.

 

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Chris, it's been a while since I cut any styrene, but I feel like I had an issue with the chopper and square cuts.  Not square in the sense of looking down in plan, but rather if you looked at the cut piece from the side.  I think there is deformation introduced from the pressure of the blade, or maybe it's simply the effect of the "kerf" at the beginning of the cut versus essentially none at the bottom of the cut?  This seems to be more pronounced as the material depth increases.

And I also wish the blade could be brought straight down on the work, rather than pivoting, so that pressure is applied equally across the face.  Years ago somebody made a chopper tool like that, I've seen it once or twice on the internet, but never in person. 

EDIT:  found them, the first is the Shay Wood Miter tool, and the second is called the Calibre Cutter.  The Calibre is based on the earlier Shay model, apparently.  They can be found via google search, or at this thread on the Atlas Rescue Forum.  It's a thread about cutters, so it might be a good read anyway.

There are a couple of other issues with the chopper to be aware of.  Not saying don't get one, just understand that they could be improved upon.  If you buy one with the wooden (masonite, maybe?) beds, know that it will eventually get nicked up pretty badly at the point where the blade pops through the work being cut.  I also found out the hard way that the threaded inserts used to screw the stops down can strip out if they are over-tightened.  On the plus side, at least the original chopper has a long bed and fence.

The Chopper II is nice because it has a cutting mat insert, which can be easily replaced, or even just turned over or rotated.  The other nice feature is that the fence is cast integrally with the bed, rather than attached to the top as on the wood bed models.  The issue is that the thinnest materials can slide underneath the fence.  I've had it happen with .005" stock.  That can't happen with the Chopper II.  Now, on the downside, the Chopper II bed is far too short in my opinion, especially when trying to use the stops for angled cuts or anything other than fairly short off-cuts.   Nev has the right idea by mounting his cutter to a base that increases the bed length.  It would be even better with a longer fence, say a metal straightedge glued or screwed in place.

Anyway, like Nev, I'd really rather saw heavier stock.  I'd also really rather have a blade that rotated in plan to achieve miter cuts, rather than angling the stock away from the fence.  

One thing to be aware of if you go for a mini chop saw like the Proxxon, is to check the position of the blade against the vise jaws, to avoid interference.  Especially if you rotate the vise for mitered cuts.  That obviously won't be an issue if you go with the mini table saw style instead.

If you want, I will go dig out my Chopper II, once I figure out where's it's currently hiding.  I can cut some styrene and snap some photos to show the results.

Hope that helps,
Jim

The Chopper will squarely cut round and square stryrene tubing as long as you don't try to do it in a single cut.  First I clamp down one of the plastic stops, and push the tubing against the stop. I make a shallow cut on one side, then rotate it to cut the next side.  After making a nick on each of the four sides, then I make a deeper cut on each side then a final cut all the way through.  You can get a nice square cut this way.  It actually takes longer to describe it than to do it.  The cuts are neater and easier to control than with a powered mini-miter saw.

Jack Burgess did an article on tips and enhancements to do on the NWSL Chopper in Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine.

Bob

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