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Researched past posts on this already and I don't want to manually cut track anymore.  I don't want to make a jig either.

I want to be able to cut 027, 0, Gargraves straight and flex track.

I saw some references to a Harbor Freight Chop Saw, but the recommendations were a little sketchy.  I haven't ruled it out.  It is certainly reasonably priced.  I want to be able to make a line and cut to it nice and straight (then file it).

I know that larger (2") cutoff wheels work better than smaller ones.  I have a standard grinder if there is a decent attachment that will allow me to line up the track and make the cut with it.  That would require some sort of fence I believe.

Any suggestions?

Thanks as always.

John

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I had the Harbor Freight chop saw and it work okay on track, had some play in it that I could not get rid of.  I tried cutting some aluminum train shelves with it and it quickly died. I also had the corded Dremel tool with the 2” cutoff wheel and that also worked.  Took two cuts per rail to allow the second cut to be accurate.  I bought the battery version (8220) with spare battery and will never go back to the corded one.

I bought the larger Dremel Ultra-Saw thinking that it would work better with track that was already laid.  It does work, cutting all three rails at once but it is heavy and hard to make a straight across cut (I don't use a guide).  I do use it once in a while, especially after I lay some flex track on a curve.  Gets the ends straight.

I decided to try another cutoff saw and bought the Toolman HD 6”, 6.5 amp Chop Saw and for just a little more than the Harbor Freight I think you are getting a much better saw.  I try to do all my track cutting with it, takes a little practice with curved track.

So, for now most of my track cutting is with the Toolman with some done with the battery Dremel.  I am sure others have their favorite saw(s).

Last edited by CAPPilot
@RSJB18 posted:

I use a Dremel Multi-max with a metal blade. Dremel rotary with a cut-off wheel works well also.

The half round bi-metal blade makes clean cuts. Nice thing is that I can cut track in place on the layout if necc.

Dremel MM35 | Shop Dremel

Dremel Multi-Max Bi-Metal Saw Oscillating Tool Blade for Wood, Drywall and Metal-MM452 - The Home Depot

Thanks.  You line it up by eye?  I do have an old Handi Grinder and also a Vigor Flexible Shaft Machine.  But I think I will be cutting track off layout for now.

John

Last edited by Craftech

https://www.micromark.com/Prox...er-Saw-for-Hobby-Use





The top part of the jaws open wide enough to hold either Ross or Gargraves track.

Perfect straight down cuts on any angle.  I did need to tape up the plastic blade guard.



I use an abrasive disc, but you can get this instead:



Perma-Grit Tungsten Carbide BladePerma-Grit Tungsten Carbide Abrasive Blade For MicroLux Tilt Arbor Table Saw And Proxxon Chop Saw

Last edited by AlanRail
@DMASSO posted:

I use a Dremel. Then I use a one inch stationary belt sander to square off, if needed.

After weighing all the great suggestions I decided to get a combination stationary disc / narrow belt sander.

https://www.rikontools.com/product/50-151



I already have cutoff wheels, tin snips, Dremel type tools, razor saw, hacksaw, two different hand grinders, 3 x 21 portable belt sander, 6" air sander, 6" electric sander, 10" cutoff saw, to name a few.  This one I can at least use for multiple things.

A line, a rough cut outside the line, use the 5" disc on the above machine to sand it to the line, deburr.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

John

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Last edited by Craftech
@GG1 4877 posted:

I use a metal blade on my 12" compound miter saw.  It is quick and accurate.

Amen !  I have not used this trick in years though it is a big help when you need very accurate cuts.  I don't have a compound miter saw so I used my radial arm with a bit of a twist.  Take a scrap of 2x4 and run down it's length on a router table to put three grooves where you place your section of straight track rail head down into the grooves. It holds the rail rigidly in place while you push the board against the fence as the blade cuts thorugh.  It is a great aid when cutting very short pieces. You set the depth of the cut about half the depth of the 2 x 4 and make your cut somewhere in the middle of the board so both ends of the track are supported. Obviously this does not work for cutting curved track but a convenient work around is to cut four 1" long sections off the grooved 2x4 and space them along you section of track and put two of them close to each side of the saw blade. About a 1" gap is plenty wide enough not to fowl the blade. Both these techniques work well with conventional sectional track and flex track such as Gargraves but are not really needed with track that has a molded on roadbed such as Fastrack.  Even if you don't have a Miter saw or a radial arm and use a hacksaw  you can make a track cutting miter box from a few scraps of wood that hold everything in place.          j

@Craftech I believe you will take care of any three track slicing that you will ever need with any tool you have selected.  

my Dremel rotary hand tool was so versatile and simple to use during my construction of my layout 5 years ago.  I liked the variable speed.   All I needed in addition to the Dremel and grinding disk was two good electrical cords for each side of the table, a straight metal file to file off each of the three metal tracks.


Most important extra I needed to use though is the eye protection.

each an every person on this Forum must use eye protection when grinding any metal whatsoever.  It’s a must.

Maybe just to put a cap on this subject, the disadvantage to using a power tool with a smaller cut-off wheel than the width of all three rails (like the Dremel) is that it only cuts one, maybe two rails at a time and you have to cut the other rail(s) in a separate cut. Thus, the straightness of your cut across all three rails is dependent on how good your eye is or your hand is at insuring all three cuts line up.

In addition, because of the way the tool is designed, as you cut into the rail, it is impossible to keep the edge of the cut-off wheel perpendicular to the rail and it angles away from the cut (unless you use a special adapter).

Conversely, the advantage to using a tool like the Harbor Freight one is that the blade is wide enough to cut across all the rails at the same time to keep the cut perfectly straight across all three rails and the cut will always be perpendicular to the rails.     

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