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GNRi1959

Track Cutting Razor Saw

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Can anyone recommend a good quality razor saw for cutting track at baseboard joints?

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The best method is a dremel with a flexidrive and a thin cutting disc. I use an Aldi one and have had it in use for the last 6 years! 

I nearly splashed out on a new Dremel with all the bells and whistles but can't justify the cost against the cheap one. I use mine at least twice a week for nearly a day at a time building layouts.

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8 minutes ago, Dave said:

The best method is a dremel with a flexidrive and a thin cutting disc. I use an Aldi one and have had it in use for the last 6 years! 

I nearly splashed out on a new Dremel with all the bells and whistles but can't justify the cost against the cheap one. I use mine at least twice a week for nearly a day at a time building layouts.

Agree 100%.  Carborundum disc on a mini drill is your only man for cutting track. It is by far the easiest and least labour intensive, and accurate.

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Zuron make a good tool for just such a job. It comes in the form of a pair of pliers - lovely, clean cut followed by a few strokes of a fine file to tidy up the end.

Stephen

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8 minutes ago, GNRi1959 said:

any links to the favoured tool?

https://www.mfacomodrills.com/mini_drills/drills.html

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rotacraft-Carborundum-Cutting-10-Silver/dp/B007RC5B7Q

http://www.marksmodels.com/?pid=18800

https://www.mfacomodrills.com/mini_drills/drills.html

If you already have a modellers mini drill you also need a spindle to mount the discs on, but you can also buy complete kits like some of the above.

 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, StevieB said:

Zuron make a good tool for just such a job. It comes in the form of a pair of pliers - lovely, clean cut followed by a few strokes of a fine file to tidy up the end.

Stephen

Apologies Stevie, I'm not a fan of Zuron pliers for cutting track rails. Two broke on me, could have lost an eye with one, but luckily I was wearing goggles, they are not really designed to cut material as thick as code 75 or code 100 rail. They are also less precise than micro disc cutters. They are however great for cutting thiner metal materials such as cabling, wire grab rails for rolling stock, plastic, thin bits of brass, etc, etc. Carborundum disc causes zero distortion unlike pliers once they get older (i.e. easier to get fish plates to slide on after cutting).

Edited by Noel

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Posted (edited)

If using a cutting disc directly in a drill that is of a larger diameter than the disc, the cut will be at a slight angle to the vertical. This can be avoided by using a narrow-handled flexi-drive, of course. However, if you end up with two cuts at a join that are angled away from each other, then there will be a permanent open gap at the top of the join, giving a 'click' that may not be the end of the world, of course.

If you are using the disc in a drill directly, then having the drill over the track that will be used, rather than the piece that is being removed, will result in joins that are closed at the top.

 

One extra benefit of using a cutting disc is that you are much less likely to bend the rail and cutting can also be done in much more constricted spaces than with a saw.

Edited by Broithe

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On 4/17/2018 at 12:58 PM, Broithe said:

If using a cutting disc directly in a drill that is of a larger diameter than the disc, the cut will be at a slight angle to the vertical. This can be avoided by using a narrow-handled flexi-drive, of course. However, if you end up with two cuts at a join that are angled away from each other, then there will be a permanent open gap at the top of the join, giving a 'click' that may not be the end of the world, of course.

If you are using the disc in a drill directly, then having the drill over the track that will be used, rather than the piece that is being removed, will result in joins that are closed at the top.

 

One extra benefit of using a cutting disc is that you are much less likely to bend the rail and cutting can also be done in much more constricted spaces that with a saw.

Some interesting posts and advice here, thanks all.

I found this one on eBay today and thought it good value at £21

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 22.32.58.png

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Although I found the disc cutting tool great for cutting copper clad strip to length, I really think its not a good idea to use it to cut track at baseboard joints. I soldered all my track today to the copper clad strip and tried cutting a piece of scrap track with the disc cutter. I thought, even with the finest of discs, it takes too much out of the track - and would mean obvious large gaps in the track. I think i'll revert to the good old razor saw!

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Could you put a shim about the thickness of the disc between the boards? 

That should make the gap fairly small, if the track is fairly straight over the join and you remove the shim after the cut.

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Well I suppose thats ok as an afterthought, I've everything position, pinned, soldered and ready to cut.

I'll get my hands on a razor saw, thanks anyway.

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57 minutes ago, GNRi1959 said:

Although I found the disc cutting tool great for cutting copper clad strip to length, I really think its not a good idea to use it to cut track at baseboard joints. I soldered all my track today to the copper clad strip and tried cutting a piece of scrap track with the disc cutter. I thought, even with the finest of discs, it takes too much out of the track - and would mean obvious large gaps in the track. I think i'll revert to the good old razor saw!

You need a tiny gap for expansion and contraction between winter and summer including baseboards that absorb moisture during the winter and some movement. The width of a disc is almost perfect. 

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Noel, i'll try again with a different disc.

Whats the maximum gap I can allow in my track?

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Posted (edited)

Sometimes I have to question advice I get. I bought a 52 tpi razor saw and was able to cut the track so neat and safely without any big 'gap' that a disc cutter would leave. Cost £12 but it was really well spent.

Edited by GNRi1959

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It is sometimes better to have a slightly wider gap than that left by a razor saw, particularly where the gap is used for isolation purposes. In hot weather the track can expand sufficiently for the gap to close and cause a short circuit, or continuity where it is not required. Last week's hot weather did exactly that on an automated layout in a museum I am involved with. A train on a certain track kept overshooting it's stopping point, and a second train would ram into the side of it, causing a derailment. Investigation into the control equipment did not reveal any fault, and it was purely by accident that the closed up rail joint was found. Once the joint was opened up again, all trains ran normally. 

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18 minutes ago, Dhu Varren said:

It is sometimes better to have a slightly wider gap than that left by a razor saw, particularly where the gap is used for isolation purposes. In hot weather the track can expand sufficiently for the gap to close and cause a short circuit, or continuity where it is not required. Last week's hot weather did exactly that on an automated layout in a museum I am involved with. A train on a certain track kept overshooting it's stopping point, and a second train would ram into the side of it, causing a derailment. Investigation into the control equipment did not reveal any fault, and it was purely by accident that the closed up rail joint was found. Once the joint was opened up again, all trains ran normally. 

Where I'm relying on a rail gap for isolation, I've had a practice of putting a spot of tape or paint on a rail-end to stop them creeping together and making unwanted contact. We had quite a bit of seasonal gap variation when we had a forty foot straight run under a polycarbonate car-port roof.

I've always suspected that shrinkage of wooden base materials from humidity reductions has a bigger effect than expansion of the metal rails through increased temperatures, and vice versa, although both move the gap dimensions in the same direction. It would be interesting to see what happens with layouts with foam-board substrates.

My razor saw cuts about 0.25mm wide. My cutting discs are 0.6mm

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