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Cutting identical pieces

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Cutting identical pieces
Posted by hbgatsf on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 9:57 PM

I have made some models where I needed a few styrene or ABS pieces cut to identical lengths.  I have two miter boxes and razor saws but I still don’t get perfectly square ends.  While the length is close it is never perfect. Until now sanding them can get them close enough but it is tedious. 

 

I have a new project that will require about 20 pieces of ABS H-beams each about 2 inches long.   What is the trick to have them come out the way I want?

 

Rick

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 10:17 PM

I use the Excel Miter box and it works very good.  The saw slots are a bit large and to keep the saw straight I use a small piece of ⅛” Styrene tubing, I cut one side lengthwise and push it in the saw slot on the miter.  That keeps the saw against the opposite side of the slot.  To hold the material being cut I use a small C clamp.
 
I also have a Harbor Freight Hobby Cut-Off saw and it works very good for small strips.  I recently bought the HF Mighty-Mite Hobby Table Saw and it works great.  When I was making my Static Grass Applicator I used the HF Mighty-Mite to cut 1½” PVC couplings, it cut the PVC better than my 10” table saw.    
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, April 23, 2020 12:40 AM

Buy the "Chopper 3" and "Duplicutter 2", both made by Northwest Short Line.

I use mine all the time.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, April 23, 2020 5:12 AM

SeeYou190
Buy the "Chopper 3" and "Duplicutter 2", both made by Northwest Short Line.

Ditto! Wouldn't be without them Yes

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, April 23, 2020 6:06 AM

how well do they work on styrene?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by zstripe on Thursday, April 23, 2020 7:17 AM

If You can afford it, I would recommend a circular saw, for getting square cuts, where as the Choppers ( which I have two) cuts are at a slight angle(taper) due to the nature of the blade. Sure You can sand them, but why waste Your time. That is exactly what I thought at the time...So I invested in a Model table saw by Proxxon. Once You get used to using it......it's great!

https://proxxon-us-shop.com/collections/bench-top-units-and-related-accessories/products/bench-circular-saw-ks-115

I have built quite a few  scratch built structures using Plastruct shapes like You are using, all cut on the table saw.

A couple of pic's of a scratch built structure, built with H-columns and shapes from Plastruct. You may like the sign...........

Pic's may be clicked on for larger view.

Good Luck on Your project!

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, April 23, 2020 10:51 AM

I have or had all the different choppers and even have two Shay Miters, rare and expencive now. The only cuts I get that are truly square are on my miniature chop saw which looks just like the one from Micro Mart (might be from the company they copied from).

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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, April 23, 2020 11:15 AM

The Chopper works well for wood and plastic pieces of a certain thickness but go beyond that, and it tends to distort the cut in my experience, and ABS plastic H beams might be tough for the Chopper.  

For 200 identical pieces I'd be thinking about making a jig of some sort that would hold the raw materials tightly, no side-play, with a "stop" and a slot for a narrow razor saw.  For that quantity and for that need of precision, the time spent making the jig would be well invested.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, April 23, 2020 12:08 PM

I would say go with a hobby circular saw.  The one in Frank’s link looks very good.  The HF Mighty-Mite I bought didn’t come with a fence so I made one from Basswood. 
 
 
I’ve only had it for about 6 months but I consider it one of the best tools in my hobby arsenal.  I set the Mel fence at 2” for the picture.
 
For under $40 it’s a great tool!!!!
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by hbgatsf on Thursday, April 23, 2020 2:03 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions.  I'll check them out.

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Posted by hbgatsf on Saturday, February 27, 2021 8:27 AM

zstripe

If You can afford it, I would recommend a circular saw, for getting square cuts, where as the Choppers ( which I have two) cuts are at a slight angle(taper) due to the nature of the blade. Sure You can sand them, but why waste Your time. That is exactly what I thought at the time...So I invested in a Model table saw by Proxxon. Once You get used to using it......it's great!

https://proxxon-us-shop.com/collections/bench-top-units-and-related-accessories/products/bench-circular-saw-ks-115

I have built quite a few  scratch built structures using Plastruct shapes like You are using, all cut on the table saw.

A couple of pic's of a scratch built structure, built with H-columns and shapes from Plastruct. You may like the sign...........

Pic's may be clicked on for larger view.

Good Luck on Your project!

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

 

Although I am not ready to start the project that prompted me to start this thread, I have a couple of smaller ones that will require cutting the same H beams so I might as well go ahead and pull the trigger on a saw.  After considering all of the alternatives I am going to get the KS 115.

For cutting those H beams did you use the blade that came with the saw or did you use a different one?  According to the instructions the fence can be set up to 70mm from the blade.  How did you do longer cuts with precision?

Rick

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, February 27, 2021 9:03 AM

You need to make up a jug, just like in the real world.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, February 27, 2021 9:16 AM

rrebell

You need to make up a jug, just like in the real world.

 

I agree, margaritas? Or daiquiris in summer? Or even sangria in the interests of preserving some accuracy in cutting,

Alyth Yard

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Posted by hbgatsf on Saturday, February 27, 2021 9:53 AM

rrebell

You need to make up a jug, just like in the real world.

 

How is a jug going to help?

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, February 27, 2021 11:08 AM

How did the KS115 saw work out?  Looks very nice.
 

Mel



 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 27, 2021 12:45 PM

 The razor blade devices like the Chopper aren't going to do well with things like Plastruct H beams. 

 It was Friday night, I'm sure he meant jig, not jug. A jig that fits in your mitre box to keep things square, and then has a stop so the length is the same from the stop to the cutting slot, and you cna continut to use a razor saw to cut the pieces. The miniature table saw is probably a better idea if you have a lot to cut. Micro Mark can be very expensive, you might want to look around, but they do have good ones. Sometimes you can find the exact same thing elsewhere.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, February 27, 2021 2:15 PM

hbgatsf

 

 
rrebell

You need to make up a jug, just like in the real world.

 

 

 

How is a jug going to help?

 

Depends what's in the jug...l

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by peahrens on Saturday, February 27, 2021 2:32 PM

Mel, the price is sure right.  Would you please explain your rip guide.  Do you clamp it to the saw base?  Also, the HF 2nd picture shows a thin diamond blade edge, not teeth.  Is that correct and good for wood and plastic? Or did you install a different blade?  Thanks.

4 in. Mighty-Mite Table Saw with Blade (harborfreight.com)

 

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 27, 2021 2:56 PM

I didn't see this until now for some reason.

You need the 100-tooth fine-cut blade for this work.  Note that it does not have set (alternate teeth to opposite sides to keep the kerf wider than the blade) and should be thought of as a razor saw bent into a circle Wink so watch out for friction heating, etc.

When you mount it, take special pains the blade runs on the shaft with as close to zero lateral runout as possible, so it does not pretend to be a dado head, and align the motor so the blade is as close to vertical as possible -- I used overkill with a jeweled ball and .0005" dial indicator at two heights of the exposed blade, but I had the equipment already.  If the saw is not precisely at 90 degrees you'll get a bevel requiring sanding, just as with a razor saw cocked in a miter-box slot.

When I was using those Japanese zero-kerf pull saws for modeling work I had a miter box with four little ABEC-7-type bearings on adjustable mounts on each side in pairs.  These were run up against the tall side of the saw and locked, so that the saw ran perfectly square both horizontally and vertically even when encountering considerable resistance; as it was a pull saw it did not try to bow in the 'middle' as saws without heavy reinforcing spines can.  I have no idea where that box was originally made -- it worked similarly to this luthier's tool with a little more fiddly adjustability:

https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tools-and-supplies/types-of-tools/saws/stewmac-fret-slotting-miter-box.html

It would not be difficult to duplicate the arrangement (for somewhat less eye-watering cost!) and you arguably could stack multiple pieces of 'squared-cross-section' stock like I or H beams or tubes both horizontally and vertically in the miter box and 'dun' them in to cut all simultaneously.  You could make up a comparable set of alignment jigs to run with the existing fence offset on the model table saw.

I believe the successor to the Shay mitering tool was made as the "Calibre" tool (and some sort of version made thereafter by KV Trains) but I have not used any of them

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, February 27, 2021 3:06 PM

peahrens

Mel, the price is sure right.  Would you please explain your rip guide.  Do you clamp it to the saw base?  Also, the HF 2nd picture shows a thin diamond blade edge, not teeth.  Is that correct and good for wood and plastic? Or did you install a different blade?  Thanks.

4 in. Mighty-Mite Table Saw with Blade (harborfreight.com)

 

 

 

Mine came with a 24 tooth blade and I bought a second blade for a spare, just incase they discontinue stocking them.  The saw works great!!!

I made the fence from ⅛” sheet basswood sheet and ¼” square runners tight against the table.  So far I haven’t used the fence enough to loosen it up but a small spring clamp would easily hold it in place for hobby stuff.

 

Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

 

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Posted by hbgatsf on Saturday, February 27, 2021 8:47 PM

RR_Mel

How did the KS115 saw work out?  Looks very nice.
 

Mel

I haven't pulled the trigger yet.  The higher end models from Proxxon and MicroLux caught my eye and I have been thinking about whether my projects would benefit from their features.  

Rick

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Posted by maxman on Saturday, February 27, 2021 8:56 PM

How about something like this as an alternative for cutting strips to length?

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, February 27, 2021 9:08 PM

maxman

How about something like this as an alternative for cutting strips to length?

 

 

I started out with the HF Drill Master Cut-Off saw and it also works great but after I got the Mighty-Mite Table Saw I haven’t used it very much.  The table saw is just so much easier to use.
 

Mel


 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by zstripe on Sunday, February 28, 2021 6:39 AM

hbgatsf
For cutting those H beams did you use the blade that came with the saw or did you use a different one?  According to the instructions the fence can be set up to 70mm from the blade.  How did you do longer cuts with precision? Rick

Rick,

The blade that comes with the saw, I have used it for styrene, ABS, all types of Plastruct shapes, also Central Valley truss girders. I have used the same blade also for wood......basswood, strip, white Pine. I have some other blades for cutting Brass etc. The blade that comes with it is super sharp, so be careful when using it.......it will take a finger off.

I have found no need to have a longer rip........most things I have used it for are only precision cuts. For longer needs, I have another saw, which is a 4'' that I use for ripping longer material. I also have a 10'' table saw in My garage that I use to rip My own scale lumber from white Pine 1x8'' to a size for the 4'' to rip. Many of My buildings are reinforced with 5/16, 3/16 sized strips, glued with contact cement.

All photos may be clicked on for a larger view:

That saw since I have bought it, has paid for itself, many times over.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by hbgatsf on Sunday, February 28, 2021 6:51 AM

maxman

How about something like this as an alternative for cutting strips to length?

 

 

That is what I considered at first.  In the woodworking community there is much information regarding the usefulness of chop saws vs table saws.  For years I have used a radial arm saw as my primary.  It is great for rough work but leaves a lot to be desired for accuracy.  I thought I could be in the same boat with the mini chop saw.

I decided to get the MicroLux Mini Table Saw.  https://www.micromark.com/MicroLux-Mini-Tilt-Arbor-Table-Saw-for-Benchtop-Hobby-Use_2.  It is overkill for the project that started this thread but I expect to use it for much more.

Thanks for all the suggestions, especially those that put me on the path of a table saw.

Rick

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, February 28, 2021 6:55 AM

zstripe
 

The blade that comes with the saw, I have used it for styrene, ABS, all types of Plastruct shapes, also Central Valley truss girders. I have used the same blade also for wood......basswood, strip, white Pine. I have some other blades for cutting Brass etc. The blade that comes with it is super sharp, so be careful when using it.......it will take a finger off.

I have found no need to have a longer rip........most things I have used it for are only precision cuts. For longer needs, I have another saw, which is a 4'' that I use for ripping longer material. I also have a 10'' table saw in My garage that I use to rip My own scale lumber from white Pine 1x8'' to a size for the 4'' to rip. Many of My buildings are reinforced with 5/16, 3/16 sized strips, glued with contact cement.

All photos may be clicked on for a larger view:

Frank, you are an artist. And, from the south side of Chicago no less.

Beautiful work!  Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, February 28, 2021 11:43 AM

richhotrain
Frank, you are an artist. And, from the south side of Chicago no less. Beautiful work!  

Agreed.  And that's the baaaaaadest part of town.

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, February 28, 2021 11:53 AM

hbgatsf
I decided to get the MicroLux Mini Table Saw.  https://www.micromark.com/MicroLux-Mini-Tilt-Arbor-Table-Saw-for-Benchtop-Hobby-Use_2.  It is overkill for the project that started this thread but I expect to use it for much more.

I agree that the table saw model would be great for cutting sheet stock down to size.  But I question how useful it would be for cutting things to length if a large quantity of something, like the I-beams, would be needed.

With the chop saw, it's put the piece on the table, chop, and done.  With the table saw, it's put the piece against the sliding square, slide the piece into the saw blade, and hope that the total length turns out okay.

Like anything else, I suppose it's what you plan to do the most of that would influence the decision.

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Posted by hbgatsf on Sunday, February 28, 2021 2:18 PM

maxman

 

 
hbgatsf
I decided to get the MicroLux Mini Table Saw.  https://www.micromark.com/MicroLux-Mini-Tilt-Arbor-Table-Saw-for-Benchtop-Hobby-Use_2.  It is overkill for the project that started this thread but I expect to use it for much more.

 

I agree that the table saw model would be great for cutting sheet stock down to size.  But I question how useful it would be for cutting things to length if a large quantity of something, like the I-beams, would be needed.

With the chop saw, it's put the piece on the table, chop, and done.  With the table saw, it's put the piece against the sliding square, slide the piece into the saw blade, and hope that the total length turns out okay.

Like anything else, I suppose it's what you plan to do the most of that would influence the decision.

 

We shall see but I suspect that you are over stating the efficiency of the chop saw.  I would need to devise a stop to duplicate the length of the pieces.  Then each one would need to be clamped into the proper place ensuring everything is square.  With the table saw you set the fence and put each part on the miter gauge and push it through the blade.  

Perhaps someone who has both will chime in.  

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Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, February 28, 2021 2:35 PM

hbgatsf

 

 
maxman

 

 
hbgatsf
I decided to get the MicroLux Mini Table Saw.  https://www.micromark.com/MicroLux-Mini-Tilt-Arbor-Table-Saw-for-Benchtop-Hobby-Use_2.  It is overkill for the project that started this thread but I expect to use it for much more.

 

I agree that the table saw model would be great for cutting sheet stock down to size.  But I question how useful it would be for cutting things to length if a large quantity of something, like the I-beams, would be needed.

With the chop saw, it's put the piece on the table, chop, and done.  With the table saw, it's put the piece against the sliding square, slide the piece into the saw blade, and hope that the total length turns out okay.

Like anything else, I suppose it's what you plan to do the most of that would influence the decision.

 

 

 

We shall see but I suspect that you are over stating the efficiency of the chop saw.  I would need to devise a stop to duplicate the length of the pieces.  Then each one would need to be clamped into the proper place ensuring everything is square.  With the table saw you set the fence and put each part on the miter gauge and push it through the blade.  

Perhaps someone who has both will chime in.  

 

 

I have both and you are right on with the table saw.  The chop saw has its place but the table saw is more versatile and easier to use.
 

Mel


 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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