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Fast Tracks • View topic - Alternative to jewelers saw to cut frog gaps

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:40 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:24 pm
Posts: 33
I found a reasonable alternative to using the zona jewelers saw to cut the frog gaps.

I know it's probably just me, but I am CONSTANTLY breaking the very thin saw blades, and it's nearly impossible to get the blade real tight in the saw after you get the blade in between the rail to initiate the cuts. (The blade would cut bettter if it's tight with no "bow" in it)

Dremel cutoff wheels are really wide. (even the better diamond ones) I have found a reasonable alternative cut off wheel from Micro Mark. They are called "Ultra Thin Cut-Off Wheels, Ferrous (1-1/2 Inch Dia., Set of 2)" They are .033 thick (just do a search on the site. I'm not going to/cant direct link it)

The diameter of the wheel is quite is large however, this is why it's not practical for scales smaller than HO (in fact cutting the gap on the closure rail side of the turnout is tight, but it will work if you are careful) Use a variable speed cutting tool and keep the speed low, 2 or 3 and go slowly and dont let the tool stray. Let the tool do the work, dont press and force it thru. This can do two things: One, it will possibly heat the rail up too much (possibly remelting the solder) and two, the gap can be much wider.

Note also I do the cutting from the bottom side of the turnout. The gap will be a tad wider on the cutting side as there will be a slight angle as you cant get 100% perpendicular to the rail. This way the narrow part will be at the railhead as its at the bottom of the cut itself. (and if your hands wobble a bit like mine the wider part where it wobbled will be underneath)

Is this method better than the saw? Not by a longshot. The saw gap is razor thin and looks great, even up close. But this method is far faster (and I do a lot of turnouts for others) and the gap is still better than the other "normal" width cutoff wheels, so it's a compromise.

Just wanted to pass it along.

Last edited by SLI_Fallen on Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:51 pm
Posts: 84

- Terry -
Customer Service - Fast Tracks HobbyWorks Inc.

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