Track cutters or Dremel tool?

Stephane Savard Jun 13, 2018

  1. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    For cutting flex track (n scale), which tool is preferred? A dedicated track cutting tool like the xuron cutters, or just simply a Dremel with cutting wheels? I already own a Dremel, so I could use that, but are cutters easier to use?
     
  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    My vote is for a hand tool cutter and file to dress up the ends if needed. In my hands a cutter is more precise and is also much safer than a spinning cutoff wheel which can disintegrate if not held squarely.
     
  3. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Supporter

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    Generally, I use a cutter for routine tasks (cutting flex to length, etc.). Quicker, safer, and more convenient. Having said that, I do use a Dremel with cutoff wheel for cutting gaps in already-laid rail or in handlaid turnouts.
     
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  4. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Perfect! I had the cutting tool in a cart for ordering, but had second thoughts. I'll go ahead and order them. And yeah, I've had my share of cutting wheels suddenly flying apart and having to clean up the metal dust that gets everywhere on the workbench.
     
  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    You probably know that Xuron makes two cutters, the 2175B and the 2175M Vertical (designed for track that has already been secured to the layout). Be sure you buy the one that will work best for you.
     
  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Both the Dremel and Xuron track cutter has their place in your tool box. Any cutter will squeeze or pinch the rail causing deformities and burr's that eventually need to be buffed out or filed clean.

    Personally I prefer the Dremel tool. I can get precise cuts right where I want them and it's easy to buff off the burr's if and when the occur. Usually my cuts are smooth, no deformities or burr's to worry about. Safety eye wear is required.

    Learn o use the Dremel tool like a pin in you hand and you'll be surprised what you can accomplish with it.

    I suggest you try both methods out and then decide for yourself.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have both tools. Use the Xuron 99% of the time.
     
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I use a Dremel 95% of the time. I then use a hand saw I think by X-acto the other 5%.

    It's a matter of choice and what works best for you.
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I use all three methods mentioned, the Xuron, Dremel and small saw. All depends on situation.
     
  10. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    When I begin to build my new N Scale layout I'll be using Kato Unitrack and some custom lengths will be required. From those of you that have done this, what technique is best?

    I'll need to cut the plastic roadbed in two places per section to remove some and re-insert the end to preserve the end connection molding. Then I guess I cut the rails?
     
  11. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I used the Xuron for when I cut my Unitrack to custom lengths.

    Yep, measure (about 5 times) the length you need for custom, and cut out of middle of roadbed. For the rail, remember it is center of unijoiner to center of unijoiner in length.
     
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  12. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    I've used both. If you're doing straight track, you'll be fine with a Xuron. But if you're cutting curved track, you need to make it more precise, I'd recommend the cutting tool for that. Use a piece of blue painter's tape to locate the cut on the track. Cut like a hair oversize and gradually grind it down to size. It's more time-consuming, but I'm proud to say that outside of loose turnout points splitting cars, and out-of gauge wheels, I have virtually no derailments on my layout, and I use Code 55 (Micro-Engineering flex) track!
     
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  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Rick and Metro. Good tips. I too am the kind of guy who measures multiple times ..... and to the Angstrom. :) Though, I'll probably botch a few cuts at the start. I hadn't thought about curves!
     
  14. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks everyone for the tips, I'm still planning my layout, but in the meantime I do have a bit of flex track and want to experiment a bit.

    I received the Xuron cutters in the mail today (that was some fast shipping! heh). I'd like to expand on something that Hardcoaler mentioned earlier in the thread...

    Turns out that if you're into n-scale, both these cutters should be used vertically! See this quote directly from the package of the 2175B cutters:

    "For maximum life and optimal finish, HO track should be cut top to bottom, N and Z from side to side."

    However, I suspect (though I've never seen them) that the 2175M cutters would be best for cutting track already laid down and secured to the layout.
     
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  15. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

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    I used a hacksaw, the one with short handle and adjustable blade length, to cut plastic track bed and rails on Unitrack and just used rail joiners when I needed custom lengths for HO. But as someone said...experiment and use the method you like. Oh one thing ... I ground the sides of the hacksaw blade to make it thinner.

    Jim
     
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  16. astrotrain

    astrotrain New Member

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    Dremel for me. I use the new push on wheels that last forever' Their way more harder than the old standard wheels that break all the time. I used One wheel for almost my whole track.
     
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  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Let's see. Every-time I cut a piece of track I find that if I cut it again it gets shorter and shorter. Now what's up with that?
     
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  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You bought non-regenerative track.
     
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  19. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Jeez, Rick. Didn't you see the announcement on the new "growing track" product? Employs nano-technology which allows one to program each rail to a specific length (programmer sold separately, and only works with certain computers, but those aren't listed yet) :ROFLMAO:
     
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  20. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    The minute I let my computer cut my track ...well...there goes my fun.

    Regenerative track. Now that would be a real trick. No I didn't buy any.

    Haw haw haw hee hee and still LOL.

    Happy Father's Day.
     

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