Is there a common tool for cutting flex track?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bought some flex track from Beijing (Yinke Model Shop). Unfortunately, I forgot to buy a cutting tool. Perhaps there is a tool from a hardware shop I can use to cut the flex track? Perhaps a hack saw or a sheer cutter? I really don't have access to a hobby shop right now. I live in the Philippines.
  2. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,572
    Likes Received:
    0
    A fine tooth hacksaw might do it. Get as many teeth per inch as possible.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,590
    Likes Received:
    0
    You should be able to get by using wire cutters. Be sure to get what is know as "flush cutters" though, otherwise one side of the cut will be flush and the other will be tapered. Two that I use are Plato #170, and one that I prefer most is the C.H.P. #170. If you can't find them at a hardware store, try and electrical supply house or an electronic parts store.
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    You could even use regular ol' wire cutters if you had too. Just be forewarned that you will have to do a lot of filing on the end of the rail to get down to the "unsquashed" part of the rail.... the wire cutters will deform the rail pretty badly. And when filing the end of the rail, you have to be careful not to rip the rail out of the ties too. Hold the rail tightly to the ties between your thumb and forefinger when doing this.

    That is how I did it at first, because I was too cheap too buy the proper tool. But then I spent the $15 for the rail cutter, and "Why the heck didn't I buy this weeks ago?"
  5. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use a Xuron track cutter. Like ezdays says, it's realy just a flush cutting wire cutter. It leaves the section of track you want to use with a nice flat edge. I've also used a moto-tool with an abrasive disk.
  6. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    0
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,590
    Likes Received:
    0
    Those are one form of wire cutters. The ones that we're talking about are shown on this site here. There are several other discussion on the Gauge about using these cutters on flex track.
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    You could also use that old stand-by, the razor saw. I prefer a cut-off disc in a Dremel tool.

    Wayne
  10. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    0
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    0
    YOu now have a confirming second opinion from another medical professional. I do exactly the same as Doctor Wayne.
    (the other) Doc
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,135
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mike: when I started in HO I cut rail with an old pair of pliers and cleaned the mess up with a nail file. I even made my first switch with the nail file.
    I was in school then and had more time than money.
    I then graduated to a razor saw (very thin metal blade with very fine teeth).
    I think either of the flush cutters you found would work.
    The normal wire cutting pliers have a V shaped blade and leave a projection on the end of the rail. Flush cutters cut one side of the rail almost even (still need a bit of filing) and a bigger mess on the other side.
  13. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the replies. :) I did a few experiments on some portions of expendable flex track. My flex track brand is Peco. I tried the hack saw, and it was difficult. And then I tried a small wire cutter, and it was difficult. I tried a big wire cutter, and boy, it was lovely easy! The only problem with the big wire cutter is that I think it's not a flush cutter. It made the edge of the track form a letter V. I guess I'll go for a big flush cutter. :)
  14. johntealn30

    johntealn30 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    razor saw

    I prefer to use a disc in a dremel now but have used a razor saw. The saw method is a lot easier if you make a wood jig. get an off cut of timber something like a piece of 2" * 1" and saw two slots in the bottom. Then the timber can be placed over the track with the rail in the slots. If you put the edge of the timber where you want the cut it acts as a guide as well as making holding the track down MUCH easier, just press the wood down onto the track with the non sawing hand.

    John
    RJR
  15. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, the little Xuron nipper is so much more convenient! If the track is mostly already in place, pinned down, for example, and I just want to tune it up by removing a half a millimeter from one of the rails, I can just lift it enough to get the nipper under it and clip! No removing the track or building a cutting jig or any of that that nonsense. And the cut is so clean that I have never had to file it or anything -- even fitting it into a plastic insulated rail joiner without too much trouble.
    Anyway -- my 2 cents.
  16. meo1960

    meo1960 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been asking that very question myself. And look what I found today.

    Harbor Freight - Mini Cut-off Saw

    I haven't tried it yet, but I'm think'in this is just what the doctor ordered to cut track.
  17. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,590
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't know if that would be good for cutting flex-track though unless you wanted to cut each rail even with the other. Most of the time, if you're cutting track that has any curve to it, the rails may look even when curved, but they can be offset by as much as an inch if you straighten the tracks out like you'd have to in order to get them into that saw.
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,135
    Likes Received:
    0
    That saw looks a bit overkill for rails.
    If you use a hacksaw, you'll find that the teeth snag the rail after you get past the head and reach the thin web. You should always have 2 0r 3 teeth in contact with the work at all times. Tools to look for are Jewellers saws and saws with something other than teeth.
  19. wickman

    wickman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use both , the dremel is great if your in a tight spot and need to trim or remove a chunk of rail where as the razor saw is a great tool for general cutting :mrgreen:
  20. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would just buy the Xuron cutter (The thing lasts a life time for most people), I own one and cut anything with it and it still stays sharp, otherwise the second option would be the hand held Dremel mini tool.