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Im ready to buy track

5235 Views 34 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Dougald
Ok guys lets see ,
Austin and I have a good start on our design and lay out .
My question is should we look at stainless steel track and use 5' pieces .
And then buy a Train-Li bender.

What do i need to cut the track with if I need to cut it.

Thanks for your thoughts... Scott & Austin
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I use a Roto-Zip with the rotary blade attachment. You'll need an extension cord, but it is heavier and does a much faster job than the Dremel.

If you want 5 foot track, I suggest hitting a show and buying there, unless you're near a big dealer. They're too long for UPS, etc. and have to ship by truck. Costs a fortune.
Did they change that in the last 5 or so years? I got some 6-ft "rail" shipped in a long cardboard tube via UPS a few years ago.
You can get 5 foot track via UPS still. Its just considered oversized. Over 80 lbs and its overweight costing lots more since its considered a two man job. I got a couple of cases of AMS code 332 5 footers last summer from Ridge Road (upstate NY to DC area) and shipping ran $30/case.

Posted By Engineercub on 12/30/2008 4:08 PM
What tool works the best for cutting through Stainless? Anyone have experience with multiple methods?


Anything with a metal cutting disc will work well. They are all pretty much the same fiberglass disc impregnated with abrasives. Dremel works okay but the small size of the disc makes it more difficult to get a straight cut. I like to cut in place on the ground while laying track just marking it by eye and hitting it with the 4 inch metal disc on the angle grinder because I like to work fast. A metal disc in a chop saw is probably the best for a straight cut but I'm too lazy to mark the track then carry it over to the saw and back.
A hack saw will work fine if you got more time than money

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I use the mini chop saw from Harbor freight.
Square cuts the first time.

2 years and still on the original blade.

I cut code 332 brass rail, and aluminum pipes plus wood for the RR and it has the footprint of a slice of bread.
Posted By Dan Pierce on 12/31/2008 5:38 AM
I use the mini chop saw from Harbor freight.
Square cuts the first time.

2 years and still on the original blade.

I cut code 332 brass rail, and aluminum pipes plus wood for the RR and it has the footprint of a slice of bread.

Hey Dan. I just went to the HF website. It shows two mini chop saws. Which one do you have The blue one or Orange one.

I am very interested in them
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You just missed a good deal that Ridge Road Station had on Aristo SS rail...$109.00 for 12-8' pieces of rail or one tube of rail. That was better than the "old" price!!
Tie that in with Aristo's buy 4 get 1 free and that makes the shipping charges null.

I use the new Dremel quick lock cut-off wheels as shown earlier..they'll outlast those Ace wheels about 10 to 1..those ace wheels go up in a cloud of dust..those new Dremel wheels are tough and I haven't shattered one yet..I also use the flex-shaft adapter on my Dremel.
I bought the 10.8 volt Li-ion Dremel, it's nice, the battery lasts long enough not to be a nuisance and it runs up to 30,000 rpm, makes nice surgical cuts in stainless fast, easy, and no stress on the "tie plates" on Aristo track, which are fragile.

The newer dremel quick change blades are much tougher and last longer than the generic fiberglas impregnated ones, and of course do not shatter like the traditional solid carbide one (1").

I have the mini-chop saw from harbor freight, the blade will NOT cut stainless. I pulled the guard off the saw, and put a carbide blade in it, the motor is underpowered for this to work well. It is cute, but basically worthless for stainless. It might be fine for brass, but all my brass is .357 caliber!

Regards, Greg
URRRRRR UMMMMMM i cut my SS track in a wooden miter box with a hack saw, no fancy tools needed....
remember the K.I.S.S. method usually works best...

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For some reason, when I used a hacksaw, I kept pulling the rails out of the tie strips. I guess I'm just mechanically uncoordinated!

When I built the shop layout in Stainless, I went down to the local industrial supply and bought 3 high quality fine tooth hacksaw blades for something like $5. Never wore out the first. Cutting the stainless rails was quite easy.
If you are getting the Llagas track, buy it with the ties already on, they are a PAIN to get on the rails.
Posted By Jerry Barnes on 12/31/2008 11:47 AM
If you are getting the Llagas track, buy it with the ties already on, they are a PAIN to get on the rails.

Sorry, Jerry, I'd have to disagree!

The cost differential between paying them to assemble the track ADDED to the cost of shipping "TRACK", versus shipping a box of "Ties" (in a small box) and a tube of "Rail" (in a small diameter tube... yes the long tube is extra expense for shipping but is cheaper than the just-as-long-box to ship assembled track), is substantial.

If you create a fixture to hold the rail upside down the correct distance apart and spend a few seconds with a file to bevel the ends of the rails and put a little wax on the rails, they slide on easily. The Tie Tool also helps pushing the sets of 4 ties on by holding them parallel and uniformly spaced.

Also, I had all the same uniform curves on my line so I pre-bent the rails in a single-rail bender. I don't think the dual-rail "Track" bender was invented yet back then so I would have had to disassemble the track down to individual rails anyway to bend them, thus negating the work done by the vendor assembling the track and wasting that payment and the extra cost of mailing "Track" instead of "Ties" and "Rail" separately.

It took me longer to make an 8.5 ft radius compass (adjustable to 8-ft 4-inches and 8-ft 5.75-inches) to hold a Dremel router to cut two 1/8 inch wide slots in a 1"x12"x8' board and adjust the rail bender to the correct setting, than it did to bend the rails, bevel the ends (with the file on my Swiss Army knife) spray Armour All on a rag to wipe the rails and assemble the curved sections (two 17-ft diameter loop backs, or 720-degrees of curved track).
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Well, my buddy keeps complaining and has not done much, but maybe he's just lazy!
I have used Llagas Creek track for all the trackwork on the Northland. It is not as big as some railroads but so far I have almost 800 feet of track.

Like Jerry, I found the assembly of the rail to ties a pita even though I had a fixture, used armour all and beveled the ends ot the rail. Also shipping to Canada is not inexpensive either way ... so in the end, I paid the extra (about 50 cents a foot) and had the vast majority assembled for me by Llagas Creek.

I use code 215 aluminum rail .... i build my benchwork for elevated track first and then lay all my curves freehand spiking the track down. The little bit extra I paid for track to start with has been easily recovered in time saved and avoiding the scost and hassle of a railbender. The biggest place to save is on switches. I bought a number of Llagas Creek kits but now buy the frogs only and lay my own. It is a bit time consuming (say 3 hours per switch custom built for its location) but for me is also a labour of love. I sense the folks who handlay all their track feel the same way even though they justify it with the cost advantage.

Regards ... Doug
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