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Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to start on a project that has been on the to do pile way too long. I have the paint, and the dry transfers, so it's a good time to get it over with.


I'm cutting off the sides of an LGB #4073 gondola to simulate a D&RGW pipe gondola. Below shows a prototype car, and then below that is a diagram of the LGB car. The red sections will be removed:






I've never been too good at having the right tool for the right job. And this job looks like I'll need some kind of special saw(s). I'll have to cut pretty close to the parts I'm keeping to limit the amount of filing sanding. And cutting along the car deck looks to be pretty hard to do.


So what should I use for the two down cuts? A dovetail saw, a miter box saw, or even a razor saw? I think a hack saw wouldn't work because it would be too wide and hit the side of the car as I cut. And most razor saws are not tall enough to go all the way down. Meaning I can start the cut fine but as I go down, the thicker top of the saw will end up hitting the side of the car...the part that stays.


Then what about the cross cut along the decking? That will be tough to do. Maybe a flush cutting saw like this:

MicroMark flush cutting saw


Thankfully since I'll be repainting the entire car; smoothing and sanding won't be too much of an issue. But I'd like to minimize damaging the adjoining parts as much as possible.


Again, I'm not too good when it comes to tools. And I have very few power tools at my disposal. This includes a Dremel with basic bits, a drill, and an old Black & Decker saber saw.

So what would you use to remove the ends of this gondola, while trying hard not to damage the adjoining parts too badly?
 

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I think a zona saw like you showed would work well for that. Zona saws are forms of Japanese word working saws and are distinguished by the fact that the kerf they cut is the same as the width of the steel in the blade. The tips of the teeth are not angled outward. This means you can use them to cut material flush with a flat surface without scratching the surface (much).

I LOVE my zona saws. I use them for lots of wood working tasks when small EXACT cuts need to be made...especially dovetails. Don't use the thinner bladed zona saws when free cutting...they are difficult to control. The eXacto saw variant of the zona saw with the upper blade guide is better for free cutting. Zona saws come in all kinds of thicknesses, and the more thick they are, the more they are OK to use when free cutting.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dremel really?

What type of cutting disk or attachment?


I planned on using mine for fine tuning and grinding, but if it can also do the cutting that would be nice too.
 

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I use my zona saw for everything. Well, almost.

The zona saw is the tool the razor saw imitates.
 

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Matt,

Over the years, I've tried many tools to cut into plastic rolling stock for kitbashes. The best one I have found for straight cuts is an Xacto razor saw. I think that's the correct name. You can buy several blades from fine to coarse. Your choice will depend on the thickness of the material and length of the cut. I usually prefer the fine. It takes a little longer but the results give a very smooth edge.

Here's a picture of what I'm referring to:

 

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Two words: DREMEL TOOL!


I don't use my Dremel for cutting plastic very often. The high-speed melts the edges, l;eaving you with a lot of clean-up.

I did cut hoppers with a modellers table saw that I got from Micromark. I added a motor speed control so I could get it not to melt the plastic! The problem with it is that you only get one chance to start it right.

Those Japanese saws (Zona) are highly recommended for flush cuts. My woodworker buddy uses a big one for all kinds of jobs.

I use a razor saw as I haven't got around to buying the zona yet!
[url]http://www.micromark.com/RAZOR-SAW-BLADE-1-1and4-x-5-x-24-TPI,7858.html [/url]
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the responses.

Zona sounds like the preferable tool. I actually have a Zona saw for the HO layout. But the blade I have is fairly short. I'll have to look around for a taller blade for use with it.

That Xacto blade with teeth is really neat. I haven't see anything like that before. Looks like it would be very useful for a variety of jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Did some cutting this evening to see how it would work. Turned out great!

I used a Zona cutter for most of the work and then one of those neat Xacto saw blades to clean things up. Both worked really well for this project. The Zona blade that worked the best was a saber blade.
 

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Doc,

Thanks for the pic/hedzup on the exacto saw blades! Didn't even know they existed. I was using ground-down (tang) saber saw blades, but the kerf is wider and the blades can be pretty fragile.

Les
 

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No problem Les, Gary. I try to help when I can. That's one of the benefits of a site like this one. I've learned a lot from the people who post here.

Doc
 
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