Saturday, February 13, 2010

Super Tip: How to Make Straight Cuts in Plastic Rod

I was browsing the FTW blog roll tonight, as I haven't been able to get on for a couple of days and came across the following post by Cannon Fodder over at Path of the Outcast:

Yes I love his take of turning Flamer Troops into Melta Gunners. Simple elegance!

I couldn't help noticing that he mentions having to sand one side of his plastic tubing after cutting and I thought I would share a little something I thought of a while ago while cutting tubes to convert up my Shadowsword.

Having trouble cutting the tubing straight I though to myself, "I really wish I had a Mitre Box for this!"

So I made one...

The trick is to make it out of a firm material with slots that will; A) Hold your Razor Saw straight, B) Do so without damaging the saw as it slides, C) Be box-like so it holds the plastic tube in a slot so you don't have it moving around while cutting, D) BE able to clamp down to the edge of your work desk.

The first points two are a given as you want the stuff cut straight and you don't want to have to buy a new razor saw or blades all the time. Obviously you down't want the material you are cutting to slide around while working. The last point is all about comfort and control, which will give you better cuts at the end of the day.

The easiest solution I found was to use two pieces of an old computer case front, the plastic shell around a drive bay actually. I cut and filed the interior supports out and then pinned and glued the two parts together with epoxy. Lastly I marked a slot using a straight edge (the builder's tool), and cut a slot slowly and carefully with the razor saw, making sure to keep the slot at 90 degrees.
It looks like this.

from the side

From the Front

I clamp it down in my little bench vice via the "L-Shaped" piece on the bottom.

The angled cutouts at the top were added recently to accommodate a GW razor saw that I picked up one day when I killed my last jewelers' blade and needed to get a mini finished.
As you can see it has seen a bit of use, evident by the ware and tear in the slot. I think that before much longer I will have to make a new one.

There are two awesome reasons to make one. First you get repeatable straight cuts in plastic tubing. Second you have less wastage due to crooked cuts, meaning you save money.
So for anyone working with plastic tubing I can say this helps me out, feel free to make one and give it a whirl.

Another an upside it also helps prevent "Oops! Honey we need to make a trip to the hospital" syndrome.