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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of converting an O scale Alco S2 and a EMD SW9 calf into slug units to mate with a couple Bethlehem Steel rail road switchers.

Basically, I need to lower the height of the long hoods by about half. That requires making straight cuts of about 9”.

I don’t own a band saw and would probably need to use a hand tool of some sort.

Any suggestions as to how I could accomplish this? Thanks.

Tom
 

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Off the top of my head, the best way I can think of to do this by hand is to start with a dremmel or coping saw and make your cuts slightly away from your target cutting line. You want to leave a little space for when the saw starts to wander. Then you can clean up the cut surfaces by taping some sandpaper to a flat table and use that to bring your lines back to true.
 

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Instead of using a belt sander, I would do the final sanding using a hand held sanding block.

Do you have a table saw? If so, make a jig with the cross section in the shape of an inverted T and with length equal or close to your cut length. Use 1X material or plywood for the flange/base of the T and 2X material (or whatever dimension will fit closely inside the shell) as the web. The height of the web should be equal to the height from the base of the shell to the final cut line. Set the shell on the flange/base and sand till you hit the web. You can mark the web to tell when you start to hit it.

Not sure if this is clear and I suspect there are a few here that have done a similar cut before and probably have a better method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Instead of using a belt sander, I would do the final sanding using a hand held sanding block.

Do you have a table saw? If so, make a jig with the cross section in the shape of an inverted T and with length equal or close to your cut length. Use 1X material or plywood for the flange/base of the T and 2X material (or whatever dimension will fit closely inside the shell) as the web. The height of the web should be equal to the height from the base of the shell to the final cut line. Set the shell on the flange/base and sand till you hit the web. You can mark the web to tell when you start to hit it.

Not sure if this is clear and I suspect there are a few here that have done a similar cut before and probably have a better method.
I do have an old Craftsman table saw from the 80’s. With your ideas and some experimenting, I could probably go that route...

Tom
 

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Off the top of my head, the best way I can think of to do this by hand is to start with a dremmel or coping saw and make your cuts slightly away from your target cutting line. You want to leave a little space for when the saw starts to wander. Then you can clean up the cut surfaces by taping some sandpaper to a flat table and use that to bring your lines back to true.
That's what I do when waterlining ship model hulls. Get it close with a Dremel cutoff wheel. Get it closer with a belt sander. Get it there with sandpaper taped to table top.
 

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I think no matter how you cut it, the sand paper glued to the table to finish it is still a good idea. High speed things like saws and drills can really bum up plastic as the heat will start to melt things. What ever you do, take your time and go slow!
 

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Been there, done that. I would take the body off and use a band saw, then carefully file it. The thing about most hand filing - keep this in mind - is that despite your efforts you tend to get a slightly curved surface. You have to be aware of that and work against it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank for the pointers, John, Lee and Lemonhawk. I am looking at buying a band saw as I have some other projects where I can use one.

I will take my time and do this carefully....

Tom
 

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I've cut tons of plastic with the bandsaw. I run at low speed and use a metal blade, cuts slower but generates less heat.
So do it. You need enpough speed to keep it smooth, but with a metal cutting blade and its fine teeth, you can do that and still have a slow enough speed you don't generate heat and melt much plastic.

One thing to consider is the width of the cut - you need to allow for that. It can matter given the fine dimensions and close fit you are going for in many models. The blades I use "eat" almost 2/3 or more of a mm of plastic in making the cut - the cut itself is that wide. This is much wider than, say, a fine razor saw will make.
 
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