Author Topic: Stupid Mistake 110: The Sweet Ga-Zing of Cutting Brass  (Read 822 times)

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Stupid Mistake 110: The Sweet Ga-Zing of Cutting Brass
« on: June 16, 2013, 01:04:08 AM »
I bought one of the miniature cut-off saws with a 2" diameter blade at least three years ago. I unpacked it eagerly and noticed the incredibly sloppy and ungainly holding mechanism. I also noticed this little beasty was probably the most dangerous tool I ever bought. I could just see me reaching in to retrieve a part before the blade had stopped, and slicing off a top knuckle. I was more afraid of this little beasty than I was of my monster 10-inch grinder, the machine that would sand a 100x-varnished picnic table down to bare wood in a few seconds, bolt heads included.

A few weeks ago I had a job that demanded I finally use the little beasty. I needed to build an exhaust pipe for one of my ships that had a 30 degree bend. So set the sloppy guide at 15 degrees, then back to 0 degrees. It worked like a charm. The little blade zinged through the brass tubing, leaving no sharp flash to clean up.

I cut a whole lot of bent exhaust pipes, since I had the tool working and brass tubing on hand. One swipe with a 320-grit sandpaper stick, and the surfaces superglued themselves together as if connected by suction.

Last night, I had to make four stovepipe ventilators. I had the perfect 4mm tubing, which needed to be 5mm high. I'd realized that I could overcome that ungainly holder by marking the tubing at 5mm intervals, and just sacrificing the first cut by whatever the blade offset was. What I didn't have was my safety glasses, which were at the main house across the way for a taxing grout removal job.

OK, if I leaned far to the left, and closed my eyes after setting each cut, nothing bad could happen, right?

Actually, right. I made the first sacrificial cut, and watched as the cut-off piece flew out to the right. With my eyes mostly closed, I relied on my hearing. I heard ga-zing--fop--bing! The ga-zing was the cutting and ejection to the right. The fop was the piece, which was fairly sizable for N scale, hitting the curtain a few feet to the right. The bing was the piece dropping from the curtain onto a metal heating register on the carpeted floor.

I retrieved the first piece. Man, that was a nice cut! Let's make a dozen.

So I cut eleven more, keeping my head far to the left, eyes nearly closed, listening to the ga-zing-fop-bing each time. This was so much better than laboring with a razor saw in a miter box!

Ga-zing-fop-bing! Music to my ears. I could do this blindfolded--well, not really, as that screwy mechanism needed alignment for each cut. But otherwise blindfolded, with my eyes at no risk.

Now I had enough ventilators for six ships. All I had to do was pick them up off the floor. . .

Remember that nice little bing at the end of ga-zing-fop-bing? The bing was the brass part falling on the metal of a heating register, which, I now noticed, obviously has openings for the hot air to escape upwards. Or miniature ventilator shafts to dive into.

Seven of my N scale ventilator shafts now reside somewhere deep inside the real world ventilator shafts of my house.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 12:20:23 PM by pnolan48 »


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Re: Stupid Mistake 110: The Sweet Ga-Zing of Cutting Brass
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 11:13:15 AM »
Happy Father's Day!  :D

Mike C

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Re: Stupid Mistake 110: The Sweet Ga-Zing of Cutting Brass
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 02:17:13 PM »
  I don't care who you are, now THAT'S funny......Mike


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Re: Stupid Mistake 110: The Sweet Ga-Zing of Cutting Brass
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2013, 12:31:44 AM »
Would there be any way to put the saw in a cardboard box, arranged like a paint booth, so that the only way parts could come out is towards you?  You'd have to wear your safety glasses, but at least you wouldn't lose the pieces.
N Kalanaga
Be well