Track saw rails . . . which one works for my saw?

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Spectric

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You will always be better off with a single rail of suitable length rather than joining smaller sections and I believe the cheaper rails have more issues with the connectors and alignment, even some of the bigger brands are not perfect. There are some better connectors out there which claim perfection but cannot verify, maybe someone can but watch the video .

Would it not be great if all the tracks were the same, no compatability issues and there was a common design. Surely the OEM's make there money on the saws and so why specialise on the tracks, this is like the very early days of the railways where they had not standardised tracks but came to their senses luckily.
 

AES

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Regarding joining track saw rails, I stress I do not have a track saw, and therefore no rails!

But as a reasonably competent "metal basher" I wonder why people don't make their own joiners. I SUGGEST the following which only needs a reasonably accurate capability with a hack saw and a file or two:

1. Select a piece of sheet steel of the same thickness as the inside of the "U" channel. The joiner should slip snugly into that channel. NO plastic please (I THINK some of the plastic joiners are plastic. I don't care what sort of plastic, IMO that type of joiner cannot possibly withstand the bending moment put on it when you lift 2 rails joined with those things for very long);

2. Hacksaw a piece off your piece of chosen steel. IMO, it should be about 30 cm (12 inches) long. To me, ALL the shop-bought joiners I've seen in vids such as Peter Millard's are just too short! For the same basic reason as in point 1. above;

3. ACCURATELY cut and file your 30 cm piece of steel so that it is a SNUG sliding fit into the "U" channel. Note that due to the nature of ali extrusions, the corners of the "U" slot are going to be slightly radiused. You'll need a fine file to SLOWLY and carefully copy those radii on to your steel joiner. Again, a SNUG fit is what we're after;

4. Drill and tap 4 holes into your joiner, suitable thread size for the "U" channel. I'd guess about 4 or 5 mm, perhaps 6 mm (?) will do it;

5. Position those 4 holes so that the extreme LH and RH holes are within, say, 10 mm away from each end of the joiner. The other 2 holes should be positioned so that they are, I'd guess, 10 mm each side of the exact centre line of your joiner;

6. Choose bolts with head type so that when fastened into position, the head doesn't foul the passage of the saw along the rail. I guess that means C/S (but repeat, I don't own such saw or rail/s, so am not even sure if the bed of the saw plate does indeed pass over the heads of the joiner bolts. You'll have to check with your own particular saw/rail combo). The LENGTH of those 4 bolts will be critical (as measured when the bolts are driven fully home). That's easy. Just insert any nut onto a joiner bolt, keep checking/testing, and keep filing tiny amounts off until the bolt tightens the joiner on to the rail without any distortion. Then copy that length onto the other 3 bolts. BTW, putting a nut onto the bolt to be shortened before cutting/filing to length is simply to ensure that there is no "rough rag" on the end of the bolt, as removing the nut automatically restores any thread deformation. Perhaps a light touch with a needle file will finish off any remaining ragged thread portion. Make sure that the cut end of each joiner bolt is dead square to the axis of the bolt. That way, when tightened, the whole bolt end will bear evenly on the bottom of the "U" channel.

If all that above sounds/reads long-winded, I'd guess that the average user needs only one joiner, max two.

I'm sure I could knock out such a joiner from scratch in about 30 mins. If not used to metal bench working, you may need a bit longer, but A) it's a good way of improving a useful hand-skill if you don't already have that experience, and B), without KNOWING, I "reckon" that the above home-made joiner will produce rail joiners which will be long-lasting and produce a stiffer and more accurately aligned joint between two rails than any of the shop-bought joiners I've seen in videos, etc.

I may be wrong - "your mileage may vary", etc, etc. Offered FWIW
 
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robgul

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There is an argument to make a rail from a stable length of plywood (up to 2.4m!) and just run a normal circular saw along it - several YT videos have various flavours of the idea.
 

Spectric

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With the Makita joiners they are each in two halves, the grub screws effectively push these two halves apart to lock them in the track. This means the grub screws do not contact the actual ali track and potentially indent or mark it.

Looking at the TSO product this uses grub screws that do make contact so is this an issue or not, looking at the TSO profile shows how in theory it self aligns

 

Spectric

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There is an argument to make a rail from a stable length of plywood (up to 2.4m!) and just run a normal circular saw along it - several YT videos have various flavours of the idea.
I had a stable length of angle iron that I used pre tracksaw, just heavy but it worked. If the plywood version catches on then I have a Bosch GKS65 up for grabs!
 

AES

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There is an argument to make a rail from a stable length of plywood (up to 2.4m!) and just run a normal circular saw along it - several YT videos have various flavours of the idea.


Yep, that's what I've done. I have an "ordinary" circular saw and a member here sent me a PM describing how to make that. As I seldom cut up sheet goods it does fine for me.

But having watched Peter Millard's vids I can well understand why people who cut up a lot of sheet goods would invest in a plunge saw and rails, but it makes no sense for me.

But for those who do have such tools I offered the above post to try and help solve the "problem" of joining tracks. I'd GUESS one could even conjure up a joiner/s to join tracks with dissimilar "U" channels?

As said, just offered FWIW.
 

petermillard

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There is an argument to make a rail from a stable length of plywood (up to 2.4m!) and just run a normal circular saw along it - several YT videos have various flavours of the idea.
I showed how to make an 8’ rail from MDF in the tracksaw workshop set of videos, basically just a version of the sawboard many of us made and used pre-tracksaw. You could go all-in and add a replaceable splinterguard, grippy strips etc… but the basic board worked well. Hilariously, I made the rib that the saw references off with short 700mm joined rails that I moved up the workpiece on DIY parallel guides, and had about 0.006mm variation from one end of the 16mm rib to the other, thereby proving perhaps, that a long rail is more a convenience than a necessity. 👍
 

sams93

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The ones with the broader ‘rubbed’ low friction strips are of the 1500 Excel track, the ones with the smooth are the 700 track.
 

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robgul

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From what I am reading here, some manufacturers cannot even get compatibility between their own tracks.

Taking it a step further wouldn't it be great if all battery tool brands had a common platform . . . the reasons why not are obvious from the manufacturers' perspective but it is a frustration when, for example, there is a "global standard" for batteries (AA, AAA etc etc.) both single use and rechargeable.
 

Jonm

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Taking it a step further wouldn't it be great if all battery tool brands had a common platform
The manufacturers cannot even agree on what the voltage of a li-ion cell is. Five banks of cells can be described is 18 volt, 20 volt and 20 volt max.
 

AES

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Agreed 110%!

I think part of it (the voltage for example) is "Marketing flower arrangers" - "Mine's 20 V, so it must be better than his 18 V". And the difference in batteries is, I'm pretty sure, an obvious attempt to "tie" a user to a specific brand. One reads here fairly often, "I've standardised on Brand X, meaning I don't need different chargers" - just an example.

This does all make sense to a certain extent, especially if a tradesman, but I agree, for "the rest" (like me) it's certainly annoying, to say the very least.

But as someone has already remarked, "we" can't even standardise on mains plugs. Not even within Europe. And leaving out UK's fused plugs, often not even the rest are compatible, e.g. Swiss & German plugs are not.
 

AES

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That is one big advantage of corded tools, not being tied to a brand to ensure battery compatability. Corded tools allow you to pick and choose any brand that can deliver a specific function rather than just having something that does the job because your batteries fit.

+1!

Also no problems with batteries going finally dead long before the tool itself has given up, then finding out that new batteries are too expensive - or sometimes even impossible - to replace.

BUT: I don't know how it is in UK these days, but here it's virtually impossible to find "ordinary" electric tools (such as a drill, sander, or jig saw) on the shelves of typical everyday DIY, etc outlets.

"It's ALL a conspiracy I tell you!" :) (But not so funny really).
 

Jonm

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, "I've standardised on Brand X, meaning I don't need different chargers"
Not just the chargers but the batteries as well, particularly when they need replacing.

"we" can't even standardise on mains plugs
UK plugs are the safest in the world, fused with built in shutter on the sockets covering live and neutral. Any “standardisation” would result in a compromise with lower safety for us.

Look at standardised wiring. The standard danger colour is red, our wires used to be red for live. Now it is brown (earth colour) for live. The other danger colour is yellow, our earth wires are now yellow and green. Complete nonsense.

We used to have siphonic toilet flush with external tell tale. If the siphon went faulty the flush stopped working, so people had to get it fixed. If the inlet valve went faulty then water flowed outside. Most people seeing water running out of their house would do something about it.

Then we allowed “foreign” standards, flap type valves and tell tales flowing in to the bowl. Fault on the flap valve and they leak water in to the bowl. Fault on the inlet valve and water flows in to the bowl. Most people will either not notice or assume it is meant to do it. I said years ago that it would result in wasted water and recently there were reports in the press about how much water is being wasted by leaking toilets.
 

GuitardoctorW7

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Not just the chargers but the batteries as well, particularly when they need replacing.


UK plugs are the safest in the world, fused with built in shutter on the sockets covering live and neutral. Any “standardisation” would result in a compromise with lower safety for us.

Look at standardised wiring. The standard danger colour is red, our wires used to be red for live. Now it is brown (earth colour) for live. The other danger colour is yellow, our earth wires are now yellow and green. Complete nonsense.

We used to have siphonic toilet flush with external tell tale. If the siphon went faulty the flush stopped working, so people had to get it fixed. If the inlet valve went faulty then water flowed outside. Most people seeing water running out of their house would do something about it.

Then we allowed “foreign” standards, flap type valves and tell tales flowing in to the bowl. Fault on the flap valve and they leak water in to the bowl. Fault on the inlet valve and water flows in to the bowl. Most people will either not notice or assume it is meant to do it. I said years ago that it would result in wasted water and recently there were reports in the press about how much water is being wasted by leaking toilets.
The reason it changed to Brown-live, Blue-neutral, Green/Yellow- earth was I believe to overcome the most common form of colour blindness Red/Green
 

Spectric

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We used to have siphonic toilet flush with external tell tale. If the siphon went faulty the flush stopped working, so people had to get it fixed. If the inlet valve went faulty then water flowed outside. Most people seeing water running out of their house would do something about it.

Then we allowed “foreign” standards, flap type valves and tell tales flowing in to the bowl. Fault on the flap valve and they leak water in to the bowl.
I believe the old overflow pipe went some while back, it has been incorporated into the newer siphonic type flush and now overflows into the bowl. They are still my prefered type of flush because they don't leak, the flap types get dirt under them and they will pass water, even worse if you are on a meter. Another reason may be cosmetic because rather than a lever that requires some effort, with a flap valve you can use a push button.

Having a fuse in the plug allows better protection of the item pluged in, for example you could fuse at 3 amps and use a light with 0.5mm wiring. Without that fuse then the wiring of anything pluged in should in theory be capable of taking the full short circuit current of the protective device protecting that supply, ie a 32 amp type B device would need that wiring to hold fault currents of 3 to 5 times rated current, in otherwords at least 90 amps.

I have not looked at the american wiring which uses unfused plugs but it would be interesting to see how they protect what is pluged in, is each socket individualy protected.

Yes it was to do with color recognition that we fell in line with the EU standards back when we agreed to harmonisation in early 2000, please lets not let Borris know otherwise he may decide to revert back to the original UK colors and cause more chaos.
 

Jonm

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The reason it changed to Brown-live, Blue-neutral, Green/Yellow- earth was I believe to overcome the most common form of colour blindness Red/Green
Traffic lights are red and green, red for danger, green for safe.

Yes it was to do with color recognition that we fell in line with the EU standards back when we agreed to harmonisation in early 2000,

This goes back to at least the early seventies. Here is an article from the institution of technology.

Towards the bottom is an article by David Latimer who had a career within the standard-setting processes of the Wiring Regulations, culminating in Chairman of the IEC (worldwide) and CENELEC (European) Committees from 1990 to 2002.

He says that
“So it was that, in Berlin in 1974, the UK were told without warning that flexes were to have a blue neutral and the phase conductor would be blue (my note I think this is a typo, should be black) or brown and which did we want? We clearly could not accept black as a phase conductor (Ireland already used blue and black flexes but used black as the neutral and blue as the phase conductor); I went to an ad-hoc working group to discuss the matter, in French, and there was, of course, no alternative to accepting blue for the neutral and so I opted for brown, on condition that the colours of the fixed installation wiring should also be harmonized and they accepted that.”

With regards to colour recognition there is a reference to the different phases
“There are 11 colours available, red was used as a protective conductor in Germany and Austria, yellow was used as a protective conductor in Italy and green was used in the UK. Orange is not available because it is either too near yellow or too near red, purple is not available because it is too near red or blue and turquoise is not available because it is too near blue. Pink is not available because it is too near red.”

So I cannot see that the choice of brown and blue had anything to do with colour recognition, it may possibly be an incidental benefit but not the reason for choice. Some electricians claim that in difficult/awkward locations and poor light it is difficult to tell the current colours apart.
 

Spectric

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Some electricians claim that in difficult/awkward locations and poor light it is difficult to tell the current colours apart.
There is no excuse for working in poor lighting conditions, it is an unsafe working practice and easily avoided these days with LED headtorches. Years ago we would have to use battery torches or rig up a lamp when working say in a understairs cupboard changing a board or in a poorly lit switchroom.

There is also the requirement for someone wishing to undertake electrical training or in electronics to pass a color blindness test before training can be assigned.

When you look at the automotive sector, commercial vehicles or many other areas it is a free for all when it comes to any color coding scheme, some use black for grounds whilst others use brown and some don't use colors, general motors used all white wiring on there engine harnesses and some commercial vehicles used all black vehicle looms and I can clearly remember the large bundles of all pink wiring being fitted into cabinets as part of defence contracts by Marconi's.
 
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