Anyone made a homemade torch guide?
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  1. #1
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    Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Ok guys, I got a piece of 1 inch plate for my tabletop, next step i need to cut the top to my desired size, so... the question is, has anyone ever made a homemade track burner/ cutting guide for cutting long straight lines. Yes, I could get fairly good results by hand or just clamping a piece of angle on it, but i kinda wanted to get this really smooth the first time. Might be another fun project and useful tool also. I dunno, probaly goofy idea, but its sunday and im bored and looking for more trouble to get into.
    Thanks, Nick
    Nick

  2. #2
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    I've always used a peice of 1/4"x 2" flat bar 50" long w/ small pieces of same welded to the face every foot w/ the end ones set in 2 inches from the end. You can clamp it down on a 4 foot plate and the gap under it holds it up off the surface. This way the straight portion of the tip is in contact w/ the straight edge.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Nick go with the angle iron clamped on and be happy... I built a roller type track for my victor and after setting it on fire the first go round I decided to toss it...

  4. #4
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    mla2ofus, sounds like a good idea, i dunno if i have it pictured just right though.

    84zmiki, haha, that sounds like something that would happen to me!! I should probaly just stay with the tried and true primitive ways. Thanks for the replies
    Nick

  5. #5
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    I've always used a peice of 1/4"x 2" flat bar 50" long
    Same idea but I've got a piece of 3 x 3/4 flat 24" long, doesn't move around at all......Mike

  6. #6
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Well, in the field, I use a Johnson speed square to make cuts and angles, then a flat 3/8x2 flat bar makes a guide. But if I have a plasma, I use the square as a guide. I have both the cheap plastic Johnson and the aluminum kind. Both hold up well to the plasma. The OA torch will overheat both if used directly for a guide too long.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by trailgoose View Post
    Ok guys, I got a piece of 1 inch plate for my tabletop, next step i need to cut the top to my desired size, so... the question is, has anyone ever made a homemade track burner/ cutting guide for cutting long straight lines. Yes, I could get fairly good results by hand or just clamping a piece of angle on it, but i kinda wanted to get this really smooth the first time. Might be another fun project and useful tool also. I dunno, probaly goofy idea, but its sunday and im bored and looking for more trouble to get into.
    Thanks, Nick
    You could certainly do it, but a standard (manual) torch isn't going to be real easy to set up for this. Not designed to be mounted easily, and the low clearance may be.... interesting.... to work around. Also, the gas lines might be tough to deal with, down low.

    Used machine torches are available, and sometimes pretty inexpensive on their own (without the drive, track or pantograph) and would probably be easier to design around.

  8. #8
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    I've seen pictures of track torches. If i remember, the mixer/valves are in line with the head, not like on a regular hand torch.

    I suppose if a guy isn't doin' it on a production basis, the best way is to draw a line with a silver pencil, and go for it. If you hold the torch as far back as you can, and keep your hands on a steady rest, you can move the torch in an arc, and cut without moving your hands. You can do a straight line for at least a foot, maybe a foot and a half this way. Reset your hands, and do it again.

    I don't have steady enough hands to do 4 feet of straight line strictly off hand. I've seen guys do just that , and I just wanna puke
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

  9. #9
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Steadiness and speed control are as important as height and line control.

    Lacking Enlpck's line burner; the next best thing would be to mimic it's steadiness and consistent travel speed.

    If you put a washer, or better yet, a set screw locked shaft collar on the torch tip, it makes for a better steady-rest and guide point than just the torch's tip nut.

    If you put the torch tip through a "bridge" and lay the bridge between two straight edges with guides, this steadies the torch's side-to-side movement, and makes for a place for your other hand to better help control the torch. Rub soap-stone on the "slides" to make movement smoother.

    I bought a garage sale variable speed barbecue roaster motor; it was too neat and cheap to pass up. I thought that something like the roaster motor would make a neat constant speed torch pull-motor.

    Steel wheeled roller skate and a cable pull-motor.... whhhheeeeeeew, look at that cut!

  10. #10
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Denrep, do you have pics?
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

  11. #11
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersamm View Post
    Denrep, do you have pics?
    No pics of the cable pull, I never built one. That was an idea I had for cutting former large round tank walls, to long lengths of accurate size. A line burner would have been difficult to set up on the curved tank sides.

    Or are you thinking of some other cutting or guide pics?
    Last edited by denrep; 11-30-2008 at 11:41 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Anything Alfred sees fit to release from the archives will do Providing it ain't a breach of security

    Everything I've tried involves torch angle, and travel, as you've pointed out. I usually just give up and trust my hands. Seems that the ol' noodle does a better job of controling the variables sometimes.

    It has to be reasonably cheap, so it can sit on the shelf for long periods. Plus, I can't figure why anyone would want that kind of control for longer than maybe a foot. But, then again, I spend a good part of my day sniffin' cow gas
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

  13. #13
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Thanks in advance
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

  14. #14
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersamm View Post
    Anything Alfred sees fit to release from the archives will do Providing it ain't a breach of security

    Everything I've tried involves torch angle, and travel, as you've pointed out. I usually just give up and trust my hands. Seems that the ol' noodle does a better job of controling the variables sometimes.

    It has to be reasonably cheap, so it can sit on the shelf for long periods. Plus, I can't figure why anyone would want that kind of control for longer than maybe a foot. But, then again, I spend a good part of my day sniffin' cow gas
    "breach of security"
    weld it like you own it

  15. #15
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersamm View Post
    I spend a good part of my day sniffin' cow gas
    Let's hope you're not cuttin' around that methane or there might be an unintentional BBQ event.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    There's some pretty innovative stuff that comes offa the inside lane of the Sagamore Bridge. If it's safe, I want to see it.

    I like seein' the fog "burst asunder". Lot of stuff I need to learn.
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

  17. #17
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersamm View Post
    ...Plus, I can't figure why anyone would want that kind of control for longer than maybe a foot....
    Right, setup and trial run can take as long as the actual cut, but if you're cutting on an expensive piece -or making a cut on a bench top that will be critiqued for years to come- it's worth it.
    Last edited by denrep; 12-01-2008 at 12:49 AM.

  18. #18
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    Let's hope you're not cuttin' around that methane or there might be an unintentional BBQ event.
    Little known secret. First revealed here.

    That's the reason I ain't got whiska's
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  19. #19
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by denrep View Post
    Right, setup and trial run can take as long as the actual cut, but if you're cutting on an expensive piece -or making a cut on a bench top that will be critiqued for years to come- it's worth it.


    Yup, security and safety is always a concern.
    Alfred wanted to build some questionable part once.
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    I forgot the "show the welds". This could follow a guy for a lifetime.

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  20. #20
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Nick

    I did exactly what you are trying to do but I took a different approach since my cutting torch skills could use some work. I got a piece of 3/4" plate 4'x4' that had two finished edges and two rough torch cut edges. What I did was take the head off my Milwaukee chop saw and mount it to a piece of 4" channel so the blade is perpindicular to the base of the channel. What is not shown in the pictures are the deep throat clamps used to hold the channel down to the tabletop. You want to start the cut with the blade rotational axis about 3" beyond the edge of the table so you are not making a flat cut but cutting into an edge. You can cut about 2" at a time before moving the machine and reclamping. It took me about 40 minutes to cut one side and I used up a 14" wheel in the process. You get pretty tired of the noise by the end of the cut but the good news is that it gives almost a machine finish and it is very straight.

    Jim
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    Cut an MGB and widened 11" C4 Corvette suspension and LT1 Chevrolet power & 6 spd. Pictures here:
    Part 1
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  21. #21
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    I think you may win the award for the best unintended use of a tool. Don't tell Milwaukee...
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  22. #22
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Jim-- I bet the neighbors loved hearin' that chop saw for that long

    Did the blade try to bind in the cut at any time?
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

  23. #23
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    I always tried to work with the oldest hand on the job to gain knowlege but now I can't find any.

  24. #24
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersamm View Post
    Jim-- I bet the neighbors loved hearin' that chop saw for that long

    Did the blade try to bind in the cut at any time?
    I actually took a half day off work and did it when most everybody was gone, including my wife. I try to not make loud noise before 10:00 or after 5:00 to preserve peace with the neighbors.

    If you set the saw head up correctly so the blade is vertical and parallel with the channel base. it cuts surprisingly well. In the last picture shows a couple of "witness marks" from the blade but they can barely be felt with your fingernail. That is the straight edge I use to shear sheetmetal with my Kett shear, don't have room for a stomp shear in the shop.

    Jim
    Cut an MGB and widened 11" C4 Corvette suspension and LT1 Chevrolet power & 6 spd. Pictures here:
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    Part 2
    http://forum.britishv8.org/read.php?13,22422

  25. #25
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    Re: Anyone made a homemade torch guide?

    Alfred said he'd stay late and whip up a quick "bench trimmer" prototype:
    Attachment 25756
    A chunk of 1" scrap was tacked to the bench so we wouldn't have to trim the actual bench top. Two cuts were made with the prototype.

    No fine detail work or plans, just whatever parts and pieces were handy:
    Attachment 25752

    Attachment 25753
    First cut (above) was okay, but torch was set a little too hot.

    Second cut (below) showed very little slag at the bottom edge.
    Attachment 25754
    The first cut is against the bench, under the pliers.

    The photos exaggerate the cut lines, they are actually quite smooth.
    No cleaning after the cut whatsoever, the pictures show actual "as cut" condition.
    Attachment 25755
    With some refining, cuts could be even better.

    The prototype can stay together for a few days in case someone has a test request or wants other pics; but one of these days it'll have to be cleared off the bench.
    Last edited by denrep; 10-19-2010 at 11:37 PM.

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