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Author Topic: How to cut railroad steel??  (Read 1157 times)

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Offline labradorguy

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How to cut railroad steel??
« on: February 04, 2019, 07:40:40 PM »
I'm going to make a rear bumper for a Cat 299D. I'm planning on using a 7' piece of track that I have to make it then I'm going to weld a mount for a hydraulic winch on it. It's used track, so I imagine that it's been hammered into one tough piece of metal. What am I getting into here? Am I going to need a commercial plasma cutter to do this??

Offline mike_belben

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2019, 07:43:14 PM »
Torch or chopsaw be fine. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline labradorguy

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2019, 07:50:11 PM »
Cool. Thanks!

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 08:32:43 PM »
Well I know they use thermite to weld it, I would imagine you could use it to cut it too, just use caution, thermite doesn't stop burning once it starts :). This crew makes it look easy:



Tom
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 08:42:40 PM »
I just used an O-A cutting torch when I made my anvil out of some 45 lb rail.
John Sawicky

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Offline labradorguy

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2019, 02:25:22 PM »
I'll give it a go. Thanks guys.

Offline 2308500

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2019, 04:42:45 PM »
in my attempts, railroad rail was not suitable for anything structural.  I found it too brittle for structural use on trailers and equipment.

Offline Southside

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2019, 06:59:44 PM »
Put it on your mill and put on a brand new band. I guarantee you that you will be able to cut it!!  :D
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 07:14:26 PM »
Railroad track isnt a standard steel, theres quite a mix of alloys and its hard to figure out which is which.  Lots of variety in rail alloy by use, location, era.  


Preheat and postheat as best you can no matter how you are welding it.  Theres a lot of carbon in there. 
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Offline labradorguy

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 07:25:04 PM »
in my attempts, railroad rail was not suitable for anything structural.  I found it too brittle for structural use on trailers and equipment.
Well.... I'm not building a bridge with it. I think it will make a heck of a bumper. I'm sure it will stand up to me backing into a post oak.  :D

Offline starmac

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2019, 07:57:34 PM »
From my experience, the post will not be the problem, but keeping it welded to any brackets will be. We used to build cattle guards out of them, but it was way more trouble than pipe keeping them together. They make great railroads and somewhat usable anvils, pretty good drags too.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2019, 08:54:06 PM »
The recent posts about welding issues make me think there is a reason why they weld the track with thermite, which if you think about it, is a pretty costly and time consuming way to do things because of the hazards and all the cleanup work, chipping, grinding, etc. Likely they do this because it is the only way to get it hot enough for a good joint, they use smelting temperatures. SO, lots of pre-heating at the very least would be in order here, I think, or bolt on the base-plate, and weld to that. 
 I had put up the thermite thing as a tongue in cheek comment, but now maybe I am not so sure. I am however,  sure you can make it work Labrador. We want to see photos.
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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2019, 10:52:31 AM »
I think you have a good idea. I'll bolt it to a couple plates and tack them to the Cat. Thanks.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2019, 12:35:08 PM »
Maybe you could use some of those old track plates (I don't know the correct term) that they use to hold the rail to a wooden tie? That would look pretty cool.
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Online longtime lurker

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2019, 05:33:09 AM »
Preheat, postheat and low hydrogen rods. 
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Offline submarinesailor

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Re: How to cut railroad steel??
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2019, 11:18:09 PM »
Don't know if it's any help or not.  But before you weld pieces/sections of submarine pressure hull together.  It must be heated to 400-460 degrees before you can start.  The old hulls were HY80 and if I understand it correctly, the new stuff is HY 100.

Bruce


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