View Full Version : Cutting Arca rails - any problems ?

Dave Tolcher
22-Mar-2013, 01:51
I have a 45cm rail which for packing purposes I would like to split into a 15cm and a 30cm rail. Apart from ensuring absolute accuracy in the cut will this give any problems ? Alternative is to find an old style 15cm rail if anyone has one spare !:o



evan clarke
22-Mar-2013, 04:21
I did a rail for one of my 8x10 Arcas..just run it through the bandsaw square, chamfer the edges a little and you're good to go.

Dave Tolcher
22-Mar-2013, 05:50
Evan, many thanks - good news. My later rails have some teeth missing where the join is and I wondered whether that was significant.

Drew Wiley
22-Mar-2013, 10:12
Is this an aluminum rail? If so, I'd sandwich it between wood and clamp it well into a mitre saw with a decent nonferrous
carbide blade, and use an appropriate lubricant. Don't use a woodcutting blade. If it's a steel rail, there is a similar device
called a cutoff saw which uses abrasive blades. Any machine shop will have this, and many contractors. You can also do it
in a shop vise with a handheld grinder with the appropriate disc, but it's easier to screw up things that way, and you won't
get a precise cut.

neil poulsen
22-Mar-2013, 18:00
I had a metal person cut a 40cm bench and a couple of extra rails down for a more compact bench and rails, and it worked fine.

John Schneider
23-Mar-2013, 22:18
I've done this to several Arca rails (put them in a metal bandsaw and then endmill the edges square) with no problem. There is no issue if the teeth don't exactly match when they're done; the function carriers seem to accommodate just fine.

The next time I do this, I want to try to peel off the strip with the cm markings before bandsawing, and then carefully slice this and reapply. Otherwise you lose a few mm's of markings, and your first rail will run 0-15cm, and the other ~15.5-45cm. I'd rather not have a mismatch, number-wise.

Dave Tolcher
24-Mar-2013, 00:13
Thanks John, good tip - I will look at that.