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Cutting LEGO (a.k.a. Yes, it's ok to mod a brick sometimes...)

MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
edited December 2013 in Building and Techniques
I need to cut a LEGO plate into two pieces. Specifically a Round 4 x 4 plate with Hole
4x4
(Part number 60474). I'd like to bisect it into two 2x4 segments, but I'm not sure of the best way to do it.
Should I use a sharp knife, a saw, or a burning hot wire to melt right through it?
I'd appreciate anyone's input on this.

Comments

  • ludzikludzik US (SoCal)Member Posts: 430
    do you want all 4 pieces to be the right size without any loss in width? If so, exacto, multiple passes over the same line. Saw will cause a loss of width (think were the shavings come from :D ) Melting with a hot wire, will cause discoloration, curling and shrinkage (I accidentally had a piece of lego exposed to heat resulting in part of it melting) and potentially warping though on a smaller brick you'll have less of warping.
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    ^ An exacto knife should work well, and I would also recommend placing a 2x4 plate on one side and using it as a guide to make a straight and centered cut.
    jasor
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    ^Thanks for the tips. Just waiting for the parts to arrive from BL - I'll step out and get an Exacto knife in the meantime. Thanks.
  • chuckpchuckp NYMember Posts: 683
    In case, the standard x-acto blade doesn't work for you, x-acto also makes very fine saw blades too. The few times I've had to trim of broken ends of old LEGO hinge plates the saw blades worked for me.
  • KiwiLegoMeisterKiwiLegoMeister New ZealandMember Posts: 212
    I've had to cut a few straight track pieces; I simply use a hacksaw, but careful enough that I can shorten two pieces to be held together with a place between (I preserve the end pieces to connect on to other track pieces ....)
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,379
    I prefer to find ways to use the elements that are available, rather than have to defile innocent bricks ;)
    jasorJonn420beegeedeeAllBrick
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324
    Hot wire is quite difficult to control on larger pieces, but probably OK for a plate. Fine saw blades are good if you need both halves.

    I prefer a different method if you still want both halves. Presumably the part you are about to abuse is cheap - otherwise why are you cutting it. If so, get two of them, then use a chop saw / table saw (best to make a jig for it too, to hold it straight). You get a perfect straight edge for the half you want, and chuck away (or abuse in other ways) the waste side. Do it to two parts, and you have the "whole" again.
  • pricey73pricey73 UKMember Posts: 352
    MorkMan said:

    ^Thanks for the tips. Just waiting for the parts to arrive from BL - I'll step out and get an Exacto knife in the meantime. Thanks.

    Looking at what an x-acto knife is and (pardon the pun) it won't cut it, I use a Stanley knife, much stronger than the thin x-acto.
    On one side of the piece to be cut, place a brick or plate, this will be your guide, but mind your fingers .
    Oh and a chopping board is best and not a cutting mat as the knife will go through a mat.
    I'm assuming there are Stanley knives in the US.
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    @pricey73 - I found a new blade inside my Stanley knife, so I'm going to use that. I will be careful! Lord knows I've had enough stitches from cutting things!
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    How about some pics of the result? ;-)
    FollowsClosely
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    I'll do that - I'll get the order by Monday and I'll post pics after.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,324

    How about some pics of the result? ;-)

    Bloody fingers included :-)

    FollowsClosely
  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    I recently cut up a bunch of base plates for my current minifig storage. When I took a knife to the first one I actually felt bad, but soon got over it :) I used one of those cheap razor blade knives from Home Depot and it worked perfectly.image
    khmellymeljasorLegobutterflymargotsnowhitie
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    edited December 2013
  • pricey73pricey73 UKMember Posts: 352
    @MorkMan, Good to see, what have you got planned for the two halves?
    Did you use the Stanley knife?
  • VaderXVaderX Member Posts: 220
    A band saw or scroll saw would be much better than a knife!
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    ^ Sure, and why not use an acetylene torch as well! ;-)
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    ^Well of course you would need the torch to smooth the ruff edge left by the band saw. :)
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    ^ I thought that's what smokes were for...
  • VaderXVaderX Member Posts: 220
    ^Ruff edge? I guess you guys had never used machines before?

    P.S. sand paper would be a much better choice then a torch!
    But then again I don't modify Lego... It's a sin! :)
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    VaderX said:

    ^Ruff edge? I guess you guys had never used machines before?

    P.S. sand paper would be a much better choice then a torch!
    But then again I don't modify Lego... It's a sin! :)

    I have actually, band saw, scroll saw, and torch, among many other things!

    And yes, modifying Lego is a sin ;-)
  • paul_mertonpaul_merton UKMember Posts: 2,943
    kor said:

    I recently cut up a bunch of base plates for my current minifig storage. When I took a knife to the first one I actually felt bad, but soon got over it :) I used one of those cheap razor blade knives from Home Depot and it worked perfectly.

    Ditto - I made some of these just by cutting along the baseplate with a sharp knife. It took a few passes, using a metal ruler as a guide.

    image

    snowhitie
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    We are among an elite group of brave souls who dare defile the honored LEGO brick.
    @Paul_Merton What was the reason for the covered diorama? I like the looks of it. We're those purchased somewhere?
  • paul_mertonpaul_merton UKMember Posts: 2,943
    edited January 2014
    @MorkMan I have a load of spare perspex boxes like this. They came with some model tanks I bought, and I almost threw them out before I thought of doing this! I just thought it would be a nice way to display small sets without having to worry about dust (and they stack!)
    margotsnowhitie
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    Very nice!
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Sofia BG/Dallas TXMember Posts: 5,554
    Well I ended up cutting a couple of 1x2 dark brown plates with the knife of exact-zero for making my bricklinked/dark brown roofed Café Corner work. I felt bad doing it at first but it worked well and the cut sides are not exposed on the model.
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 853
    I did more cutting of plates yesterday. It felt good. No one will see the cut since it's buried within other pieces, but I'm glad I did it.
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    There have been sets in the past where Lego told you to cut parts in order to complete it...
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,936
    ^Really?! Actual pieces? Not just strings/stickers?
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734

    ^Really?! Actual pieces? Not just strings/stickers?

    I'm guessing such pieces are flexible hoses or tubes.
    plasmodium
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    binaryeye said:

    ^Really?! Actual pieces? Not just strings/stickers?

    I'm guessing such pieces are flexible hoses or tubes.
    Yes. The #8272 Snow Mobile required cutting a flexible tube in half...
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392

    I prefer to find ways to use the elements that are available, rather than have to defile innocent bricks ;)

    If Lego designers used this philosophy we would never have new elements! :-P I always use "The Sword of Exact-0" if I have to cut any Lego parts.
    gmonkey76
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