The Japanese specialist saw manufacturers Alec have produced the first in a new range of modelling tools - the Hyper Cut Saw 0.1.
This is a photo etched razor saw and boasts a blade that is just 0.1 mm thick. This matches the thinnest PE blades I've ever found and makes the saw ideal for the most delicate work, such as separating canopies and control surfaces where a thicker blade would chew up a significant amount of the very piece you're working on.
Alec's Hyper Cut Saw differs from other PE saws in my tools armoury because the blade is mounted in a wooden handle. This seems oddly archaic on such a hi-tech tool, but actually works brilliantly. The handle is made of what appears to be balsa, so it's very light and balances the blade perfectly. It's comfortable to hold and is flattened so it can't roll off the workbench.
The saw blade itself is also unusual on several counts. Firstly, it's 6 cm long. That's far longer than any other PE blade I have and is made possible because it's mounted in a steel back like a tenon saw to give a little weight and keep the blade rigid.
The teeth may seem unusual to western eyes because they follow the traditional Japanese style and are "reversed" i.e. they are designed to cut when pulled instead of pushed. In fact, the saw is so sharp it actually does cut plastic and resin brilliantly on the forward stroke as well, and I found this gave an extra degree of control. The teeth are quite fine, but they are longer than my other PE saws and, when pulled back towards you, have a tendency to snag in styrene, but conversely cut through wood and hardened modelling clay perfectly when used this way (materials which quickly clog my other PE saws). This is a classic case of matching the tool and technique to the material to be worked on and, with this in mind, I hope Alec extend the range to include some smaller-toothed blades; in my opinion these would be just about the perfect razor saws for styrene.
I don't know how easily available Alec tools are outside Japan. The review sample was kindly provided by Platz
and is well worth considering as part of a larger order from their extensive range of kits and accessories.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE