Thor IBM Trace Cutter turned RayGun 

Many years ago, I had and used a hand tool with a tip just like that one to cut the inner traces on IBM 370 backplanes. I was told at the time there was a power tool to do the job but had never seen one. Last week I came across one that had been converted into a kids ray-gun and went off googleing for more info and came across a posting on http://toolmonger.com/2007/08/01/name-this-tool-2/ and immediately recognized both the Gun and the cutting tip. I have included a photo of the pins and traces it was used to cut.

Thor IBM Trace Cutter turned RayGun
Thor IBM Trace Cutter turned RayGun


TM reader Lee writes:
ďI recently purchased this tool at a junk sale for a few bucks because it looked neat, but I donít know what it is. It has the ĎThorí logo on it, but no part number. After some Googling I found out that it was made by the Thor Power Tool Company (by matching the logo to those on Wikipedia), but thatís it. I canít find any more information on the tool or the company. Itís an electric tool that resembles a drill. When you plug it in and pull the trigger, it sounds like a drill, but instead of a drill bit itís got what appears to be a miniature torch. Itís also got three air/gas inlets/outlets. I have no idea what this tool is. Can you guys help?Ē

Thor Trace Cutter with proper cutter but missing the flashlight continuity tester.
Thor Trace Cutter with proper cutter but missing the flashlight continuity tester.

979444367 c7dc5c6f97 o
979444367 c7dc5c6f97 o

Closeup of small rotary trace saw that slipped over the pins on a IBM 360/370 backplane.
Closeup of small rotary trace saw that slipped over the pins on a IBM 360/370 backplane.

These outer traces were easy to cut, simple abuse with a wire wrap tool would take them out. It was the inner traces a layer or two down where having a power tool was handy.
These outer traces were easy to cut, simple abuse with a wire wrap tool would take them out. It was the inner traces a layer or two down where having a power tool was handy.

Closeup of the wire wrap.
Closeup of the wire wrap.

These 12.5x8 backplanes had hundreds of pins and many wire wraped crossover wires.
These 12.5x8 backplanes had hundreds of pins and many wire wraped crossover wires.

A closer look inside the flashlight reveals the circuitry of a simple logic probe. a wire came out the back and was connected to a pin that allowed the light to change state when the desired trace was hit when digging down through the board layers.
A closer look inside the flashlight reveals the circuitry of a simple logic probe. a wire came out the back and was connected to a pin that allowed the light to change state when the desired trace was hit when digging down through the board layers.

Here is a closeup of the flashlight / Logic probe mounted on top. As you can see from the markings this came from some IBM scrap from the Borden Building here in Columbus Ohio.
Here is a closeup of the flashlight / Logic probe mounted on top. As you can see from the markings this came from some IBM scrap from the Borden Building here in Columbus Ohio.

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(C)2005-2008 R.C.Bradlee aka PostcardBob