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Dovetails – Picatinny rails

It might seem that the smallest dovetail that can be made in one piece is limited by what is the smallest dovetail cutter that is available. However we have already seen that a dovetail can be made by cutting the workpiece at an angle with just an endmill.

A Picatinny rail is an accessory that fits a small arm, ie, gun, and is for holding accessories such as sights. It is quite small, about 0.75 inches wide. It functions like a dovetail but the idea can be made very much smaller than this.

Is a dovetail is made using an endmill, as the endmill gets smaller and smaller the quality of the cut decreases. The solution is instead of using an endmill to use a slitting saw. The geometry of the female part is as shown:

fig female part

This can be cut using a vice which swivels left to right and in just three cuts.



fig first cut



fig second cut




The specification of the cross section of the rail can be found at:

The longitudinal section can be found at:



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