Sanding In Small or Tight Areas

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Sanding In Small or Tight Areas

Post by TD1701 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:15 pm

Hi Everyone,

I'm building an older AMT/ERTL Vulcan Shuttle, and I have a question. What is the best way of sanding in small or tight areas? I've been using step sanders but, I'm not too pleased with the results. There are some tight areas and sharp angles on this kit, and my fat fingers just can't seem to get in there with regular sand paper. If anyone has any suggestions, that would be great! I'm posting a couple of pictures just to show my dilemma,


Tom ... .13.06.jpg ... .12.18.jpg ... .16.47.jpg

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Post by Rogviler » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:28 pm

I personally like these little foam sticks with different grits on them... The catch is you'll have to walk down the nail polish aisle. ;)

But the nice thing is that you can trim them if you need a sharp point or specific shape.

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Post by TD1701 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:54 pm

Thanks Rog. I'm married so, walking down the nail polish is no problem here. :) Maybe I'll wander over to Walgreen's and take a look!


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Post by kenlilly106 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:11 pm

I'd avoid the plastic sanding needles, I tried them and wasn't impressed.

My personal choice for sanding tight areas is a popsicle stick (or similar) with the ends cut square and beveled. I wrap wet or dry of the appropriate grit around the end and sand wet. It can get into tight spots and is rigid enough to allow you to put some pressure on it. I use the lengthwise edge of the stick to sand long inside corners as well.


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Post by seam-filler » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:46 am

All good suggestions, but don't forget needle files and riffler files.
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Post by zemjw » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:23 am

Something I saw recommended but haven't yet tried is finishing strips for dental work - Amazon UK link

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Post by Kylwell » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:06 am

I'll use popsicle sticks carved to shape with sanding film CA'd to them. Or even bamboo chopsticks carved to shape.
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Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:43 am

I almost always use little pieces of rubber I hand cut into a wedge shape. The rubber came from an old sanding block. The rubber is a half inch wide by maybe a half-inch deep from point to wide end. The wide end being approximately 1/16th of an inch deep.

Here's an image of a similar one I cast out of silicone rubber that is just a little longer, has slots for the paper to wind through, and has a shallower taper: ... 1_3691.jpg

I think you get the idea. I use the regular rubber ones for nearly all sanding, cutting my 3M sandpaper into little ribbons as I need it. Coolest thing about this method is it allows really "focused" sanding if need be or more general sanding depending upon how you hold the wedge.

I hope this helps a bit.


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Post by TD1701 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:54 pm

Thanks so much guys for all of your replies, and suggestions!!! :D I went the hobby shop where I bought both the sanding needles, and Popsicle sticks. What worked best for me were the popsicle sticks. I cut off the end and wrapped some 320 grit around the squared end, sanded the edge where the fame meets the inside and outside of the nacelles. Also to get into those grooves at the tips of the nacelles. It worked beautifully, and I'm so happy with the result. I plan to get some primer on it in a day or two to see what I may have missed or, what I need to fix. Here's a couple of pics with my progress so far. ... .01.39.jpg ... .02.55.jpg

Have a great weekend!


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Post by TD1701 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:35 pm

Well, it took longer than I thought to get some primer on. I did finally give it a nice coat of Krylon gray primer and then found a few flaws to clean up. Over all it turned out pretty nice, and with some touch up filling and sanding it will look pretty sweet. Here's a couple of pictures of my progress. ... .53.39.jpg ... .54.31.jpg

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