Tools of the Trade

Got a question about techniques, materials or other aspects of physically building a model? This is the place to ask.

Moderators: DasPhule, Moderators

User avatar
TER-OR
Site Admin
Posts: 10525
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2002 7:05 pm
Location: Conjugate imprecision of time negates absolute determination of location.
Contact:

Tools of the Trade

Post by TER-OR » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:54 pm

Use this forum for tool advice, questions, and announcements.
Raised by wolves, tamed by nuns, padded for your protection.

Terry Miesle
Never trust anyone who says they don't have a hobby.
Quando Omni Flunkus Moratati

en'til Zog
Posts: 2405
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 3:03 pm
Location: The Wilds of Northwoods Wisconsin

Post by en'til Zog » Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:49 pm

And so the next obvious step is to ink lude lists of our useful tools.

First, the Necessary.
Second, the really useful

Just what you use, and maybe a bit of "Why?".

MOST NECESSARY:
X-acto knives or equivalents, and blades for cutting, scraping, and shaping.

OLFA type cutters and blades for heavy cutting and scraping.

Parts nippers - to neatly remove parts from sprues and certain types of shaping.

Steel straight edges or rulers - narrow 6 inch, wide 6 inch, wide 1 foot at least (or equivalent if you prefer Metric to Imperial). Good for measuring, marking, or guiding cutting blades.

Sandpaper: wet or dry type, in grits from 100, 150, 200, 360, 500, 1000, 1500, 3000.

Sanding Sticks - like from the Beauty department of Wal-Mart for sanding and shaping smaller parts.

Glues - Tenax 7-4, several kinds of "Super Glue", super glue DEBONDER, SG accelerator, White Glue.

Markers - fine tip sharpies in different colors (for marking and coloring details), several grades and sizes of drafting pencils, ink pens for making drawings and notes.

Paint - for... well...

Brushes, tooth picks, sponges - for applying paint and/or weathering.

Pin vices - to hold teeeny drill bits and scribers.

Teeny drill bits and scribers.

Nice To Have
Dremel or other hand held motor tool - great for rough shaping, drilling, home dentistry. :twisted:

Low wattage soldering iron - for brass work and electronics.

Solder - for soldering and running scale plumbing and wiring.

Wire - for electronics and detailing.
Last edited by en'til Zog on Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Where there's a Will....there's Probate.

User avatar
Kolschey
Posts: 1752
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:13 pm
Location: What? You mean the chip in my head isn't working?!? Don't tell me you have to drill another hole..
Contact:

Post by Kolschey » Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:35 am

Here are some more:

Clamps

Scribes and marking tools

Measuring tools- rulers, protractors, calipers, right angles, contour gages.

User avatar
Kylwell
Moderator
Posts: 28826
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:25 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO
Contact:

Post by Kylwell » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:18 am

Hemostats. All purpose clamps, holders, etc.
Micro saws

Really nice to have:

Lathe
Light table
Mini cut-off saw
Abolish Alliteration

ignatz
Posts: 4518
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 8:19 am
Location: Boston
Contact:

Post by ignatz » Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:21 pm

Here's what I use most:

Drill press with a couple accessories for the table: indexed vise and a pipe clamp. A good set of drill bits plus a center finder. A set of drum sanders.

Dremel tabletop sander. I have one with the 6 inch disk and 1 inch belt.

Dremel Moto-tool with a flex shaft.

Pana-Vise

Sanding cloths, pads, and sticks.

Hobby knives and sharp blades--lots of them (all shapes, 311, chisel, convex, concave, and saw tooth)!

Needle files, regular steel ones and diamond ones.

clamps: all styles. Lots of them

Measuring tools: steel rulers, angles, protractors, triangles. Right angle blocks, a couple of them. 1-2-3 blocks.

Box of flat and round toothpicks

Several self-healing cutting mats.

Sparky
Moderator
Posts: 2404
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2003 8:28 am
Location: Are we there yet? (Chicago)
Contact:

Post by Sparky » Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:15 pm

For wet sanding resin I took a mini tray used for developing photos at home, got a piece of marble tile cut to fit in the bottom of the tray:

Here's Larry using it to sand some pieces flat.
http://www.kc6sye.com/images/images_05_ ... dg_jig.jpg

The tray has a pouring spout molded into one corner so you can dump the water easily and rinse the marble clean of debris.
<a href="http://www.kc6sye.com/2_wheresaneatpart.jpg" target="_Sparky">Is this plastic thingy on the counter a neat part?</a> <a href="http://www.kc6sye.com/1_casting_inprogress.jpg" target="_Sparky">Let's cast it.</a>

User avatar
Lt. Z0mBe
Posts: 7172
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Balltown Kentucky, by God!
Contact:

Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:20 pm

I don't really have much to add.

A nail buffing kit from Wal-Mart pharmacy section. $1.20 and used wet with clean water and the way the instructions say will polish clear plasic.

COtton swabs.

Liquid latex mold builder for use as a masking agent. Wal MArt has it.

Laundry (NOT DISH) detergent - just a little bit in a jar. Use this by the drop with water-based inks and paints or pastel dust for making water-based washes

Multi-well mixing palettes

Pringles can lids or similar - great palettes for mixing epoxy or for using as a base to apply crazy glue from. When they get full, just pop the stuff loose by flexing the lid.

Old credit cards, hotel room key cards, etc for applying Aves or your choice of Putty. You can custom cut these into any shape you need to reach hard-to-reach places

Also, one thing to add to scribers is tungsten carbide scribers. I can't emphasize the "tungsten carbide" part enough. They last forever (they won't dull), are held like a pen, and beat the pants off of Hasegawa's offering.

Alcohol - Denatured and Isopropyl (90-percent). Denatured for smoothing putty and isopropyl for thinning acrylic paints and smoothing putty. Other stuff too they're used for, but that's what I've got off the top of mind.

Kenny

www.sigmalabsinc.com


Onward, proud eagle, to thee the cloud must yield.

User avatar
Lt. Z0mBe
Posts: 7172
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Balltown Kentucky, by God!
Contact:

Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:03 am

One thing I forgot to add is needle files. Some people call them jewelers' files. Get them from a modeler's tool site like "www.starshipmodeler.com." :)

I have a Testors set and a Mac tools set and love them both. They have different profiles like round and tapered, half-moon, one is the shape of a cutlass blade, prism-shaped, tapered cube, and traditional file.

These will save you HOURS of time.

I hope this helps.

Kenny

www.sigmalabsinc.com


Onward, proud eagle, to thee the cloud must yield.

zaphod
Posts: 1368
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2002 11:05 am
Location: 53 Miles West of Venus
Contact:

Post by zaphod » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:08 pm

Let me know if this is the right place to ask: which glues work well on PVC?
"Everyone has their illusions, far be it from me to take away yours." - Mok, in the film "Rock 'n Rule"

User avatar
Mr. Badwrench
Posts: 9587
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 6:31 pm
Location: Wheatridge, Co.

Post by Mr. Badwrench » Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:21 am

Good a place as any. I'd go with PVC glue, as sold in the hardware store, in the same aisle as the PVC pipe.
I speak of the pompatous of plastic.

david bailey
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:51 pm
Location: roanoke va.

tools for cheap at big lots /odd lots.

Post by david bailey » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:35 am

hi all,i want tell you about some tools i picked up at big lots/odd lots.if you have one near by go check out there tool section.i go there alot and always pick up good cheap tools.beware these are cheap knock off tools .some times they get some good brand tools on sale.but most are big lots/odd lots tools.the first thing i bought was a hobby knife set/51 pieces for $7.99 plus tax.the second thing i picked up was a motor tool set[a dreamal knock off] hobby shop rotary tool kit with 230 pieces for $30.00 plus tax. i mainly bought this set for the attachments for my dremal.now the third thing,i bought was a heat gun set[a ryboi] for $18.00 plus tax.thought i would pass along the finds.if your looking for more tools,please check out big lots/odd lots.they constantly get in new stuff all the time.
david bailey

User avatar
Lord Darth Beavis
Posts: 9051
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 5:01 pm
Location: In that number!
Contact:

Post by Lord Darth Beavis » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:41 pm

Let's not forget alligator clamps--specifically, alligator clamps on a steek! Work great for holding small things you need to paint. They also work great to hold parts while you're gluing, or just to attach to your earlobes to help you stay awake during those late-night thrashes! :lol:
"I have an ARMY!"

*shrugs* "We have a Hulk."
================================
America*: Land of the Free**



* - "America" is a registered trademark of U.S. Corporations.
** - No actual freedoms are inferred or implied.
Any resemblance to totalitarian regimes is strictly coincidental
unless those regimes are regulated by the Federal Government.

================================
'Russia Space Agency. My name Peggy. Have problem?'

User avatar
Mr. Badwrench
Posts: 9587
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 6:31 pm
Location: Wheatridge, Co.

Post by Mr. Badwrench » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:45 am

Just make sure to burn the resin off 'em first.
I speak of the pompatous of plastic.

User avatar
Kylwell
Moderator
Posts: 28826
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:25 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO
Contact:

Post by Kylwell » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:44 am

Where to buy:

Starship Modeler. really shouldn't have to mention this one but some people forget.
Widget Supply home of the really cheap hemostats.
Harbor Freight cheap tools. And not necessarily in a good way.
MicroMark the original small tools supplier.
SmallParts for those tiny things.
Little Machine Shop for all your little machines.
American Science & Surplus for all that crap you just can't find anywhere else.
USPlastics more supplies, less tools, but still fun.
Abolish Alliteration

srspicer
Posts: 945
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:01 am
Location: Pennsylvania
Contact:

Post by srspicer » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:02 am

I also use a pair of 6" Brown & Sharp dial calipers. I use these everyday, all day! They will last forever if you take care of them, even if you drop them. They are supposed to be shock resistant, and they are, I know! :oops: I also have a cheap pair of digital calipers. This allows me to measure in standard and then with the push of a button convert to metric.
The calipers can be used as a scriber to indicate where to trim to, to mark center, etc. Attachments are available to use them as a bulkhead measuring tool, wall thickness, etc.
Files have been mentioned already, but make sure you pay for a good set of needle and 5" long, as they will last almost forever if you take care of them.
EXCEL blades for sure.
A good work bench is definitely a must. I have an excelent bench. It is a bucher block top, about 1.5" thick, 30" x 5', with steel legs and top mounted shelf. It is solid as a rock! You can pound on it, stand on it, etc!
I order most of my supplies from MSC. ( Manhattan Supply Compnay) Thay can be expensive, but have sales often. This is where I purchased the above mentioned tools.
I order direct from Excel.
I also order from Rio Grand. They have jeweler's supplies such as needle file, small pliers, scribers, dremel supplies, etc.
You can also order direct from Dremel for you flex-shaft needs. I think their equipment is the best. ( MHO)
Regards,
Scott

Scratchawan Learner
Posts: 971
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 8:00 pm
Location: Grapevine, Texas

Post by Scratchawan Learner » Sat May 31, 2008 10:15 pm

One tool I haven't heard any of the other posters mention...but one I find invaluable for scratching... The contour gauge. Contour gauges help us to duplicate shapes, while cutting patterns. I bought a pretty nice one from WoodCraft.com. I also advocate a good bandsaw, with a fine toothed blade, for cutting Plexiglas, or Lucite. (two names for the same chemical formula) I also advocate using Machinists set up tools...especially their magnetic triangles, for getting surfaces glued at perfect ninetly degree angles. I also heavily advocate a machinists vice, with silicone inserts for the jaws, so as to not mar your hard work, with ridges from contact with metal. Lastly, I'm going to purchase (among other things) a quality Hot Knife set up, for cutting foam blocks to shape. and help rough out hull componentry.
Scratch
[/code]
"Take away money...privelage,power, and position from an honorable man...and he's still got his honor. For an honorable man, that's enough."

MrNobudy
Posts: 4294
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: somewhere between Dry Spell and the incoming Tide

Post by MrNobudy » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:35 pm

quick question on cleaning files. how to do it? i got a file i use alot and its getting to the point its not really doing any thing due to the other crap buildt up in it. any suggestions?
Part of the Lowest Common Denominator and Fucking proud of it!

User avatar
Kylwell
Moderator
Posts: 28826
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:25 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO
Contact:

Post by Kylwell » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:38 pm

You mean a file card?
Abolish Alliteration

Wug
Posts: 1430
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:52 pm
Location: Kentucky

Post by Wug » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:11 pm

I use a copper bristled suede brush. Years ago, I bought mine from the shoe department at Kmart.

Mike

User avatar
Dukat, S.G.
Posts: 2934
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 4:39 pm
Location: Cardassia Prime

Post by Dukat, S.G. » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:50 pm

Gentlemen,

I need a tool that can cut clean circles in styrene of various thicknesses. I have a dinky compass that's got a small blade in lieu of a pencil, but it's all but worthless.

I've found various so-called circle cutters, but they typically only cut VERY large holes for my purposes (i.e., 1" or greater). I really need something that can manage 1/4" holes.

Any advice would be most appreciated!
"Cardassians do like to talk. I suppose
it can be a failing, at times."-- Dukat

(My real name's Sean Robertson. Don't let the scales and alter-ego fool you ;D.)

User avatar
Kylwell
Moderator
Posts: 28826
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:25 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO
Contact:

Post by Kylwell » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:17 pm

Abolish Alliteration

User avatar
admiralcag
Posts: 943
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2003 6:46 am
Location: Arvada, CO

Post by admiralcag » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:36 am

Kylwell wrote:Micro Punch, Arbor Press with punch, & Hole Punch.
How does that punch set compare to a Waldron punch set?

Vern
It's a great day for America, everybody!

User avatar
Kylwell
Moderator
Posts: 28826
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:25 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO
Contact:

Post by Kylwell » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:04 am

From what I know, about the same. Roll Models has the Waldron sets.
Abolish Alliteration

User avatar
Dukat, S.G.
Posts: 2934
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 4:39 pm
Location: Cardassia Prime

Post by Dukat, S.G. » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:22 pm

Kylwell wrote:Micro Punch, Arbor Press with punch, & Hole Punch.
Niiiiiice, Robb. Thank you.

I pray I can find something local (not to mention cheap!), but the stuff I've seen at the hardware store and Hobby Lobby's not too encouraging :(
"Cardassians do like to talk. I suppose
it can be a failing, at times."-- Dukat

(My real name's Sean Robertson. Don't let the scales and alter-ego fool you ;D.)

Andrew Gorman
Posts: 2324
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 4:56 pm
Location: God-forsaken suburban strip mall hell of Chesterfield County VA

Post by Andrew Gorman » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:04 pm

For punching holes bigger than the Waldron punch can do I use a set of gasket punches. Good ones are available from Sears/Snap-on, etc, and perfectly adequate ChiCom tools are at Harbor Freight or a flea market near you.
I also get a lot of use out of an inexpensive pair of machinists 1-2-3 blocks. All they are is a block of steel 1" X 2" X 3", and very square and true. I use them for marking right angle cuts, propping up right angles while gluing, weighting things down, as an auxiliary fence on the True Sander or tiny tablesaw, etc. I like them, but a lot of people find them not that useful.

User avatar
Neb
Posts: 6555
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 3:32 pm
Location: Up to my ass in unbuilt kits....

Post by Neb » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:55 pm

While we're talking about holes, I've run across a high quality pounce wheel that I'm tickled with:

http://umm-usa.com/onlinestore/product_ ... de4c9d24e9

It comes in a variety of scales, but most importantly the wheel itself DOES NOT wobble---meaning that if I want a straight riveted panel line, that is exactly what I get. :D

Tried pounce wheels from JoAnn fabrics, Hobby Lobby, etc. but they're just not near the quality of this little gem.
George Seletas
Wonderfest crew
www.wonderfest.com

User avatar
TER-OR
Site Admin
Posts: 10525
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2002 7:05 pm
Location: Conjugate imprecision of time negates absolute determination of location.
Contact:

Post by TER-OR » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:01 pm

yeah, that's John Voitek's tools - good units.
Raised by wolves, tamed by nuns, padded for your protection.

Terry Miesle
Never trust anyone who says they don't have a hobby.
Quando Omni Flunkus Moratati

User avatar
Neb
Posts: 6555
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 3:32 pm
Location: Up to my ass in unbuilt kits....

Post by Neb » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:30 pm

TER-OR wrote:yeah, that's John Voitek's tools - good units.
There ya go----John gave me a demo of it at a Cleveland IPMS show last year and I was sold. :)

Nice guy by the way----loves what he does and isn't afraid to share knowledge either. :)
George Seletas
Wonderfest crew
www.wonderfest.com

User avatar
bluesman
Posts: 12370
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2002 1:33 pm
Location: On tour.
Contact:

Post by bluesman » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:52 pm

Robb

I'd like to have your light table.

:D

Not a tool...but I;d say a decent set of reference material...books, photos, drawings...and whatnot.
"The" Bluesman formerly known as The Bluesman

User avatar
starmanmm
Posts: 2503
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2002 12:59 am
Location: New Bedford, MA

Cheap paint brush holder

Post by starmanmm » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:53 pm

Instead of throwing away the covers to your rattle cans.... turn them into paint brush holders.

I did it by cutting out a notch, across from each other, on the cover. These notches will allow you to lay a paint brush across the cover and out of harms way while you are using it.

So while I am brushing, if I have to put the brush down for a second, I just place it in the notches and they don't get in my way or add more paint to my workbench.

Yeah, I got way too much time on my hands!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests