Scratch Building
Tools & Jigs

Alclad II
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MM Metalizers

Tools & Jigs

Airbrush bottle seal
The seal in the airbrush bottle lids can harden over time. You can buy new seals or make you own from cork. I bought a package of different automotive gasket material from Canadian Tire and there is enough gasket material to make a few dozen seals. Just use your original seal as a template for making more.

Clothes pins
Excellent for use as clamps. However, they may be too strong to be used on some parts.

Circle Cutter
May 17, 2002
OLFA Circle Cutter (Model CMP-1)Visit OLFA's home pagehas nice a compact circle cutter (Model CMP-1) that can be very useful to the motorcycle modeller. The cutter can cut circles from 1cm to 15cm in diameter and has a replaceable blade. I've used the cutter to create painting masks when a circle template is too awkward to use. Very handy for cutting disks for masking the centers of wheels and brake discs. Thanks to André Boucheré for suggesting I add this tool to my collection.

Film Canisters
I find 35mm film canister are great for pedestals for mounting car and motorcycle body parts for painting. I tape the canister to a small piece of cardboard so its has a steady base. Then tape the part to the top of the canisters. The canisters can be cleaned with lacquer thinner without harming the plastic. Drop by your local film developer and you should be able to get an armload for free.

Flex-I-File™ sanding strips

Here is a tip from André Bouchere.

I find the available sanding strips far too coarse for plastic modelling purposes. André showed me how to make strips easily from wet/dry sandpaper and some CA glue. Cut the strips 15cm long x 0.7cm wide. Fold over 1.5cm at each each end of the strip. Then use a drop of CA to glue the ends making a 'loop' for the Flex-I-File studs to go through. I've made 400, 600, 1000 and 1500 grit sanding strips.

Flex-I-File strips

Also, when using the Flex-I-File on curved surfaces, lightly squeeze the file so the strip isn't so tight. This will allow the sanding strip to conform to the part giving a far better result.

LockJaw™ Clamps
December 7, 2001
LockJaw clampsGreat clamps that can be used to holding parts gently or tightly while cement cures. The pads are rubber and will not harm what is being clamped. They work with a ratcheting action and have a quick release on the grip. I bought these at Canadian Tire.

Photo etch Bender
April 22, 2002
Photo etch benderSometimes you need some help holding photo etched parts firmly so you can get a nice uniform bend in the PE parts. You can make a 'vise' using a simple door hinge and some carriage bolts with wing nuts. If you have a hacksaw and files, you can modify the hinge with notches to make bending complex shapes much easier. 

Photo etch Bender V2.0
November 9, 2002
Photo etch bender V.20I just thought of another ideal, and simpler, tool that you can find at the office supply store. My clipboard has an ACCOGRIP clamp. You know, that spring loaded clamp that can hold a couple dozen sheets of paper. I was inserting some sheets into my clipboard and EUREKA!!! "How would it clamp PE?" I thought. I tried it out and it works beautifully! Clamps the PE so tight its not going anywhere.

Note: my ACCOGRIP clipboard is several years old now and I understand the clamping surface of the latest models are different to help grip the paper better. Look for a ACCOGRIP with flat clamping surfaces. 

Clamp 'n Bend
June 10, 2004
There are a couple commercial photo etch (PE) benders on the market these days (Hold and Fold and Etch Mate). When the original PE bender, the Hold and Fold, was released  I thought the 4" size was too small for my needs. So, on a visit home, I scrounged up some scrap aluminium plate, aluminium angle, bolts, and wing nuts and created my own PE bender, which I affectionately call the Clamp 'n Bend.

Circle punchI made circular punches from brass tubing for punching out disks from sheet styrene. I filed the outside edge down so it can easily cut through thin sheet styrene. The edge is fragile so I lay the styrene on a cloth so the tubing has some protection once it penetrates through the styrene. I use the punches for cutting instrument 'glass' and covers for swingarm screws, etc.

Watch Maker's Vise
Watch Maker's ViseA great tool for holding parts when drilling of CA-ing detail parts to the kit part. Especially for holding discs that are being drilled with a pinvise.

Micro Tap and Die Set
Micro Tap and Die SetA great tool for making your own 1/12 scale fasteners from 1.0mm to 2.5mm (12mm-30mm). The set I bought included two of each tapin case one gets damaged. The set cost $50Cdn at Princess Auto.

Contact Coaster
Last revised on: June 17, 2007
Copyright © 1998-2007, Kenneth W. Hartlen. All rights reserved.

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