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Styrene Sheet Rod & Tube etc. - Grade Info. Uses & Techniques
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 Posted: Sun Feb 20th, 2011 03:10 am
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titus
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What's your best method to create reproducible round or arch cuts in styrene sheet?


I've been cutting the styrene sheet square, drawing the arch on with a pencil, then filing it into shape. 
This takes a lot of time and doesn't create very reproducible parts.


I've also seen guys who print out several copies of a arch shape on paper, tape them to the styrene sheet, 
then use an xacto to score a couple of passes freehand based on the paper pattern then snap to shape. 

This seems like a decent method.


But I ran across one of these tonight....

Circle Cutter - On eBay

It's basically a plastic compass with a blade on the end which for styrene I'm wondering if it would be enough to score and snap.

Anyone have any better techniques?


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 Posted: Sun Feb 20th, 2011 03:24 am
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Herb Kephart
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Before that days of computer drafting there were thin plastic circle and ellipse templates that could be used for the drawing part---ask an old draftsman.

To get uniform pieces, rough out as many as needed, but leave oversize on the outside, then tack corners together on the corners with glue. 
Then file the pack, keeping the file at right angles to the pack, held in a vice. 
Parts will be much more uniform this way.


Herb  :old dude:





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 Posted: Mon Feb 21st, 2011 09:57 pm
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W C Greene
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Titus-I have one of those circle cutters, bought at the local Hobby Town, maybe Hobby Lobby, etc. have them. 
It does work as advertised, however, the tiny blade tends to wiggle on styrene. 
I think the thing is made for crafters, etc. and used on cardboard and maybe thin wood. 
I think it was made by OLFA (?) and cost about 3.95 a few years ago. 
Look in the Micro Mark catalog, they have curved blades, etc. that would do the job.
Whatever you choose, Herb's technique is the way...cut close and carefully sand/file excess away.

                Woodie





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 Posted: Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 02:35 am
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Philip
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Here is a clever little compass with the add on.  

Not mine but was advised to spin the styrene while holding compass to keep cutter edge from wandering.

 
Philip
 




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 Posted: Wed Feb 8th, 2012 07:04 pm
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ddonley
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Hi all,

A while back I dropped in on my local hobby shop and I noticed that they had a huge rack of styrene sheets, strips, etc. 

I was wondering if you kitbashers out there could recommend me your preferred styrene. 

If you have specific styrene for specific appliances I wouldn't mind hearing that too.


Thanks.




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David
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 Posted: Wed Feb 8th, 2012 09:51 pm
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W C Greene
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David-it all depends on what you want to build. 
Evergreen and Plastruct are the main styrene suppliers, I prefer the Evergreen for some things, Plastruct for others. 
Evergreen has a nice selection of scribed, sheathing, other novelty stock. 
Your question is similar to asking "how long is a piece of string?" 
It depends on what you want.

Woodie




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 Posted: Wed Feb 8th, 2012 10:02 pm
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ddonley
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Woodie,


In that case what thickness do you prefer for scratchbuilding cabs?




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 Posted: Wed Feb 8th, 2012 11:54 pm
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W C Greene
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In HO maybe .015 or .020
In O  .025 or .030 
I prefer building cabs from brass (.015) these days since my locos get a lot of abuse. 
See if the store offers an assortment pack then you can really see what you need. 
Hope this helps a bit.

Woodie




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 Posted: Thu Feb 9th, 2012 06:01 pm
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ddonley
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Woodie,

I think I'll go with the assortment pack if they have it. 

If not I'll get a sheet of .025 or .030.

Thanks




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 Posted: Thu Feb 9th, 2012 08:45 pm
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Huw Griffiths
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Excellent advice about experimenting with a selection of styrene sheet thicknesses.

I'm not yet ready to break cover with what I've been working on 
("issues" with some "test sections" - so I want to check everything's really OK before I "get serious").

I don't wish to raise anyone's hopes too much - I might have learnt a lot, but I've still got a lot to learn. 
Understandably, I want to make sure that my next model has a bodyshell that's at least structurally sound. 
Unless I get that right, there'd be no point in detailing, or working on new or improved versions.


OK, so I'm no expert. 
However, I'm aware of some things from stuff I've built or bashed. 
I hope you don't mind if I mention some of the stuff I've come across.

I've built coach / wagon kits whose sides were effectively thin sheets of styrene - styrene which warped  inwards between bulkheads. 
It turns out that (even though these kits came from reputable manufacturers) this warping is well documented. 
Also documented are "fixes" - like extra bracing, extra bulkheads and concealed reinforcement strips (running all the length behind the panels).

Like many people, I've also glued (or laminated) styrene layers on top of each other.
Fine, as long as there's an odd number of layers and totally dissimilar materials aren't rigidly glued on opposite sides of panel assemblies. 
I've sometimes been caught out here - and ended up with curved panels.

I've also come across another trap.
Creating sealed voids within styrene structures 
(any solvent vapour trapped within these voids is likely to end up softening or warping the panels around it). 
The "fix" involves adding small holes for vapour to escape, somewhere hidden from view.


Returning to which styrene sheet thicknesses to get, the thin stuff already mentioned is useful. 
Some thicker styrene sheets might also come in useful:
  • 40+ thou for bulkheads and the like;
  • 60 and 80 for footplates, floors and anything else where you need real strength, also if you want to laminate and carve thick blocks.
In practice, I tend to do most of my experimenting with 40 and 80 thou. 
(Some people will disagree with me - this is fine by me - I'm just saying what I'm happy using.)


If you're looking to read up on this subject, I know that Evergreen do this book (I think it's very good).

In 1996, the late David Jenkinson wrote a book which I consider to be even better:
Carriage Modelling Made Easy (Wild Swan Publications, Didcot, UK; ISBN 1-874103-32-1). 
I'm not sure if this book is currently in print, but it's very informative and well written.
(Also, a lot of the contents apply to model locomotives, just as much as they apply to railway passenger carriages.) 
If there's one modelmaking book I routinely reach for, it's this one.


Anyway, I think I've said enough for now - I certainly don't wish to hijack your thread.

Whatever you do - however you proceed - I hope you enjoy your model making. 
I also hope you enjoy success with your model making.

Regards,

Huw.



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