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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?


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:



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



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
 


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.


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


ddonley
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Woodie,


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


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


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


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.



W C Greene
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I forgot to mention what I consider the greatest work about styrene modeling - Al Armitage's Modeling with Styrene. 
Available from Precision Scale or perhaps some shop like Caboose Hobbies or Coronado Scale Models would have this in stock. 
Mr. Armitage wrote this back in the 1950's and it is still the best (my opinion) available.

Woodie


ddonley
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Thanks Guys, 

I'm going to need this information if I plan to create models unique to the conventional mass produced ones. 

I'm hoping I can get my hands on the styrene soon.


wayman29
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So I am new to building train models and other items and was wondering about styrene. 

I see it mentioned in a lot of the train modeling magazines but was not sure even what to get or what thickness.  

I know all of that would depend on the project, but I was wondering if some kind soul could explain the basic idea, 
or post a link to how this material is used, how you cut, joint it together, and adding color to the model etc. 

So to keep it simple, if I were to build a little Deli shop, what type of styrene thickness would I start the main frame with? 

What is used to cut window holes? etc.  

So I need these basic questions answered because I did not want to waste money on items I purchase out of ignorance to the craft. 

Thanks a bunch for anything you can add.


NathanO
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You may want to take a look at the information that Evergreen has on their Web Site. 

They have some of the chapters of their book on line.  

They have styrene aimed at different scales. 

They also have a Conversion Table that may help.

http://www.evergreenscalemodels.com/index.htm

Nathan


Ray Dunakin
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I love working with styrene and use it quite a bit. 

You can do some amazing things with it. 

Here's a 1/24th scale miner's cabin I built, almost entirely styrene except for the metal roofing and the metal awnings:







Size, thickness, etc will depend on what scale you're working in, and what you're trying to model.

I mostly use Evergreen styrene, but I also get some items from Plastruct, if I need something specific that Evergreen doesn't have. 


Solvent type cement is best for most styrene construction, such as Plastruct's Plastic-Weld. 

Most of the time I just use MEK from the local hardware store, and pour it into an empty Plastic Weld bottle for convenience.



I have step-by-step photos of the construction for most of my buildings:

http://www.raydunakin.com/Site/IRR_Structures.html


W C Greene
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Here's another way of building with styrene:

http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=2801&forum_id=6

There are many ways to get to the same end, the idea is to just get going and do some work! Have fun.

Woodie

844Fan
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Hello again everyone,

I'm working to set up my work station/studio for my model making and hope to have my first model video up not too long after the first. 

But before I start I'm in need of your advice once more.

A project I recently saw introduced me to the material of Polystyrene and I'm wanting to buy some for parts of my builds. 

From what I see it be a great way to learn my way around cutting the parts out and would be a nice step towards building with brass. 

But heres where I'm stumped. 

I'm not sure what grades would be the best for each section.

.010, .020, .030, ECT.  Any advice?

I plan to get it from the supplier called 'Plastruct'. 


As always guys thank you for your advice.

Take care,

Joey

P.S. This is the project I was refering to as the insparation for the use of Poly:

 James Model



Herb Kephart
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Joey

.010, .020, .030  Are the thickness in inches.

.010= ten thousandths of an inch, .020= twenty, and so on.

Might be helpful to tell you that 1/64" equals about 15 thousandths, 1/32" about 30 thou. and 1/16 about 60 thou.

1 millimeter, equals about 40 thousanths.

Herb

844Fan
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Ah I see. 

I think my best bet would be to buy a sheet of each and see what would be best for what. 

I know not the best way to go on it but It is the cheapest for me.

Any more advice on the subject Herb?

Joey



Lost Creek RR
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I would check out Evergreen styrene. 

They have all sorts of sheets. 

Plain, clapboard the list goes on and on. 

Best for scratch building all manner of buildings and can even be used for locos etc.


Rod.


Herb Kephart
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Well, you can cut it by scoring with a hobby knife using the back (unsharpened) side, 
and then snapping the piece off by carefully bending the scored area.

The other thing is that if you are going to laminate 2 or more flat pieces together go easy with the solvent when bonding them. 
If you get too much solvent trapped in the middle of the joint, it will not be able to evaporate,
and some time later will work its way through the sheet and cause ripples and buckles on the what should be flat surface.

Don't use solvent based paint if you are going to brush the paint on.

Just like any other material, it has advantages and disadvantages.

I prefer smooth surface artists board, file folders, and starting to use foam board.

Herb



844Fan
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Hey,

Oh that's cool. 

I got another source for Poly now. 

Thanks much.


Yeah Poly seems to be the best all rounder out there for almost all kinds of building. 

It's like Brass but not so tough.



Thanks for the link there Rod,

Joey



Well I got the hobby knife. 

So thats doable. 

For the bonding I think Testors plastic adhesive will work. 

Dad says it will.



Wait oh dear I'm going to guess that the Enamel Testors are a bad idea for hand painting it then. 

Unless I spray it you say?

I'll have to look into those soon. 

Thanks Herb.



pipopak
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There is an old book by Alan Armitage that would be very helpful. 

All pertinent techniques are explained. 

Jose.



844Fan
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By chance is it the one on this page:


Catalog list


Joey



pipopak
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Yep. 

Best $6 you will ever spend. 

Jose.




844Fan
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Very well then gonna buy that sucker on the first. 

Thanks for the recommended book there my friend.

Hmm think I got my shopping list ready for the first. :2t:

Joey



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I've done a lot of work with styrene, really like it. 
Mostly in 1/24th scale but construction techniques are basically the same. 
I use a lot of Evergreen styrene, especially for strips, angles, rods, etc.
The dimensions of these items is more precise than Plastruct's.

However, Plastruct has a few items you can't get from Evergreen, such has hex rod which is handy for making nuts/bolts. 
Also very large tube sizes which are good for tanks, etc.

I recommend a solvent type cement such as Plastruct's "Plastic Weld".
Nowadays I use a solvent called MEK from Home Depot, which I pour into the Plastic Weld bottle. 
I don't know if MEK is still available though - I've heard it's been replaced by some other solvent.

I have a lot of info on my website, mainly step-by-step builds of various structures, which you might find helpful:

http://www.raydunakin.com/Site/IRR_Structures.html

Recently I've switched to using Sintra brand PVC foam board for large structural surfaces (walls, floors, etc), 
and saving the styrene for details such as windows, doors, trim, etc.


844Fan
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Evergreen looks to be a good seller. 
I'll definitely try them out when I need more Poly. 
But for my initial sheets I'll buy from Plastistruct. 
Cheeper for me to try all thicknesses you see.

Hmm do they by chance also sell tubes you could use as a boiler? 
I want to see what kind of pipes I can find out there. 
Currently looking in to PVC pipes for that. 
But my Loco project isn't for a while. 
Gotta build up my skills with Rolling stock and buildings first.


I'm going to try Testors plastic cements. 
Going to get the fine applicator type and some liquid on the 2nd.  
I'll see if I can find others and test them when I can.

I will indeed check that out. 
With two guides I'll find all I need.

Hmm may be the way to go. 
I'll look into that as well. 
Funny thing the thing I plan to build with Poly are Locos and rolling stock.

I plan to build the buildings and such from Stone, Wood,  and ceramic. 

Thanks for the advice Ray.

Joey



Ray Dunakin
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Here's a step-by-step on the Model T railbus I built which is mostly styrene:

http://www.raydunakin.com/Site/IRR_Railcar_1.html


And here's a heavily kitbashed RS3, also making extensive use of styrene:

http://www.raydunakin.com/Site/IRR_RS3_Conversion.html


BTW if you're going to be doing buildings for an outdoor layout, I highly recommend the Sintra PVC foam board. 
It's made for outdoor use and is very durable, also easy to work with and can be textured to look like stone, brick, etc.


Herb Kephart
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Joey

Ray is a master in the use of plastics outdoors--so listen to what he says---

Herb

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Will do Herb will do.

Thanks for linking me to your site Ray. 
I looked it over and it has amazing detail for Poly building.

By the way have any advice on how to make molds like you did for the brakes on the RS-3 Conversion? 
I plan to have my buffers 3D printed and then like you did make them as needed.

I hear Latex is a ok way to go on making the mold if you use Resin but I'm not sure.

Thanks again everyone,

Joey


Herb Kephart
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Latex is too limp and flexible. What you want is RTV- Room Temperature Vulcanizing rubber.

You can get small quantities from http://WWW./micromark.com/ 
But their stuff is high priced, and has very poor shelf life, even in un-opened containers.
Same with their casting resin.

Much better quality and price, but you have to buy larger quanities--http://www.smooth-on.com/

I have used RTV that had set on a shelf for 15 years--little hard to stir up, but still worked. 
Micro-Mark goes bad in a little over a year.

Read the ''how to use'' stuff on the Smooth-on site

The fun is just beginning, Tigger  (Pooh bear, when he first saw a little female bear)

Herb



844Fan
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Thanks Herb

I'll look into RTV indeed since I'm going to be needing to make molds. 
What category would be the best from Smooth-on? 
I just wanna make sure I'm looking at the right stuff.

Nice shelf life for that brand.

"Please read the enclosed instruction book." (Mario - Hotel Mario) :thumb:

"You got that right!" (Phil Hartman)

Joey



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The stuff that lasted a long time for me was Dow-Corning.
(probably only available to commercial users)

The Smooth-on site tells you what to use for what. 
Lots of info.

Herb



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I like to the "Oomoo 30" from Smooth-on. 
It's mixed 1:1 by volume so you don't need a precision scale, and is pretty forgiving if you're off slightly. 
You can also get it from some art suppliers, such as Dick Blick:

http://www.dickblick.com/products/smooth-on-oomoo-30-silicone/#items

For resin I like Smooth-on's "Smooth Cast 300", for the same reasons.

Both of these products have a pretty short shelf life once they've been opened. 
However, you can prolong it considerably by getting yourself some of that "canned air" used to dust out keyboards, cameras, etc. 
Before resealing the container, spray a little canned air into it. 
This displaces the "real air" and humidity.

Most of the things I've molded and cast were pretty simple one or two piece molds, 
and I just used foam core art board, scrap styrene, or whatever else was handy to form a dam around the master.

When I made a mold of the brakes for the RS-3, it was a two piece mold of an irregular shape. 
I filled the bottom half of the dam with modeling clay, and embedded the master halfway into the clay, 
building up the clay as needed to fit the shape of the piece. 

IMPORTANT: 
Make sure you use a modeling clay that does NOT contain sulfur, as this will react with the silicone mold compound!

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert at mold making or casting. I'm just relating what has worked for me.


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If you elect to do a two piece mold of a part, press a couple of cone shaped holes into the clay, 
to form keys so that the two mold pieces come back into register.

Don't forget to put some kind of of a release on the first mold half before pouring the second, so that you don't bond the two halfs together.  
I always used a light spray coat of Krylon.

Better to do some open, or flat back molds first, before you get into this.

When I was running the model shop, we had done a wooden model for a customer, of a corporate jet that they were dealers for. 
They liked the model, which had about a 20" wingspan, and asked how much an additional 3 would be. 
We took the original, made multiple piece RTV molds backed with plaster (without harming the finish on the original) and cast 3 more. 
Made the fuselages hollow to cut down on the weight (and the amount of resin). 
One of those jobs that you wonder if you can do, after you commit to doing it.

Herb



Ray Dunakin
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When I made the mold for the RS-3 brakes, 

I forgot to use a mold release between the two halves, and ended up with master embedded in the middle of a solid block of rubber. 

Had a heck of a time cutting it out.



pipopak
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Had a heck of a time cutting it out.

Model railroading if fun.

Model railroading is fun!

Model railroading is #$%** FUN!!!

Cheers!

Jose.




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