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Author Topic: Working with Plasticard  (Read 25489 times)

Seaspray

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Working with Plasticard
« on: January 18, 2009, 11:26:30 am »

Hi
Anybody here done a tutorial on plasticard, or is there already one on the forum ?

Anybody who is good at working with plasticard I would appreciate it if they put one on it.

I am just coming around to start using plasticard and my jobs using it are terrible.


Seaspray
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 11:29:44 am »

Might be worth getting the late, lamented Richard Webb's book which is on special offer from Traplet: https://shop.traplet.com/product.aspx?c=300

Colin
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Seaspray

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2009, 11:37:03 am »

Funny enough If got it and forgot I had  it, cheers Colin  :-))

But was looking to have a tutorial on the forum so I / we could ask questions when things go wrong, as they will do with me.


Seaspray
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Martin13

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 01:20:40 pm »



But was looking to have a tutorial on the forum so I / we could ask questions when things go wrong, as they will do with me.


Seaspray

I agree with Seaspray. I'm soon going to start using the stuff for the first time after many years of ply and Balsa. I'd like to hear how modelers have used the stuff to make various pieces etc. Also, how to cut round holes (small) for Portholes and the like including Tricks of the Trade so to speak.....and most of all - ASK QUESTIONS :-))

Martin doon under
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 02:02:52 pm »

Well, if you are after specific advice then just ask the questions on this topic. There's plenty of people who will be able to help out. Also If you do a bit of searching you may find some useful stuff. I seem to remember seeing posts on making cowl vents and using hot water to shape plasticard around moulds.

Colin
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westcoaster

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2009, 03:16:42 pm »

Two references that might be of some help -  1) Go on to Model Slipways website and click on Hints and Tips
2) Have a look in Marine Modelling, December 2008 issue where there is an excellent article entitled Tiffys workshop. This deals with the subject in some detail with good pictures.
HTH
Douglas
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TCC

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2009, 05:04:28 pm »

From the bits I've read and my experience, you can scour p/card on one side and you're supposed to snap the cut clean away.

Then if you ever sand it, you can 'tidy' the piece up by painting it with 'solvent' (the type of glue that melts ABS) That melts the surface very slightly and cleans it up. I used to use the proper solvent adhesive when I had some (keep spilling bottles... anyone (else) ever glued a dust sheet to the table with CA? ) but now I use nail varnish remover (acetone) That seemed to have cleaned up some pieces the other week.

My last 'tip' is to use the emery boaards your partner uses to sandpaper their nails... I've taken that further and PVA'ed some 'wet & dry' type sandpaper to some thin ply. I then cut my own sanding boards that are flatter than the girly nail thingys.

Taking that further, you could glue emery paper to dowel and make 'round files'.

I found the black 'wet & dry' paper works better than sandpaper as it can be cleaned off and I'm still using pieces I made at the very start. Sandaper doesn't fare so well as the 'sand' falls off.

I'll tell you something else I've learned: ABS/solvent won't stand the test of time as well as CA does. A Lot of my parts have disintergrated/become VERY fragile with the slightest tap. e..g. the thin ABS  microstrips become brittle and snap before bending. It's not something you think about when contemplating building but it's not very nice when 10+ yrs down the line, your pride and joy starts to fall apart. It's then an impossible repair as finishes fade and you can't match old & new, plus you can't buy old fittings anymore and you break everything while trying to get in there to repair things.

So let me clarify: the superstructure areas are fine (in the main) as that's 1mm< ABS bonded to similar, it's the thin bits, plus those with little contact areas, that fail. For instance: ladders made with microstip = fail: superstructure and funnels made with 1mm+ plasticard = fine.

As I say, it's not something you think about.

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Seaspray

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2009, 05:17:46 pm »

Cheers all the lads.

But still looking for a tutorial started on the forum as there is a lot of info some of us need to learn. I will continue building in wood but some day I'll have to use  plasticard and I wont to know to work with it.


Seaspray
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oldiron

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2009, 05:27:22 pm »

 I've used sheet and shaped styrene in many areas to great advantage and success over the years. Its easy to work with, can formed relatively easily and takes paint well after priming.
  To glue styrene to styrene I've used, for years (and I know there will be a lot of hollering here) MEK. Works fantastic and welds the pieces together. They never come apart, because they are welded together. Testors and Tamiya make a liquid styrene glue that works very well too. Does the same as MEK, but not as lethal.
  To fasten styrene to other materials: liquid styrene glue works well when attaching styrene to wood. The softened styrene absorbs into the wood and a good solid bond is made. Cyano can also be used for fastening styrene to other materials, however, roughen the styrene surface first for better adhesion.
  Don't forget people like Evergreen make styrene in a wide variety of shapes that is extremely helpful in model making. The also make sheets with different surface textures for, example, tongue and groove siding.
  As an example, I built the wheel house, below, using styrene sheet and strips. In the warf scene, the whare house and tanks were built from styrene

John
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2009, 05:35:37 pm »

Quote
I will continue building in wood but some day I'll have to use  plasticard and I wont to know to work with it.

It's certainly difficult to avoid using plasticard and styrene sections these days but I far prefer working with traditional materials and always try to keep plastic to a minimum as it is unlikely to last in the long run. The very thin birch ply is a super material to work with. Don't feel pressured to work with plastic, it isn't essential as many top modellers will tell you. It is however undoubtedly quicker to work with in many situations. As in everything else, you pays your money and takes your choice.

Colin
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amdaylight

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2009, 05:38:49 pm »

Greetings,

Depending on the thickness the best way to cut plastic is to scribe a line and then snap it over a sharp corner, it will break off just like glass. On the thinner plastic a rotary cutter like the one in the photo below works real well.

I use a thick ruler or square to guide the scribe or the cutter, the thicker the ruler the less chance of cutting one self.

For cutting windows out of the middle of a finished part, depending on how close the opening is to an edge I will sometimes cut them first and then the part of the sheet. For this I will build a jig so I can use my Dremel tool, I use the cutting set shown below to cut out the window and then use the corner chisel to clean the out the corners if I need them to be square.

For gluing I use "Tenax7R", this is a fast welding type of glue, for things that I want a little more time on I use Testors liquid glue, this may be the same as the Revell liquid but I have never tried the Revell product so I can' say for sure that it is the same.

I apply the Tenax with a glass pipette, or micro brushes.

I am sure you will have many more questions, so just ask away and I will try to answer them.

Andre
over yonder in Portland Oregon
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oldiron

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2009, 05:53:06 pm »

Andre:

  Is that corner chisel a Dremel accessory too? Neat item to have in the toolbox.

John
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oldiron

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2009, 05:55:58 pm »

Quote
I will continue building in wood but some day I'll have to use  plasticard and I wont to know to work with it.

It's certainly difficult to avoid using plasticard and styrene sections these days but I far prefer working with traditional materials and always try to keep plastic to a minimum as it is unlikely to last in the long run. The very thin birch ply is a super material to work with. Don't feel pressured to work with plastic, it isn't essential as many top modellers will tell you. It is however undoubtedly quicker to work with in many situations. As in everything else, you pays your money and takes your choice.

Colin

  colin:

 I agree, it isn't essential to use plastic card, however, it sure does expand your range of materials to work with. Gives a great impression of a steel/metal finish when painted a lot easier than wood. Properly used, I feel plasticard is just as durable, in the long run, as wood.

John
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TCC

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2009, 06:19:54 pm »

I agree with colin and amaday (didn't know you could get corner cutters for a dremel!) Another tip is to cut circles,or cut circular windows out, is with a compass with 2 points. The outer point scribes the circle and repeated scribing eventually cuts through or allows you to snap it out or take the cutting further.

One guy told me how to make big circles once: you place some sort of flat disc on a drill of some kind, place double-sided tape on the disc face and fix the styrene to that. Then start the drill and offer up a blade to it. I tried it the other day but I don't have a variable speed for this drill. Anyway, I got a circle off it, a bit rough but it gave me the start I needed. [I used a mini-craft drill and a buffing disc with the tape on the face of the wool buffer.]

I like to use styrene as it's an easy material to work with and there's no need to fill the grain before painting. I like plastic as it's very 'kitchen table' friendly in that it's easy to cut, drill and form.

But my talk of 'failures' may be a question of choosing the right materials for the job? But that doesn't take away from the fact that all my microstrip is now brittle when once you could bend it to a 'spring' form.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2009, 07:03:49 pm »

Although I love working with Plasticard I will also agree with Colin. I use a compromise....I tend to use fairly thin card stuck to thinnish ply (double sided tape again). That way I get a good surface to paint on if needed and the strength of the ply to back it up. If the area to be covered (a bulkhead for example) has windows / ports or whatever I will cut them out of the ply before adding the plasticard...then cutting out the plastic is a doddle with a scalpel, finishing off with a smooth file. BY.
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Notes from a simple seaman

Colin Bishop

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2009, 07:07:04 pm »

There have been some other threads on here regarding the long term stability of styrene. I think that ultimately, being an artificial petrochemical material, it will break down of its own accord but that the stuff you buy today is more stable than when it first started to be used for modelmaking purposes 25 years or so ago. It is of course also susceptible to UV light so needs to be well protected. There is certainly no doubt that the various sections, angle, channel etc. are really useful and I do have a wide selection of these in my own workshop. For large areas I do prefer wood for the reasons already given and because it is far more thermally stable than styrene which can expand and contract alarmingly depending on the ambient temperature. I imagine this must result in "plastic fatigue" over a period.

Colin
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oldiron

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2009, 07:12:33 pm »

TFor large areas I do prefer wood for the reasons already given and because it is far more thermally stable than styrene which can expand and contract alarmingly depending on the ambient temperature. I imagine this must result in "plastic fatigue" over a period.

Colin

  Colin:

 I certainly agree on the thermally stable point. Leave a plastic anything on the inside of a car on a warm sunny day, with the windows rolled up, and you'll have a puddle on your hands.

John
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tigertiger

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2009, 01:55:34 am »

I bought a couple of DVDs from Traplet.

Marine Modelling Workshop - Craftsmanship in wood and metal, part #DV508.
Marine Modelling Workshop - Craftsmanship in Plastic and Moden Materials   #DV509
you can save money if you get the twin pack.

The Craftsmanship in wood and metal DVD was disapointing.

The Craftsmanship in Plastic and Moden Materials was much better.
There is a very long segment on working with styreme. A great tutorial by Richard Webb. This covers cutting sheet, cutting holes, gluing, painting an much more. He also describes properties of the material, and how to get the best out of it.
Richard Webb gives a lot of explanation of what he is doing and why.
I had never considered working with plastic, but after watching the DVD I can see how simple it can be.

I would personally recommend  Craftsmanship in Plastic and Moden Materials to anybody who is new to plasticard.

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Seaspray

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2009, 08:34:04 am »

Cheers lads for the replies.  :-))  :-))  :-))

Do feel at liberty to put  more of your experiences on this thread it would be most appreciated. Don't forget some pictures would be nice to see of your work.

I'll have a read at R.W. book and get the DVD.

First question. Is there a way to protect plasticard from becoming brittle, like a wash or coat of some liquid before painting?
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6705russell

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2009, 10:07:15 am »

This thread reminds me of a thread i started a while ago about my models being outside in the garage, at this time of year it is freezing in there and always wondered if it would  have an effect on the styrene? Will it go brittle over time etc ?

Russ
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tigertiger

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2009, 10:11:52 am »

Hi Russel.

Did it?

I do know that UV kills lots of things. But not so much of a problem temperature variation.

But you may get cracking joints due to excessive temperature change as a result fo expansion and /or contraction.
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barriew

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2009, 10:17:25 am »

First question. Is there a way to protect plasticard from becoming brittle, like a wash or coat of some liquid before painting?

As far as I know, just painting the external surfaces will help delay the effects of the UV. Obviously keeping them out of direct sunlight, or even away from windows, when not in use will help reduce exposure.

Barrie
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Proteus

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2009, 10:40:13 am »

A hint on working with plasticard , . I use a small block plane to straighten the edges, it works great and you can get very nice straight square edges to glue .
it does not damage the blockplane at all but it will need sharpening. it also needs to be sharpish before you start. I have found it does not blunt it much more than working with some hardwoods, and a quick rub on the oil stone and it is ready for wood again.

Proteus
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TCC

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2009, 10:51:03 am »

First question. Is there a way to protect plasticard from becoming brittle, like a wash or coat of some liquid before painting?

As far as I know, just painting the external surfaces will help delay the effects of the UV. Obviously keeping them out of direct sunlight, or even away from windows, when not in use will help reduce exposure.

Barrie

I was just going to say the same... it's UV or polution that damages it as I have un-used micro-stip still in their strip-packet and that is not so brittle but it has still deterioraited though. I made both inclined and upright ladders with it and used it for banding on funnels. All had a coat of paint. I used to be able to push the uprights of the ladders and make the spaces between the rungs trapeziod shaped. If I tried that now, I'd have a handful of small grey microstip inm my hand. I used it back then as they could take a knock...

But I'll sum 'my experience' up with saying 'the thicker it is, and the bigger the glueable area, the longer lasting... '. So let's keep it in perspective, a lo of my build is fine... no issues.

The stuff I detailed funnels with looked as fine as the day I fixed it, it's just that I had to remove this strip and THAT'S how I found that that had also gone brittle. And if you're glueing the strip against a wall as detail, you'll not likely knock it nor need to remove it, thus it will be fine. It's if you make railings or ladders with it, and then actually use them model  you may face issues. Static modellors who display behind glass 24/7/365 will have no issues, really.


I have no great experience with 'Plastruct' channels, angles, 'I' beams or the like, the microstrip I'm refering to comes in packets of 0.020" x 0.010" or 0.015" x 0.015" sizes. It's that type of size.

And if UV attacts it, could airbourne gasses do likewise? (like they do against inkjet dye inks)
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oldiron

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Re: Working with Plasticard
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2009, 11:09:56 am »

I'm afraid I haven't experienced the brittleness people are referring to. I've got boats that are over 15 years old and use plasticard extensively and they are as strong now as when I built them. I' have plastic models (Revell, Aurora etc) I built as a young teenager. They are older than dirt now, but can still be handled with no problem or fear of crumbling.
  I think the key is ultraviolet. That seems to break down any plastic over time. You're not going to have problems on your runs days, but if you displayed/stored your model in an area of direct sunlight constantly  over several years you're going to be looking for a problem.
  I think its all things in prespective.

John
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