Cardmodels made Easy-er

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by thewoodengraver, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    I'm doing this thread partly in response to cardmodelers block I have run into in the past. Since the addition of my sweet 'lil tools, this block has not happened. I am hoping this thread will help any of you suffering from this rare malady.

    First up;
    1 The cutting mat. if you don't have one...get one. I used to use a piece of glass to cut on (works very well) but the knife slid way too easily for my liking and the tips always broke off too soon. (Wallmart)

    2 X-Acto knife. ONLY X-Acto will do, don't care what anyone says. I use the #2 handle with the #24 blade. The #1 blade is nice but the tips break way too easily leaving the knife useless. I have replaced my #24 blade ONCE in the last two years. (Wallmart)

    3 Straight edge. One with a very thin edge and this is why...
    I DO NOT SCORE !!! !!! !!! Actually, I do not score 99.996% of the cardmodels I build. Scoring weakens the model and I cannot seem to score without cutting all the way through. so...
    I use the straight edge to FOLD the parts. Put a small light behind the straight edge and the part to be folded so you can see the shadow of the straight edge, line 'er up, and fold. (Michael's or any good Art supply)

    4 Tiny scissors. I do not know the brand name of these but they are THE most important addition to my cardmodeling arsenal. These scissors will follow ANY line to be cut, EASILY, no matter how small the part. In fact I would almost be confident enough to throw mean...not use (gasp) my X-acto knife, that's how well these work. (don't worry, I'm keeping my X-acto). (Wallmart)

    5 Miracle point tweezers. If your fingers are larger than a five year old childs hands, then these are necessary. Also damn good for at-home surgery!(Army-Navy surplus)

    6 Small needlenose pliars. With a smooth jaw. For "spot welding" parts. I use Elmers glue and we all know how long you have to hold parts until this glue dries. Take your small needlenose and clamp the lined up parts in one small area really hard, and you have just spot welded the parts. They will be able to be pulled apart if you mess up but you will suffer damage if you do. (Hardware store)

    7 Tiny closepins. for temporary clamping of glued parts.(Michael's)

    8 Glue There has already been a good thread on glue...your choice.

    9 Asstorted dowels. Not really shown. For rolling tubes...etc...

    10 Edge coloring. Again, there has already been a good thread on this, I might just add, I used to use Sharpie colored pens but they bleed too much. Now, I use acrylic paint. It comes in EVERY color if you include the ability to mix.

    11 Needles and pins. for rolling, poking, aligning, and all around general fun!

    Finally, for the last necessity...

    12 Happy thoughts. Need I explain?

    I look forward to any suggestions or techniques I have not thought of or mentioned.
  2. yaniv

    yaniv Active Member

    smol tips

    i use a screwdriver for roling the parts

    its esey to work with
    comfortable to to hold
    and the reasolt is realy cool and not bracking my hends to roling parts

    and last stuff

    u have it in any size u need so u can rool any size of parts from smol to larg

  3. GT5500

    GT5500 Member

    I have to disagree with the comment about x-acto, I used one a few times but find they are a bit clumsy, I would never use anything but my Swann and Morton scapel with 10A blades (I have the handle that is shaped like a paintbrush, its is so easy to control). For rolling small parts I use a set of 'Micro' drill bits, I have a set with all the small sizes I could ever need, for larger parts I use dowels, pencils anything round really.
  4. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    Some nice tips, many of which I use.

    On scoring, I use an embossing tool with two sizes of tips, one is quite small. I also use a small crocheting needle that I have enlosed in some wood to make a handle for easier use. The tools do not cut the paper, they make a shallow groove that folds easily. I have seen suggestions to use an empty ball point pen, too.

    On folding, I use a thin metal ruler to aide in making long straight folds, even after scoring. I fold the part over the thin edge of the ruler. I also use an old utility knife blade. The used razor edge of the blade will not cut the paper, but provides a nice thin sharp folding aide. I use it mostly for folding small parts. Sometimes scoring is not needed.

    On edging. I use Prang colored pencils. I have found that dipping the points in some water makes the color flow more easily and thus helps in edging.

    I have some long nosed tweezers that are normally closed that I use for clamping. Works real good. I also use clothes pins that I have modified by turning the wooden parts around. The modification helps in getting into some tight places.

    Attached Files:

  5. Willja67

    Willja67 Member

    As far as cutting mats go can you really use an exacto knife on them? My mat says that it's only for rotary cutters and I tried a small cut just to see what would happen and it seemed like it wouln't be a difficult feat to cut clean through it. Also I have a fetish for keeping things lookin nice and it seems almost criminal to deface such a nice surface.
  6. Wily

    Wily Member

    Here's a few unique things that I have in my kit -

    1. Yupo. It's a synthetic paper. A commercial printer will be able to get it for you and it's rather expensive. However, as a stiffener, bulkhead or some other part that needs to be rigid and impervious to stress, Yupo is useful. Currently, I have 100 sheets left and expect it to last another few years.

    2. Hammerhead Contact Cement. Golden Bear made a good point about glue needing to wick into the paper - Hammerhead CC soaks in nicely and bonds instantly.

    3. Contact lens vials. They're small, have a lid and you can see right inside. Any optometrist has a bunch of these.

    4. Balsa filler. Works great on paper - smooths with a finger.
  7. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    I use a Fiskars "self healing" cutting mat. Even when I'm stressed out I can't seem to injure the mat beyond repair, except when the damn #11 blades break off ( then I get to dig 'em out). And as bowdenja pointed out, they resurface nicely with a orbital sander. No chance of cutting through this mat that I can see (let's be skillsaw would work...).
  8. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    I binned my first exacto handle years ago; couldn't stop the blessed thing rolling off my tabletop! Swann Morton for me, every time! They stay where you put them!

    Tip with cutting mats, turn them over every few weeks, give each side a chance to heal more fully. They will wear out, especially if you cut in the same area all the time; down the alignment lines printed on them, for example. If you fine you naturally cut in one area and the mat gets wrecked there but is OK elsewhere, cut it up into smaller mats. You still need to buy a new one, but the salvaged parts are great for using as for punching discs, putting in a travelling tool kit and so on.

    Tim P
  9. josve

    josve Active Member

    I have also tried several knives from the Olfa type with brake off blades to scalpels and now last I use the exacto clones with #11 blades and the Olfa AK-1 knife.And of course the Olfa circle cutter :)

    For scoring I went to the place they sells knitting equipment and got some needles with a butt tip, cost's nothing and scores like a dream.

    Scissors are important. I use one small with a straight edge for sawing wife is short of one scissor, and a curved one used for fingernails.

    I have two cutting mats of the self healing type.No problem with them so far.

    For rolling parts I use several utilities...small drillbits from 0,6-12mm
    And for parts that are supposed to be rolled around a given size f,eks 2mm,I have bought some wooden rods from 2mm up to 8mm.
    Easy to glue the part to the rod, gives good rolling control.
    I also use a 2mm plastic tube with 1mm centerhole to roll parts on.

    A set with different tweezers are vital.

    Since I'm colorbling I struggle a bit with colors.....
    So what I do when I start a new model is to take a print of the parts to my local colorstore, they scan the color and make me 0,5L of the right color....costs a bit but....

    Dremel or similar drills are also very handy.I got the Dremel multitool on sales.It came together with a coffee mug and a batterydrill.

    Copperwire in different sizes are useful for a lot of stuff.
    Chalk for chalkdusting, easy to get :) (if you have kids)
    Overhead folie, great for windows
    Welding rods comes in different sizes, ideell for axels etc.I'm talking of the ones with no covering but of clean metal.
    1-2mm punchers are great for making rivets, but almost useless for making holes in modelparts.
    I know there are different types of punchers, but mine has the cone on the outside.punches for making holes in modelparts should have a stright ouside cut, and the cone on the inside.
  10. Shin_kazama

    Shin_kazama Member

    actually i first though NOT scoring was bad.

    but during my transition from ultra expensive plastic kits, to hyper cheap peper modelling, i do not score as to save build time....

    well look where it got me....

    better looking AXM space shuttle(my first ever paper piece)

    well if a corner was needed, and if its a straight one, the i just crimp it using a cleaver knife (AAAUUUUGGGH DONT KILL MEEE AAAAHH lol) and some thick pad paper.

    the crease that develops is the basis fro the fold.

    i only scored my F-117.

    my BSG colonial blackbird was creased.
  11. kcpstudio

    kcpstudio Member

  12. cmags

    cmags Guest

    I'm new (again) into the hobby, and certainly don't have my skills up to par yet with some of you on this board, but other than the basic kit of fine-point Fiskars, exacto, straight edge, and white glue, I find this to be an invaluable tool:


    I use the scissors for fine cuts that the Fiscars can't handle but I don't want to break out the exacto for. The primary use tho, is for "scoring". Rather than using the dead ball-point pen trick, the nail file has a nice, fine, rounded point that creases the cardstock quite nicely and makes clean folds w/o possible slicing or white edges showing. Just something that's in my pocket at all times and some of you may have lying around. Yet another use for a Swiss Army Knife ;)
  13. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    I use watercolor pencils for edge coloring--lots of colors, they last a good long while, and they're relatively cheap. I get them at a university bookstore. I found a long time ago that I don't need to match the model's color exactly--matching the contrast is more important than matching the color. I mostly use a half-dozen pencils--light and dark of grays, tans, and greens. To moisten the tips, I just lick them (they're non-toxic). And I can blend colors on the edge to improve the match.
    I agree that Sharpies (and most other felt-tips) bleed too much. The only Sharpie I use anymore is Metalic Silver.

    Cutting mats: I also started with a glass plate. It's still under the mat and makes a good surface plate when I need one. I use a 12x18 mat and replace it about once a year, cutting up the old ones for coasters and give-aways.

    For rolling: Anything handy--dowels, pens, paintbrush handles, toothpicks, anything round. For small parts, I start with a large diameter and work to a smaller one.

    Unique stuff in my toolbox:

    --For laminating, a wallpaper seam roller ($2 @ Ace Hardware) works like a charm! Better and faster than "clamping" with encyclopedias.

    --For scoring, a dissecting probe (a heavy-duty straight pin with a wooden handle--also good for rolling small parts) Got mine in a biology class back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Not sharp enough to cut the paper, it leaves a shallow groove. One of the keys to successful scoring is to use whatever tool you choose at a very low angle to the paper surface.
    I've also used a child's stainless steel table knife (until my wife made me put it back).

    --For holding my glue, an upside-down shot glass. It's heavy (stable), concave, and easy to clean. And right-side-up, it holds a nice serving of single malt Scotch (for relaxing after an evening at the workbench or celebrating the completion of my latest opus).

    No worries,
  14. GarageSymfony

    GarageSymfony New Member

    Tools tools

    For scoring I use a yarn needle on which I have modified the tip with a file. Yarn needles are dull to begin with and I made it duller, rounder, and smoooooth. I pushed it into the end of a dowel making a tool that is probably similar to the discection probe mentioned earlier.

    I never tried a model without scoring, I find that a even a very light groove on the part really helps.

    I use an OLFA knife with the high aspect blade that has to be special ordered. I bought about $100 worth a couple of years ago and probably have enough to last the rest of my useful life. I have used an Xacto with a #11 blade but found it lost it's tip fairly easily. I have not tried a #24, perhaps I should.

    Olfa circle cutter, awsome tool. I may be the only person in the world who can cut ovals and bloboids with it. Takes a bit of practice and a sharp blade, especially on heavier stock.

    I also use a plastic drafting template that has all different size circles on it. They are marked to help you find the center, can come in handy.

    I make a "pallet" out of a note pad to hold a blob of glue and apply it with a lightly moistened brush. When I am finished with the glue for that session, I tear off the top piece of paper and the pallet is clean and ready for the next session. I wish they made dinner plates like that.
  15. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    (whoops - double post) :oops:
  16. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    For applying glue (I use standard white glue), I use the plastic lid from a disposable tub of margarine as a "glue palette". Every now and then I wash it off. If the glue dries, it just peels off.

    For applying glue, sometimes I use a brush, but usually I use "applicators" or "spreaders" made by cutting up another plastic lid into a series of wedge-shaped "trowels" of different sizes.

    These "applicators" have made a big difference in the quality of my model building. I build 1/87 scale architectural models, so I often need to cover long tabs or other wide areas (e.g. laminating), and need to do it fast before the glue sets. The flat, flexible plastic "applicators" are excellent for this!

    Squirt a line of glue onto the "pallete", pick it up on the edge of the applicator. Using the applicator like a squeegee, it's possible to spread very thin, even layers of glue over a wide area really quickly.

    Since the pallette and "applicators" are plastic, they are easily washed with water. The same disposable plastic lids are also great for mixing paint (I color edges with watercolors).

    Attached Files:

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