Making cutouts in styrene

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by budo, May 5, 2007.

  1. budo

    budo New Member

    Hi everybody, Have a question .
    I need to make some rectangular cutouts in sheet styrene for windows in an old time station under construction in HO. Is there a preferred and easy way to make these cutouts ? I am using sheets of scale siding. My first thought was to drill small holes where the corner of the windows are and just enlarge them all the way around the opening then square the opening off by an Xacto knife. Any easier way ?
    Suggestions welcome.
  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I just draw (with a ruler) the cutout on the styrene and then just use a ruler and cut along the lines with an xacto knife. :mrgreen:
  3. budo

    budo New Member

    Hi Josh
    Good idea but the thickness of this styrene doesn't allow cuts with an Xacto knife. It's approximately 1/16" thick and the knife won't cut it.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One of Kalmbach's current book/magazines shows using a nibbler to enlarge a hole drilled in plastic. I think Radio Shack used to carry them, but a good hardware store might have some.
  5. budo

    budo New Member

    Checked out the nibbler on Google and it seems to be a possible answer. Now to try and find one.
    Thanks Budo
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    If the sheet styrene is small enough, I would drill a hole in each corner then use a coping saw to make the cut out.
    Howstuffworks "Coping Saw"

  7. budo

    budo New Member

    Thats along the idea that I had originally. Drill holes in the corners then more holes as need to be able to get a small Xacto knife in or something similar. Problem is space. The size of the window cutouts is only about 1" by 1/2". ( I should have mentioned this in my first post ) :???:
    Happened to spot the "Nibbler" on Micro Mark tools BTW.
    Thanks Budo
  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    For a hole that small, at least if you only need a few, I would use an X-Acto with a #11 blade: poke the tip into the area to be removed, then twirl the handle until the blade breaks through to the other side, then continue twirling until the wide part of the blade will fit through the hole. Now, with the blade through the hole, carve away the sides until you get close to the outline, then finish with a file or emery board. You could do one faster than it took me to describe it. :wink:

  9. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    i use an electric dremel with a cut-off wheel and where it wont get to i use a small file.and if there are any large burrs i use the sanding wheel.--josh
  10. budo

    budo New Member

    Thanks for ideas guys.
    Plan on trying first one with the small drill idea. The Nibbler sounds good but too much to pay. Have seven of these windows tho and if the drill,cut and file method doesn't work well might have to go the way of the "Nibbler".
    One other possibility-might be able to find some imitation siding for the building sides out of some other material that is a little thinner than the styrene and easier to work with.
    Tks again. Budo
  11. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

  12. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Have you tried multiple cuts using a ruler and knife as suggested earlier. I seldom find that I can make one cut through a piece of material, even thin wood. Use repeated cuts with light pressure. I have done the "drill it repeatedly" thing with aluminum aircraft parts when there was no other option. Soft material like styrene may not be easy to drill where you want it but give it a try.
  13. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I picked up some very small chisels. I haven't tried them on styrene yet buy they could do the job and give you a straight cut at the same time.
  14. railnut

    railnut New Member

    I have been scratchbuilding for some time now, I , like Glen says have used chisels in the past, works well, go slow. I purchased a 90 deg punch cutter from Micro Mark, works great. As others have said a nibbler works good too.
  15. budo

    budo New Member

    HI all
    I am really impressed at this site and all the help I have been getting from your replys. Being a recent joiner to this forum and this being only my second post I thank all for the suggestions. I am using Pikestuff siding. I was surprised at the thickness of it (about 1/16"). The first windows I ordered from Grandt Line I can't use (they were 16 pane-need 4 pane) Ones I need are due in a day or two so I can get started then.
    My project is a diorama of the Ma&Pa station (HO scale) that once stood in Delta.Pa.
    Was able to get some copies of original blue prints for dimensions and layout etc.
    Have found out that half the enjoyment of doing a project like this is researching and gathering info.
  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Most windows, and some doors, can be modified by the judicious use of an X-Acto knife and a razor blade, from removing excess muntins and mullions (I don't even know which is which ):roll: , to completely re-sizing the entire window, as was done with some of the windows in the crossing shanty pictured below.

    I'm glad to hear that you're going ahead with your station project. Did you ever find any more info on the original paint scheme? I hope that you'll share some photos with us, either as the work progresses, or when the job is done.


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