Pesky Little Parts

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Mountain Man, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Here are a few tricks from my hobby work table, from what my wife describes as "my fertile mind". She claims it's "fertile because it's always full of bovine end digestive product. :D Must be love...I don't make that much money. :)

    We use baby food to feed one of our many critters - a sugar glider. We use the stuff in the little throw-away plastic tubs with the resealable lids, which are a perfect size for holding small parts that might get lost, have a nice blank top on the lid that takes Magic Marker well, and without the top becomes a holding tub, soaking tub for tiny parts, loose change, that belly lint you never know what to do with but might need for scenicking some day, and those little figures that fall and get trampled - you know - the ones you just spent days painting and getting just right - or little people! Take a bunch of them, organjize all the little screws, washers and other little whatnots in your hobby room or your garage and stack them neatly atop one another. Fool your wife into thinking she finally cxonvinced you to get organized. :thumb:

    Got stuff lying around on your modelling table when you're working on something, like I do, and you keep moving it to get to something else, which makes you search again for what you just moved? Try double-sided carpet tape: just slap down a strip, take your little parts and pieces, and lay them on the tape. They will remain exactly where you laid them until you move them. If you're planning to sneeze, give them a little tap and even the subsequent hurricane won't move them until your ready. And if you just happen to find some stry hairs on it when you return, you have all the proof you need to shoot the cat.

    My work table always has a small strip of magnetic tape stuck somewhere - the kind with the peel-off sticky backing. I stick a strip anywhere that's handy, horizontal or vertical, and put all my little modelling tools on it when I set them down. Surprisingly, they are where I left them when I start looking for them all over again.

    I don't know what you folks use for tiny detail work, but for about thirty years I have used a set of dental pics that I picked up somewhere dirt cheap. A whole selection of angled little points, probes, flat little chisel ends and other useful shapes, and if you need a special shape just for you, you can always grind a tip into the shape you need.

    not sure where to get nifty little parts for railroading that come in packages at the LHS, like chain in a lot of sizes, tiny little ropes, pulleys, spars and so forth? Check out places that sell model ship kits, the fancy wooden ones. If they haven't got the parts, the companies that make the models will often sell you an accessory packet that has a whole selection of useful little stuff. If you are at all like me, the act of holding some mysterious little gizmo in your fingers and peering at it for awhile begins a strange mental process that leads to all sorts of uses for it that the manufacturer never intended. Works for me.

    These are a few of the ways I try to maintain both order and my sanity. I hope they work for you! :)
  2. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one. I don't know how many things I've looked at and said to myself, "I'm not sure just what, but this looks like something that could be used for....something." :D :D
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thanks, it's easy to forget that a lot of common things we normally throw away are useful in some way or another to modelers.

    To add to your list, I keep egg cartons around. I cut off the tops as holders for large parts such as when I'm working on a car or engine. The bottoms I use for mixing paint. I also save those small plastic containers that you get apple sauce, jello and other snacks in. Great for holding parts or mixing glue and paint in.
  4. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I always keep spare parts around, for instance truck frames from locos, wagons and coaches, so I can make a workshop area.

    Using the most odd items make a great subject on the layout- that's the way to view a scrappy item: It's not a_________ but I can use it to fill that corner to act as a____________.

    Great that you posted this subject Mountain Man, hope lots o' Newbies read it for ideas.
  5. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I personally use old jam/ peanut butter jars.
  6. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    finally an excuse to get rid of that train eaten,bridge breaken good for nuttin cat!thanks mountain man those are some great tips and am actually using the carpettape one.i've also got another one for ya.take some bird reppeling electric tape on the edge of the layout and the cat will NEVER come back...he he he.--josh

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