So how do you all do it?

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Wily, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Wily

    Wily Member

    I was looking at and couldn't help but wonder how he got such clean, perfect curves on the formers.

    What are your techniques for cutting circles, ovals...and especially cutting circular formers that have the insides cut out?

    Thank you in advance... :)
  2. I use a punch when I can and when they are too big for my punch I cut a rough circle and then finish it with my Dremmel sander. Makes for a nice clean rounded former. For wheels, I use the build up method mostly. Then I mount it on a thin wire shaft and use the dremmel sander to spin it perfectly round. You have to leave a little extra so you can bring it down to the proper radious. You can round the edges perfectly this way. Once you practice it you find it makes for some pretty nice wheels.
  3. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    when cutting the insides of the formers out I dont follow the lines at all :) I usually cut a diamond shape instead that will fit snugly over my finger so I can just twist my finger a bit to get it properly lined up and it easier to get it in right in the first place this way. Only time I wond do this would be if there is another part that might but up against the cut out part.... I hope that made sense - it did in my head......
  4. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

    I used scissors for all my 1mm formers (in fact everything :D), I find it very easy on curved parts... Just a thought
  5. jaffro

    jaffro Long term member

    I use curved (finger)nail scissors on curved parts... I also have an olfa circle cutter and a swivel knife, either of which I have been game enough to try out yet... for small holes, i have just purchased a rotating hole punch, usually used for leather belts etc.
  6. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    my scissors always seem to have issues with thicker stock.... can I get a pic of what you use?
  7. jaffro

    jaffro Long term member

    The nail scissors are fairly decent on thick stock but can sometimes cause a bit of delaminating, I sometimes cut outside the line roughly then nibble away at the circle/curve with them until I get the shape i want, if the stock delaminates i run a bit of plastic model glue along the edge to and let it dry before trying again.

    [​IMG] DSC00026.jpg

    The circle cutter (the red thing) seems better suited to thinner stock which I don't use a lot but I'm hoping it will be handy when i take on a couple of commercial kits I bought which seem to be printed on thin enough card, the swivel knife seemed like a good idea but it is a bit hit and miss when it comes to following a line... the blade rotates inside the shaft supposedly making curves and circles easier to cut.


  8. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

  9. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member

    You need to start with the card stock used to laminate up the formers. I make my own by laminating up 67 lb card stock using 3M 77 spray glue. (I know most of you have already heard this) 2 sheets make .5 mm four sheets for 1 mm. what you end up with is a dense card stock that when completely dry has the feel of styrene sheet plastic. I use a knife on .5 mm stock and use both scissors (Fiskars Spring Action 5" Micro-Tip) and a knife on 1 mm stock I cut to the out side of the line. I then sand the edge usually eliminating the cut line with 220 to 180 grit sand paper. Like I said the made up card stock is quite dense and is fully capable of being sanded. I make up sanding sticks by gluing the sand paper to 1/8 inch bass wood. One of the advantages of sanding is that you can get perfect fits between the formers and the skin of the model.

    Jim Nunn
  10. bfam4t6

    bfam4t6 Member

    I do very similarly to Jim, except that I just laminate directly to a nearly 1mm thick cardboard. I just cut very carefully with an x-acto knife, rotating the cardboard and not so much the blade to make sure I'm always holding the blade at the same angle. Then I sand with either a cheapo nail file or I use a set of small metal files, in various shapes, that I picked up at hobby lobby. They all fit neatly into the handle which is about the size of an x-acto handle. The set only cost me around $15. The various sizes work great for certain curves and even getting into the small 1mm slits that are sometime cut to make slots. With care, I can make some very satisfying circles.
  11. One other mention is this. I often use framer's matt board. It is thick and you can peel the layers down to the size you want if it is too thick. I use sheet metal sheers with the red handles (they cut to the left) you can slice right through it with very little effort. I leave a little sometimes to sand it with my Dremel tool. I used to use a sanding stick but then discovered the Dremel.
  12. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    I use curved scissors I purchased from a Hobby shop that are designed to cut the wheel wells out of RC car bodies. Since the scissors are designed to handle thick, Lexxon plastic, they do very well in handling the thicker paper.

    I also use the Olfa circle cutter. But you have to realize that it will most likely take several gentle rotations to allow the blade to gradually cut all the way through the paper. Pressing down on the Olfa circle cutter is a BIG mistake. You will flex the plastic of the cutter itself and get imperfect and warped circles.

    Have you ever heard of french curve templates? These little guys are WONDERFUL. They're templates that consist of several different types of curves that you can lay over your parts and just follow the blade of your knife along the edge you want.

    Recently, I spied a large, hollow punch set at Harbor Freight. Yeah, I know.... cheap, chinese tools. But these punches were bigger than any paper punch I've ever seen. The largest one is about 3/8" in diameter. They aren't very sharp..... yet. I've been sharpening them myself and polishing the sharpened edges... hope I can get them to work to my satisfaction.

    Finally, as an artist by trade, I've had to do a LOT of paper cutting in my life. And I've learned through hard experiance that a sharp blade is ESSENTIAL to getting a clean cut. A dull blade will just rip and tear through the paper. A razor sharp blade and a light hand will give you more control and cleaner cuts..

    Attached Files:

  13. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    I'll back Jim up on the sanding part, only I get some of those emory boards that are used on finger nails. You can find packets of them for very little money or even get free samples from places. They have a different grit on each side, a fine grit and a little coarser grit, about like the 180 and 220 grit mentioned.
  14. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    HeckYah those fingernail emeryboards are great!
  15. jaffro

    jaffro Long term member

    I never thought of using emery boards, I usually just glue a bit of fine grit sandpaper to a piece of thick cardstock, cut to the shape and size I need.
  16. bfam4t6

    bfam4t6 Member

    I guess when I said "nail-file" I meant emery boards. The nice part is that most have a foam center which creates some "give" and makes it difficult to sand too hard and mess up a piece.

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