Tips using common items

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Woodie, Apr 24, 2001.

  1. Dragon

    Dragon Member

    I can't believe no one mentioned TINFOIL yet!!!
    Makes a decent corrugated roof, can be acid etched for realism.
    WRap around a bolt of the proper diameter and you got a ribbed culvert. Spray a little black on it and weather it with rust powder for that old drain pipe where you used to go crawfish hunting.

    Or, if you're into office supplies, get one of those cheapo paper cutters from Wal-Mart. THe ones with the little slide piece that holds the blade.
    I use it to cut strips from the thin brick-faced styrene sheets for when I'm making foundations.

    Bridal veil glued down on a piece of styrene could represent traction plate (the stuff with the raised pattern to keep you from slipping off in bad weather). CAn also be used like the old screen idea for chain-link fencing.

    Minwax Stain-sticks - use the Walnut stain version for coloring the preformed hydrocal wood tunnel liners and retaining walls. Makes them look VERY realistic and weathered with just a swipe or two. Also good for pre-staining your strip wood when scratch-building a structure.

    I'll think of more, gotta go back to work now.

  2. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    Thanks for all the great ideals guys.
  3. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    These guys have all kinds of tools and odds & ends that work great for MRRs
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    "Nobody's mentioned clothes pins. They are terrific clamps..."

    Yes they are and I used them to hang the cloth skirting under the fascia of my layout. I hot glue gunned the clothes pins behind the fascia and simply clipped the fabric in!

  5. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Here is a tip for barb-wire and other wires. Thread works, but it has a twist in the fibers and can look fuzzy. Best thing to use is a product from a notions department of a sewing store. It is called "Invisible Tread" and comes in clear or tinted. It is a monofilament thread that is very fine, like a hair, for fixing garments when you don't have the right color thread. I used it for rigging on a boat I made and it looks good.:thumb:

  6. zedob

    zedob Member

    A tip from the tool bin.

    If you have and use machinist's squares or angle plates, a surface plate is a great asset to them. It's great for helping to line up any number of things that use an edge or surface as a base reference. i.e., lining up two DPM wall sections using the base edge.

    A cheap surface plate can be made out of 1/4" thick glass plate. It provides a perfectly flat surface (well, as close to perfect as we need), which won't warp, but it will chip if not handled correctly. With some loving care, it should last you a lifetime.

    The actual dimensions can be altered for personal preference or requirements, mine's 8" x 10", which seems to be a nice size. However, I'm thinking of having one cut 12" x 16".
    I had the glass guy down the road cut and sand my plate for me because I didn't want to dress the edges. Taping the edges is out of the question for this purpose because you want to be able to slide whatever off the edge.

    Add some felt feets on the botton and voila.

    The glass surface is easy to clean. Even CA glue comes off fairly easily with a razor.

    Just remember to wipe it down before use to remove any super small particles that can throw off even the most perfect 90 degree square. Rememeber, you are trying to duplicate a perfectly flat plane, not your beat up bench top.
  7. seanm

    seanm Member

    If ya have a slide (you know... before digital photography) that is blank or black... all ya need to do is make two cuts and remove the photo part the slide and you have two very accurate small squares for lining up building parts or anything that needs to be square.

    I use a LOT of doublestick tape lately. I mount Atlas HO switch motors on the underside of my sub roadbed with it. Had a layout up for 12 years and never had it let loose. Can also be removed with a thin spatula and does not harm the switch motors.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    For culverts, I use the straws that bend - they have a corrugated parts that looks right.
    I keep parts in 35mm film canisters. I made a couple of holes in a square of foam insulation and put a pair of canisters in it; one contains clean water (or wet water) for paint thinning while the other has very dirty water that I clean brushes in. I can also stick brushes in the foam to keep them upright -- in fact all sorts of tools.
    I have an old shaving brush for dusting models.
    A hair spray squirt bottle can be used to put gentle mists of alcohol/wet water over ballast without disturbing it.
    I take some clothes pins and reverse the spring. This gives a larger flat surface for the clamp.
    A small square of aluminum foil can be used as an easel for mixing paints. Also for mixing paint into various scenery substances. Just chuck it when done.
  9. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Great thread Woodie and great idea`s guys.

    Woodie I recommend you tell your dentist what you want his "tools" for , I do and always get a stash FREE. :thumb:
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Use the covers from disposable razors..Paint these green with a black top-arrange in a industry building for instant conveyor belt..

    Take a spray paint lid or small can-like mushrooms come in-paint it green add pipes..Instant vat for inside of a factory.

    Use the larger parts of tape players,resisters etc and use inside of a industry for machinery..This is really tom foolery that fools the eyes in seeing machines and small vats inside of industries.

    Cut of the heads of wooden box or kitchen matches and sand smooth--cheap lumber,timbers and tie stacks.
  11. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Paint Masking

    When painting or weathering something that has an area that you don't want painted, like the tops of rails or window panes, smear a thin film of Vasoline gel on the area you don't want treated. After the paint dries wipe the treated area with a wet cloth with a little Dawn liquid detergent. Paint and gel come right off. Eliminates the need for lots of sanding.

    I'm not trying to promote Vasoline or Dawn, I just know that they work. :D :D
  12. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Just had a thought. Are some of these going to be reposted in the Tips & Tricks at some time?
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Good idea. We'll see about getting this info "preserved" somehow... ;)

  14. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    I get all sorts of gears and stuff from Advair disks (Advair is an asthma medication I take daily, it comes in a disk that delivers proper doses).

    I build structures on a large (11x17 I think) picture frame I picked up for cheap. The glass provides a flat surface and the frame provides right-angle guides. Also, stryrene cement doesn't stick to the glass.
  15. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    For bushes I go to Wally world and pick up natural painters sponges trim a piece off paint it green you got a convincing bush add a piece if stick to the bottem you have a tree I also use plaster and when it starts to dry I scrape the bits into nice boulders not so many leftovers to clean up [​IMG]
  16. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Chain is available in a multitude of sizes.Check out the local yard sale or rummage sale for 25 cent jewelry buys.I have gotten as much as 6' of scale chain off 1 piece of Jewelry for 25 cents........Thats 12.00 worth at the LHS ;)

    Straight edge razor blades can be used for most of those times when you would reach for the Hobby knife. A #11 blade cost much more than a single edge razor blade which has 2 sharp ends ;) Buy the 100 pack, you'll be set for a long time and your #11 blades can be saved for those times when nothing else will do :)

    A Pruning shear and 15 minutes in the local woods will net you all the logs you could possibly need. Bark included!!
    Run then through the bandsaw and make Slabwood, Firewood or Cants.Split log sctions for a natural looking stick.split full scale length pieces to make split rail fencing.

    Harvest time is coming and a small pruning shear will net you all the deciduous tree armatures you'll ever need. Find dry Yarrow around roadside ditches, old gravel pit area's etc. Cut it when it has Browned off. Trim and use with polyfiber and groundfoam to make some fantastic looking trees.
    For showpieces use contour putty around the trunk area and dont forget some raised root detail.Scribe bark grain into this with a razor saw. Add just a hint of red for a late summer or an early fall Maple tree a splash of yellow for birch or aspen.Remember to use several shades of greens for leaves blended in as Nature is not monotone !!
    Look over a semi distant tree covered hillside and notice the subtle color variations.
  17. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Go to your local Flea Market for dental tools...Also...

    I have always found some vendor at the local flea market selling dental tools. they are cheap and you can buy a whole set of kewl tools for model railroading applications.

    Also....Those wooden cloths pins with the metal springs can be talen apart and reassemled backwards to give you a long clamp. (The handles become the clamp)

  18. Jodam

    Jodam Member

    I have used the one #11 blade for almost 2yrs now, i hone it frequently on a piece of Arkansas sharpening stone i've had for 30 years.

    This xacto knife is used on Card, paper, balsa, plywood and brass tubing. And a few strokes on the stone brings the edge back as good as new.
    A somewhat cheaper method would be a fine grade sharpening stone from a fishing/sports goods store, the type for sharpening fish hooks.

    cheers Damien.
  19. Hunkiedoo

    Hunkiedoo Member

    Tips & Tricks

    How about using those 7-day pill containers that other old people (not me of course ) use to sort their pills. They are cheap, plastic and have seven small compartments in a row. The curved bottom makes it easy to "finger" out small parts. I use one to sort track spikes; long spikes, short spikes, new spikes, used/bent spikes, etc. Sort tiny screws, Kadee coupler springs & parts, etc.
  20. Beer brewer have a tool that can be helpful. I use an old Windex bottle to spray my scenic cement. Brewers have a bottle washer that i used to clean the spray bottle to clean out the Windex. I then use it to wash the bottle out now and then. The washer attaches to the faucet eith a thread adapter. It shoots a forced stream of water into the inverted bottle, it does a great job.

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