Tools for getting started and optionals

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by cgutzmer, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    I think a thread to outline the must haves and the optional tools would really help people get started. I am sure I will miss many things that people here use and we might all classify them a bit differently. The must haves are the bare bones of what I think you must have

    must haves:
    xacto knife or similar
    small scissors
    cutting mat
    glue of some kind
    - White glue like Elmer's glue all or Aleene's
    - Solvent based glue like UHU or Duco
    Sharpie marker or similar for coloring edges
    scoring tool of some kind
    -empty ball point pen
    -crochet needle
    -anything pointy that wont cut the paper

    Dowels of multiple sizes
    Circle cutter
    Multiple colors of markers
    prismacolor markers in various grey shades
    water color pencils
    fiskars microtip scissors (my preference)
    fiskars embossing tool - dual tip (my preference for scoring)
    super 77 spray adhesive (for laminating)
    paintbrushes (a few higher quality is much preferred to many low quality)
    smooth jawed needle nose pliers
    spring clothespins
    many types of wire
    chalks (for weathering)

    if printing your own models:
    various thickness of card stock
    -110 lb
    -67 lb
    -epson matte photo paper (44 lb or so)
    -heavier card stock like backs of notebooks, cereal boxes etc if you don't want to laminate 110 lb together (I prefer to laminate multiple 110 lb myself)
    -decent printer :D

    Please feel free to add or tell me where I am crazy here :)
  2. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    Metal ruler - used for straight edge when cutting and scoring.

    The various size wires you mentioned can be used when rolling small diameter tubes.

    I use Prang colored pencils for edging. A quick dip in some water and they act sorta like watercolor pencils.
  3. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    A ruler! <smacks forhead> yeah pretty important :D
  4. 46rob

    46rob Member

    Actually--two rulers--so you can clamp them to each side of long joints, to keep them smooth and straight.
  5. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    I was not sure where to post this but I guess this is close enough to the "right" spot.
    I found a black marker the other day, in a grocery store of all places!
    What so great about it is that on the package it said that it will not bleed and it doesn't!
    It's made by Sanford and is called the Calligraphic Pen.
    It has a chisle point for, you guessed it, Calligraphy.
    Also great for getting into those tight spots.

    I don't know how you would make ink that does not bleed but these guys are on to something.
    I also hope they come out with colors soon.

  6. Don't forget patience, your favorite beverage, and time. Very important stuff, these. I'd also want some sanding materials of some kind.

    You know, while this is general modeling advice, it seems to me that most places where guys are recommending paint brush use in card modeling, lots of brushes from the dollar store are better than using your Kolinsky's to apply glue :)

    To me, this is not optional. You need 'em...several kinds.

    I'm crazy here as well as every other place I go so I'd best not point fingers at anyone else. Hmm...did you have a straight-edge on that list anywhere?

    Cheers --- Larry
  7. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    I forgot ruler but was set straight pretty quick :)

    I agree on the paintbrushes too - seems to be the common consensus to use cheapos (for now) ;)

    I also want to add watercolor pencils to the list.

    I hated them for doing grays but I just tried it for brown and red and they worked awesome!
  8. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    I would also suggest good light for the work place. Don't know about ther rest of you folk, but my eyes don't take a strain as well as they used to, and the more light available the better it is to see those little cut lines and folds, not to mention some of the little parts that you come across from time to time. I have one of those all spectrum lamps that shows things up nice and bright. I also have been using clip-on magnifiers on my reading glasses, the better to see what I'm doing.:grin: Both I consider essential for my builds, I couldn't do anything without them.

    I also believe that a nice, pointed set of tweezers are essential for my stuff, as are a few different sized dowels and/or knitting needles for rolling things with. Some might consider these items optional, but I find I use them on every single build. Toothpicks and bamboo skewers come in handy too for the same jobs, and fall into my essential stuff category as well, at least for my builds, as are a few small-sized wires. I have used florist wires quite a bit, usually about 30 guage or so, and have even used them to help roll small tubes where the diameter seemed just right for the job. Brass rods (the really small stuff) is handy for rolling as well. Another tool I use on every build is a needle mounted in the end of a small dowel (like an old paint brush), which I have found handy for many chores, like marking the reverse folds on some builds (punch a hole at each end of the fold, then you can turn the card over and draw a line to show where to put the reverse score), as well as, again, rolling little tubes, helping to force rigging thread into holes, pre-marking places for details in which I use the florist wire, like flagstaffs, pitot tubes, rigging points, etc.,...the handle just makes it easier for my meat hooks to hold on to the darn thing.

    I use both water color pencils as well as acrylic modeling paint, though keep in mind being water based they can warp or affect the paper parts if you put it on too heavy; some might find solvent based paints to work better. I don't use marking pens, I just have found them a bit less controllable than the water color pencils. I use the pencils both dry as well as applying it like paint using a bit of water on a brush to apply it to the model.

    As to paint brushes, I like the sable ones the best, yes even for applying glue. I keep the brush in a dish of water at all times, so I have not had any problems. I also found a nice, fine brush (say 000 size) is very handy for touching up the edges and stuff like that, but it's not essential for most card modeling.

    Just my 2 cents worth.:grin:

  9. keith

    keith Member

    I don't have a cutting mat! I use a hardback notepad or a piece of plywood with cork on (for balsa modeling).

    I have a tool like jims as well, it's a crochet needle mounted eye first into a 1/4"sq x 2" balsa block with a pin mounted sharp end first into the other end.
    It's a wierd tool that has many modeling applications. And it doesn't become lost as much as loose needles.

    Mini pegs seem to be better than full size clothespins. Mine have little santa heads on :grin:

  10. paper warrior

    paper warrior Member

    I use a piece of thin cardboard(non-corrugated).
  11. Jim, I take 'you need good light' for granted, like needing to eat so you have enough energy to model :) When it comes to eye crutches...err...magnifiers, however, I've stopped mentioning the 2 pairs of Optivisors I own cuz I do enough stuff to demonstrate that I'm an old fart.

    But I LOVE my Optivisors. They're so darn comfortable and you can flip them up when you don't need them. I'd tell the story about how I once wore them to the grocery store and didn't realize it until the cashier looked at my forehead and gave me a wierd look but then you'd KNOW I was an old fart.

    [Shudder...] Can't imagine letting glue get near my Kolinsky brushes but that's just me.

    Seemed more like a dime's worth of good advice.

    Cheers --- Larry
  12. blueeyedbear

    blueeyedbear Member

    Seeing better

    Larry isn't kidding.

    I've been using Optivisors for years (all the way back to the late 1960's). To say they are great is an under statement. They have an adjustable headband, and come in several magnifications (they have interchangeable lenses). The magnifier part flips up out of the way when you need to see the TV set. Lights that clip on are available (your head can't cast a shadow on the tip for the XActo blade). If you're over 35 you're probably near-sighted and need them!:grin:

    I've seen them in hobby shops, craft stores, and rock shops (I first used mine doing lapidary). Lots of places on the web.

    Bob (the near-sighted Blueeyedbear)
  13. So you're an old fart too :) The only thing I can add is that it's a waste of money buying the cheaper, plastic look-alikes (sorta). Not only are the optics not as good, the raise/lower mechanisms don't work well and they aren't nearly as comfortable.

    Cheers --- Larry
  14. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Hmmm... I've been looking at these lately, and after your recommendations, I may add a pair to the old totebox.

    As for tools, my 2 bits:

    Syringe glue applicator (couldn't work without mine)
    Several pair of both straight and curved hemostats (surgical clamps)
    Seam ripper (put this under pointy things for scoring and burnishing)
  15. doc_harvey

    doc_harvey Member

    And a really good me something to do with my fingers while I'm waiting for glue to dry:))
  16. You won't be sorry. If you buy an Optivisor you'll have to make a decision about which optics you want. While you can change these at any time, getting it 'right' the first time isn't a bad thing :)

    For what it's worth, I own two Optivisors, with #4 and #7 optics. The #4 is my 'go to' pair for general model work as it magifies considerably but the focal distance is somewhere around a foot from your eyes. THe #7 I use when I work on very tiny stuff but then only if I can do it on the end of my nose :) That's a bit of an exaggeration but you really have to be "up close" for them to focus and the focal depth short.

    Cheers --- Larry
  17. rjm

    rjm Member

    Hi guys & Gals,
    If you need something to file paper to fit, as in formers,
    go to a beauty supply store and get an emery glass file.
    About $7. Looks like it should last a long time.
  18. speedless

    speedless Member

    My eyes arent that good either,so i am using a "magnifying swingarm lamp".
    Light comes out under the linse,so you dont shaddow for yourself.
    Its mounted at the front-middle of the table,an ordinary swing-lamp is mounted to my top left,this ensures perfect lighting.
    I think this is importent,specially for the younger folks.
    Do not use fluorescent lamps/tubes for lighting.Its giving undefinied shadows and egdes(blurred),It will ware out your eyes.I use so called "daylight" bulbs.
    Another advantage of a glow-lamp;Heat to dry things up fast.
    For applying glue i mostly use a stiff brush,nylon from "toys a us",very cheap.
    If you need a very pointed or special form to apply glue/paint,just cut it to fit.
    As for metal-rulers;it has to be steel,alu is to soft when using a steel knife.
    I have 1 with "nonslip" underside and 1 plain.I allways use the plain!
    The non-slip types has a gap between paper and steel-egde,making it difficult to line up.
    For sanding;Stone for sharpening fishing hooks,it has a grove in one end making it perfect for egdes.
    I also use the stone to reshape my knife-blades,then using a piece of old slate (old roof covering) to make it sharp and a leather belt to get it sharper
    than new actually.(barbers methode)
    Water color pencils are a must,get a good basic set,they are expensive in good quality,but a good investment.(Steadtlers Karat aquarell is exellent)
    Ok got a little carried away,im a tooloholic.:oops:
  19. romfolmar

    romfolmar New Member

    Hello all I find a large nail clipper very handy at cutting thin long cuts without the curling that sissors cause. Stright ones work best.
  20. barry

    barry Active Member


    A deep metal tray useful for resting soldering irons in also it's a great shrapnell stopper when chopping through bits of wire. saves on vacuum cleaner belts as well.

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