Cutting plastic parts

Hello again!
What is the best way to cut plastic parts? I have an aires detail kit for a
tamiya p.51d and need to cut the fuselage. How do I do this accurately and
neatly?
Thanks, Mark.
Reply to
Mark Warrington
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practice first, but the dremel will do just fine.
Reply to
Bonerfied
Mark:
Try an X-Acto razor saw.
Jeff The eagle has landed
Reply to
MAYSUN5961
I'm not familiar with the aftermarket set, so I don't know how you are cutting.
If you need to remove a panel but leave the rest of the fuselage intact, the best alternative is to drill holes inthe area to be removed, overlapping them to take out the core of the removed area, then dress the edges with riffler files.
If you're talking about cutting the fuselage in half to insert a plug, so that both ends of the fuselage are retained, a razor saw is best, but take great care to get true cuts so you don't lose material to sanding the joints true.
If the ideea is to cut off one end and discard it, the razor saw is again the ticket, but cut slightly outside the final join line so you will have material to dress the cut.
In some cases, a resonable alternative is to use a scriber to cut through the plastic--this requires patience and very careful guide prep--use Dymo tape for the guides.
And there's the old adage: measure twice, cut once. It doesn't hurt to mark on the plastic to make sure you are cutting just where you want to.
Mark Schynert
Reply to
Mark Schynert
Thanks Mark,
I'm not familiar with the term 'riffler files'. Can you elaborate on that for me please? I've bought a 1/48 version of the same kit to practice on so that when I come to do the 1/72 I should know where to cut but I'd like to make sure I have the right tools for the job :-)
Thanks again for such a detailed response,
Mark.
Reply to
Mark Warrington
I have a set of small rifflers that duplicate all the common file shapes, but the two ends (identical) are bent at an angle (much like the stylized 's' on an SS badge) which allows you many angles of attack to the plastic without the rest of the file getting in the way. Most large hardware shops have sets like this, as do some hobby shops and a number of web hobby-tool sources.
Mark Schynert
Reply to
Mark Schynert
Mark,
Not sure just what sort of "cut" you are making, but from years of model car conversions here, I have some techniques that should work just fine on an aircraft as well:
If the cut being made is a simple one, say cutting away an entire section of the fuselage or wing, for the purpose of grafting on a new one, I use masking tape to mark the "cut line" (this works on straight cuts, where the part or component is being cut straight through, as in cutting it in half). I simply mark the point at where the cut is to be made, at several points as needed, in order to ensure the cut will be straight and as true as possible. I lay the tape up next to this line, on the portion that I am keeping, again taking care to make sure that I have the line both straight and true. The watchword here is to "measure twice, cut once", as it is far easier to remove excess material than it is to add back material where too much has been cut away (can be done, but makes for a lot of work!). I then make the cut with a razor saw to the edge of the taped line, which will be just a tad past (on the long side) the actual joint I want to make. Then, after cutting (and I do this as carefully as I can, in order to minimize work with files, etc.), I can true up the cut with files and by sanding. For larger, longer cuts, I prefer a nice, fresh mill bastard file, at least a half-inch wide, for smooth easy truing of a cut line.
If I am going to insert a new panel section in a body shell (and again, this technique can, and likely does happen with aircraft conversions), I like to mark off the panel area that has to be removed from the original styrene component (in my case, the car body) with a mechanical pencil, after I have "scuffed" the area with either very fine sandpaper (generally I use a 2400 grit polishing cloth, an abrasive coated bit of cloth), which gives the plastic a bit of "tooth" for the pencil lead. I have also been known to brush a quick swipe of Tenax over the pencil lines, to "seal" them to the plastic surface, so they don't rub off in handling. Once this is done, I drill a hole in the middle of the panel (if small) large enough to insert a needle file in order to simply file the opening to size (often, I can use an Xacto knife to carve away material once the hole is large enough. From there, it is a fairly simple matter to enlarge the opening to the size and shape needed for the intended replacement panel part. As you get close to the size and shape needed, take the time to test fit, test fit, and test fit again, until you get the new part to fit into the opening created snugly, but not so tight as to need forcing.
For a larger opening, I drill holes at the corners, and simply start working with the tip of my razor saw, until I can finally get enough of a slot to cut the to-be-removed panel away. This does take patience and care to avoid cutting past the corners.
Takes a bit of practice, but then that is what model building is all about: practice.
Art Anderson
Reply to
EmilA1944
Since I bought my first razor blade saw (not razor saw), it has become one of my very favorite modeling tools. It is small, very sharp, makes very fine cuts, just fantastic. Very recommended.
Rob de Bie My models:
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Reply to
Rob de Bie

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