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Old 04-02-2006, 09:14 PM   #1
mike@af
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Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Choosing the Correct Piece of Styrene
Only you can decide on what piece to use for each application. This tutorial can only point you in the right direction while ultimately you choose where to go. All it takes is just some ingenuity, and creativity to be a fantastic modeler with styrene. For starting, a good base is to use some .020 Plain Sheet and .030" Plain Sheet. Those are the most commonly used sizes for constructing. However, different applications will require different thicknesses. Another benefit to styrene are the styrene strips. They are very easy to use, and are not very expensive. They have a variety of uses too. If you cut a piece to short, you can use a piece of strip styrene. The uses are infinite.

Styrene can be very confusing if you are just starting out. Often times people don’t know where to start, but keep this thought in mind: “Use styrene to build up area’s, don’t build up with styrene only to remove material”. Take a look at some progress pictures from a craftsman that uses styrene for ideas, inspiration, and knowledge.

Cutting
Most styrene can be cut with a razor blade, a hobby knife or even a pair of scissors. Hobby knives and razor blades make the cleanest cuts. Scissors are best used for styrene sheets up to .030". When using scissors to cut .020"-.030" styrene sheet the cut is not perfectly smooth and needs to be sanded with some 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Scissors shear the styrene unlike cutting it. Each cutting tool has its benefit and only you can decide which tool is correct for the application. Do not use a dremel. Dremels will melt the plastic and create an extremely messy cut.

Perfect circles can be cut using a compass or set of dividers. Put points in both ends of the dividers are compass. Calculate the radius of the circle to be cut and set the compass or dividers to that measurement. Place the compass or dividers on the styrene sheet and start spinning the compass/dividers around just like the way you would draw a circle on a piece of paper with a compass. This will cut through the styrene and create a perfect circle. The cut isnt perfectly clean so sand it with some 320 grit wet/dry sandpaper.

Attaching/Adhesion
Styrene can be attached a variety of ways. For attaching the styrene to a material other than plastic you should use CA (superglue). For attaching styrene to plastic use a liquid cement (i.e. Testors Plastic Liquid Cement, Ambroid Pro Weld, Tenax Liquid Cement , etc.). Each cement has a different use, and the means of applying liquid cement vary as well. Testors is a very chemically hot cement and does not evaporate quickly like the Proweld or Tenax. The testors is very useful when laminating styrene sheets since it is easier to melt them together. Ambroid Proweld, and Tenax are great for small quick jobs, and they evaporate fast. Different methods of applying cement include small brushes, syringes, among other ways.

Sanding
Like the putties use a variety of automotive wet dry sand papers. Automotive sandpapers are the most accurate grade of sand paper. 3M automotive wet/dry sandpaper is excellent quality and can be picked up at most home improvement and automotive stores. Most automotive wet/dry sandpapers start at 220 grit, for that reason it is ok to use standard 100 grit sandpaper for the initial shaping of putty. Use a variety of sandpaper from 100 grit all the way up to 1500-2000grit.

Needle files are also superb tools to shape styrene. Make sure you have a rag near by and consistently wipe the file on the rag every few minutes to keep it from clogging. Files load up very easily but are still excellent tools. To unload them either use a file card or soak them in lacquer thinner or another solvent. Another benefit to needle files is that if you have a piece cut out of styrene but it is a little off, you can use files to shape it correctly.

Bending
Styrene can be bent over a flame, soaked in near boiling water and then bent, or rubbed with plastic liquid cement while bending. Bending styrene takes some finesse, and some practice. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it though. The main way to bend styrene sheet and rod is with a flame. The cement is used for bending strips.

Paint Prep
Standard procedures apply usually. The only difference is that a good sealer should be used before spraying the primer. Sometimes styrene will aborb the primer and reducers causing the styrene to expand and leave ghost lines and also cause for a variety of problems. If you don't want to spend the money on an epoxy sealer, there is a home improvement sealer called Zinser BIN.

Walkthrough
Heres a quick walk-through of my Ford 427 Cammer block build up.


First I started with the design and dimensions before cutting out any styrene. Mentioned in a previous seminar, a well thought out design is essential for scratch building. I then made templates of what needed to be cut out.


After tracing the template on to .030 plain styrene sheet the pieces with an X-Acto #11 and a stainless steel straight edge to cut against.


The next step was to assemble the pieces that have been cut out thus far. Using Testors liquid cement the pieces were glued in place. Styrene strip with a generous amount of Testors liquid cement was used along the joints of the styrene pieces for extra strength and a larger surface for the styrene to adhere to.


This transmission bolt pattern was cut out of .015 plain styrene sheet. The initial cut was used with a circle compass with points on both ends. This creates a perfect circle when needed. Then the holes were drilled out using a pin vise. The holes were first center punched with a sewing needle so the drill bit didn’t “dance”.


Now detail pieces are being added with a variety of styrene strips, shapes, and sheets. Testors liquid cement and CA are being used to glue the pieces together.


Two exact copies of the cylinder bores needed to be created. First rectangles were out of .100 plain styrene sheet then tacked together with CA. To tack the pieces together very small drops of CA were placed on one piece, then lightly touched by the finger tip so it is about 25% dried. Then the piece were put on top and clamped together. This creates a snug bond that can be pried apart with very little damage later.

The holes were center marked and pilot holes were drilled with a pin vise and a 1/16” drill bit. This helps insure that the holes are perfectly centered. From there the drill press was used to create the rest of the hole. The next drill bit was 1/8”, from there it was stepped up 1/16” every time until the desired size is achieved. This keeps the bit from tearing the plastic.


Same principle applies here. Center mark the holes, then drill out with the pin vise. Then the two pieces were separated with an X-acto.


Now the basic block is complete. More detail will be added with strip styrene and files.
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:36 PM   #2
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Great one once again.

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Old 04-02-2006, 10:44 PM   #3
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

great seminar mike!
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Old 04-02-2006, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

damn. wonderful seminar!
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:06 AM   #5
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Nice write-up. Appreciated by me, and surely many others...

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Old 04-03-2006, 01:36 AM   #6
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Great job, Mike
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:08 AM   #7
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Excellent write up Mike.
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:19 AM   #8
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Old 04-03-2006, 08:20 AM   #9
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

excellent write up Mike. I need to invest in a good set of files.
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Old 04-03-2006, 08:28 AM   #10
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Wow. Lots of great info. Thanks for taking the time to do that, Mike.
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Old 04-03-2006, 08:43 AM   #11
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

Next one to be posted is a seminar on sanding. Believe it or not, theres more to it than rubbing sandpaper.

Glad everyone likes these!
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:11 AM   #12
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

WOW great Seminar, can't wait for the next one
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Old 07-24-2016, 04:24 AM   #13
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Re: Scratchbuild Seminar 5-Styrene

The photos are missing. Any chance of reloading them pleas Mike?
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