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Author Previous Topic: DIY Spikes from Straight Pins Topic Next Topic: Dimensions of Lumber
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Bbags
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/10/2005 :  5:30:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi all.
This sticky will be for any tools or tips that you might offer to make scratch building easier.

To start:
One of the most important tools to me is a scale ruler that is graduated in your scale for scratch building.
I think if you are going to build in HO(choose your scale) then you should learn to think in HO.
Therefore I use a metal scale rule which has marked on it HO feet and inches.

Therefore when I think of something being 10 feet long I am thinking of 10 HO feet rather than 10 feet in the real world.

I also prefer to use scale lumber rather than dimensional lumber since scale lumber is measured in HO feet and inches whereas dimensional lumber is measured in real world measurements.

I know that a 2" by 4" in the real world is more like 1 3/4" by 3 1/2".
This is due to the fact that lumber is measured in sawn size(when first cut) and not actual size which is smaller due to dressing and/or drying.
However if I want my studs to be 2" by 4"s then I buy 2" by 4" stripwood.

Now that I have become an HO person building an HO structure it is much easier for me to visualize sizes.

Now it is time for others to add there own choice of tools and/tips for scratch building.
Thanks for your participation in advance.

John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

Country: USA | Posts: 13135

George D
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/10/2005 :  5:46:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John,

Along the line of a scale ruler is a metric ruler. Those of you not saddled with inches and fractions won't appreciate how handy it is when you have to cut a piece to fit. It's also easy to calculate the midpoint of something or to divide something into equal segments, like figuring the location of piers on a loading dock.

Remember, you're not making any conversions from inches to metric, you're working only in metric.

George



Country: USA | Posts: 11270 Go to Top of Page

Bbags
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/10/2005 :  5:54:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good point George.
I have used that method many times to find the center of a piece of wood.
A lot easier to divide by 2 in the metric scale than to divide by two using feet and inches.



John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

Country: USA | Posts: 13135 Go to Top of Page

Scott McCabe
Engine Wiper



Posted - 03/10/2005 :  7:26:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John, when I scratch build I use vernier calipersDownload Attachment: vernier caliper.JPG
5.38 KB
This measures in thousands of an inch. Micro-Mark sells one calibrated in HO Scale. I use a machinest caliper and just do the math. I find that I use my mini-square allot, especially when I am trying to draw out my window/door cut outs, that way I know that they will be straight when cut out.Download Attachment: mini square.JPG
23.96 KB

For the cut outs I use from Micro-Mark the punches that make perfect 90 degree cuts.

Download Attachment: punch.JPG
14.01 KB

From North West Short Lines "The Chopper" Great for multiple cuts of strip wood, also use alot of razer blades for free hand cuts, like lifting clap boards on sideing, cheap and if they break oh well throw them out.

Pounce wheels and Pin in a pine vise for simulated nail holes. if you want to add nails quick, use a pounce wheel. Only problem with that, is you get a squared off look to the hole unless u modify the wheel. Karl O took one and ground the wheel prongs round, more realistic. I like the pin for nail hole in Tarpaper roofs, after the roof is applied and weathered I pin all the hole one at a time, very time consumming but worth the effert.

Download Attachment: pounce wheels.JPG
14.22 KB

Most important is a scale ruler specific to your scale. You don't want to spend countless hours building a model only to realize it is way out of scale, Learned from my mistakes.

Another great and very inexpensive tool is the common house hold cloths pin. I use these every time I glue and brace my walls with 1/8th strip wood. The best mini clamp I have found. buy a hole bag at Wall-Mart for a few bucks instead of expensive mini-clamps. Hope this helps

Scott McCabe


The LL&M
Lawrence, Lowell & Manchester Railroad Circa 1935

Country: USA | Posts: 281 Go to Top of Page

Bbags
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/10/2005 :  8:02:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Scott, that is exactly the kinds of tips I was looking for as they may help others who wish to scratch build.
Another favor,
Could you possibly explain how you went from this





to this.




What I am asking is could you give us an idea of how you went from a picture to a workable plan that allowed you to construct this model.
Not how you actually physically constructed the model.

Many times I think we as modelers see a picture and say that would make a great structure if I only knew how to convert the picture into a set of plans that would allow me to construct it.

That is a very nice rendition of the building and I would like to see the updated pictures.



John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

Country: USA | Posts: 13135 Go to Top of Page

ANo10
Fireman



Posted - 03/10/2005 :  9:02:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Scott,

I have to second on the clothes pins. Not only are they great for clamping and gluing, but holding the frame together while you square it.
I gap and flatten the "mouth' of the pin to reduce the tension.

Also, the scale ruler is indispensible.

For acurate angle sanding I use the true sander from NWSL.

Also, I work off of a glass plate. You can cut on it, glue on it, use it for a palette to mix paints.

Jim





Country: USA | Posts: 2773 Go to Top of Page

belg
Fireman



Posted - 03/10/2005 :  10:45:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John, thanks alot for putting this thread up so quickly, I know I kind of spoiled your order I guess but I think this will be very helpful to many people who are on the fence about trying to scratch something. I hope Karl O sees this soon and puts his special knack on board.
The clothes pins have been a favorite of mine for quite a while, I have made several different versions, I took and placed the back flat sides facing each other with a small adjustment up or down in the spring you get different tensions and opening sizes, also took a couple to the bandsaw and cut the ends to a fine point to get into tight spaces.
Like I said in the other thread I use alot of jigs made from simple card stock to make repeatetive bents or building supports. Its a little late tonite I will take some shots of a couple I've made and post them here tomorrow.
All I can say is you will get better with practice and don't be dumb like me a choose a project the size of the Empire State building as your first project. Start small and work in a craftsman like manner, sqaure cuts use glue sparingly ,brace your interiors and as the old addage goes measure twice cut once.
Also leave as much of the delicate details until the very end as you will REGRET it later.Pat



Edited by - belg on 03/10/2005 10:48:06 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 4487 Go to Top of Page

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/10/2005 :  11:13:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Two words. Double Sided Tape. OK, that was three words.

When scratchbuilding, you can use it to hold everything in place over the plans while you glue it. I also use it to hold one sub-assembly in place while I glue a second sub-assembly to it. (I have a hardwood block that has all faces nice and square. If I put some double sided tape on one of the sides of this block, I can hold a building wall vertical and perpendicular to the work surface while I glue a second wall to it, etc.)

I should take a picture.


Bruce

Modeling the railroads of the Jersey Highlands in HO and the logging railroads of Pennsylvania in HOn3

Country: USA | Posts: 25313 Go to Top of Page

davidray
Engine Wiper



Posted - 03/10/2005 :  11:34:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I found that disposable gloves sold in the pharmacy department were most welcome tonight when I separated all the dripping wet stripwood from the stain bath they were soaking in. And tweezers. Using two pairs of tweezers was good too.

I haven't got a chopper yet but I found a very comfortable window scraper at Home Depot that uses straight edge razor blades. Nice rubber, no slip grip. And the box of 100 blades was only $5. So I've been using that to cut stripwood until I get the Chopper gadget.

And today I picked up a box of daylight spectrum bulbs. I'm going to check the difference with some pics but so far I like the light better. I need all the help I can get with my eyes.



David Ray
Cumming, Georgia, USA

Country: USA | Posts: 287 Go to Top of Page

Scott McCabe
Engine Wiper



Posted - 03/11/2005 :  09:44:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the kind words John and crew line.Well John, hear it goes.

1. When I find a structure that I would like to scratch build, I print out the picture as big as possible to pick up the most detail.

2.If the structure is built in this case with clapboard siding, I will count them starting at the bottom to see how many claps are on the wall. Then figure out the clapboard size, I used 1/16th spacing for this structure approximatly 4 scale inchs between claps.

3. I then try to find in my collection of windows the closest possible match to the prototype. I use Titchy and Grant Line.
Once I find the window, I start the measuring process. What is meant by that is, if the window is say 36"w x 44"h, I know looking at the photo that I need 4 across the top. 4 windows = 12 HO scale feet of window space on the wall. I then determine the remaining space between the windows. This will give me an estimation of how much length the wall will be. for instance, 12 feet for windows, space between the windows added up to 20 feet 12+20 = 32 HO Scale feet for length of wall. Hope that makes scense.

4. I study the roof line. Pitch, roofing material. I then determine the building footprint. This particular structure is a wedge shaped building. The store front or street level was built with card stock and strip wood

John this is a start, If you need further explination I will be glad to answer any questions. I will take more photos this weekend and post them.
Scott McCabe


The LL&M
Lawrence, Lowell & Manchester Railroad Circa 1935

Country: USA | Posts: 281 Go to Top of Page

mhdishere
Crew Chief

Posted - 03/11/2005 :  10:08:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, here's my list of "must have" tools:

1) Xacto knife with #11 blades. I buy the blades in packages of 100 from Micro Mark. When they get dull I chuck them.

2) Chopper. I've just about worn out the base on mine from using it, I'm thinking seriously about the new one with the replaceable mat. Also buy blades in boxes of 100 at the hardware store.

3) This may seem strange, but an empty jar with a metal lid that I cut a slot in with a screwdriver and hammer, kinda like a piggy-bank. What's this for you ask? Old blades, #11 blades, razor blades, anything sharp goes in there. When it's full (which will take YEARS) I can put a piece of tape over the slot and drop the whole thing int he trash, no worries about "finding" a blade the hard way as I push the trash into the trash can.

4) Double sides tape. I think Mike turned me on to this one, makes working over a plan MUCH easier.

5) I have a doohickey from Micro Mark that holds a #11 blade for cutting balsa strips from sheets, since I do most of my building in balsa this makes life much easier. Here's a link to it:http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=14568



Country: USA | Posts: 563 Go to Top of Page

Bbags
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/11/2005 :  10:35:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Scott,
Thanks for the great explanation.
After you have gone through and measured everything so that you know all the important dimensions do you then draw this out on paper and use the drawing as a template for making the different walls.


Also I have seen where people will take a 6 foot pole and mark it off in 1 foot lengths and then paint every other foot a different color.

For example first foot black second foot white third foot black ............
They then position this pole in the picture to help them with dimensions.
Of course this will only work if you take the picture of the structure you are attempting to model.

Again thanks for the explanation of how you determine the different dimensions and I hope this will be of value to someone.
I know it will be something I will use in the future.



John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

Country: USA | Posts: 13135 Go to Top of Page

Scott McCabe
Engine Wiper



Posted - 03/11/2005 :  11:29:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bbags

Hi Scott,
Thanks for the great explanation.
After you have gone through and measured everything so that you know all the important dimensions do you then draw this out on paper and use the drawing as a template for making the different walls.


Also I have seen where people will take a 6 foot pole and mark it off in 1 foot lengths and then paint every other foot a different color.

For example first foot black second foot white third foot black ............
They then position this pole in the picture to help them with dimensions.
Of course this will only work if you take the picture of the structure you are attempting to model.

Again thanks for the explanation of how you determine the different dimensions and I hope this will be of value to someone.
I know it will be something I will use in the future.



John, I sometimes draw the walls out, in this case I just grabbed a sheet of north-eastern siding used a square to draw out the window openings full scale, compared it to the picture, trial and error. Once it looked good I punched out the openings.

As far as a measuring stick, yes this is something that I will invest in. I have a few field trips planed with my new camera to some local mill cities. But for the most part since I have a construction back ground, I guess the measuring comes naturally.

Hope that helps.
Scott McCabe


The LL&M
Lawrence, Lowell & Manchester Railroad Circa 1935

Country: USA | Posts: 281 Go to Top of Page

Bbags
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/11/2005 :  8:07:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Scott,
I have always drawn a picture to use as a template but I think I will give your method a try.
It should save some time but of course it could lead me to a cockeyed structure.



John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

Country: USA | Posts: 13135 Go to Top of Page

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/13/2005 :  7:57:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John has asked me to post a summary of the "etch and snap" method of cutting window and door openings in a styrene wall. I don't know if John Nerich invented this method, but his articles in the modeling magazines certainly popularized it. It is particularly useful if the walls will be covered with something like brick sheeting or stripwood.

Once you have cut the wall to the outline that you want, you lay out the locations of the windows and doors in pencil. It is helpful to extend the outlines of the windows and doors all the way across the wall like this...


or this ...



Using the back of an xacto knife, you now etch the styrene along these lines, going all the way from one edge of the wall to the other.

Now you have to decide how the break the wall apart. Try to do it in a way to maximize the strength of the wall.

Here I left the bottom of the wall whole, and only broke off the top of the wall. If I had broken the wall along the vertical scribes, it would have made a weaker wall.



Here I left the strips along the top and bottom of the wall whole, instead of breaking along the vertical scribes.



(Marking off the door and window openings with an "X" helps you remember what to throw away.)

Now you simply place the pieces back together and run some styrene cement into the joints.

Sample 1:



Sample 2:



Now you cover the wall with either the stripwood or the brick sheeting and insert the windows/doors.



Notice you can now easily cut the window openings out of the brick sheet from the rear.





I think that you could use the same technique to create openings in a styrene wall,even if you are not going to cover it with wood or brick sheet. Just scribe the lines on the back of the wall. If you notice in the fifth picture down, you can see the scribed lines on the two right-hand walls, but not the ones on the left. The left is showing the side of the wall that I didn't scribe. Scribing creates a "v" that will show, but the other side makes a clean break that almost disappears when you glue it back together.

And that is all there is to it.




Bruce

Modeling the railroads of the Jersey Highlands in HO and the logging railroads of Pennsylvania in HOn3

Edited by - Dutchman on 03/13/2005 8:16:50 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 25313 Go to Top of Page

belg
Fireman



Posted - 03/14/2005 :  06:56:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bruce this looks like a great method,and am wondering why not cut the window out directly without glueing it back together??? I remember seeing a 90 degree chisel fro Micro Mark that would be great for the corners I would think. This is from someone who has not worked with styrene except when it came in a kit form.
I also included a few shots of my clothes pin agmentations,Thanks Pat.





Edited by - belg on 03/14/2005 11:06:09 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 4487 Go to Top of Page
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