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How To Make Opening & Functional Doors, Hoods, and Trunks


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#1 nwmud

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 02:15 PM

Ok I did a search and did not find what i wanted to know. Its been 25 plus years since I touched a plastic model to build. Back in my day - I did pretty well. BUT I am looking at pictures and thinking, WOW!!!
So I got a kit of a IH Scout II. I have spent a very long time looking for the tires I needed. and now have those.

I am ready to start. MY scout I am building in based on the one in my back yard. its a 197x scout II built from 5 scouts and various other rigs. I am running 36 in TSL tires and using springs from Fords. the pieces of the scout are from many different rigs.

so on to my question. I want to cut out the doors and make them work. in the old days I would have a hot knife xacto style and cut them out. But I read about one guy who used sewing thread. what is the best way to cut the panels apart???

#2 fastbackfiero

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:53 PM

Welcome back to the hobby! I have used the thread but I had trouble holding the model while trying to move the thread back and forth but it does work pretty good. The method I use the most is just to drag a very fresh xacto blade using the backside of it and just going over and over it. It accually does'nt take that much effort unless there are some weird curves on the door or whatever your trying to cut.
If anyone could give a suggestion for holding the body still while using the thread, I myself would like to know what you came up with.
Good luck and have fun!
later,
Mike.

#3 Billy Kingsley

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 05:37 PM

An idea I picked up from, I think it was VW Dave ( a poster on here who doesn't post much) that when he does it, he has two bodys. One, he cuts the whole section out and saves the door, the second, the door is a loss but the rest of the body is perfect.

I've yet to try this, but it sounds like it'll work great.

#4 nwmud

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 04:47 AM

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I have used this type of soldering iron before. The biggest issue I remember was the material would mushroom and you would loose the shape of detailed items. But I do remember it worked pretty well.

I have also used the knife edge like described above - but this kit I am doing does have a couple of spots I think would prove to be problems. Thanks for the ideas - I will keep looking at all options. After all I have been sitting on this kit for almost 2 years looking for the tires. a little more time will not kill me.

#5 Matt T.

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 04:57 AM

Ritch,
The method that offers the most control and maintains the parts best is the "X-Acto blade turned over" method. It takes some time, but is worth it. Billy's suggestion of buying a second kit is also a good one, especially since the Scout II kit is so widely available right now.

If you have some curves around the doors that the X-Acto can't do, think about using your smallest pin vise drill bits to drill holes next to each other to weaken the styrene and loosen it. Good Luck, sounds like a neat project!

#6 62rebel

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 08:28 AM

i use a combination of the reversed #11 blade (brand new blade for this) and the small razor saw blade that fits the #1 handle (sorry i don't know the # for this one) and take my time. if the door panel lines are molded too shallow, use a scriber to deepen them before using the #11 blade as the #11 will (WILL) leave the line easily. getting the corners is the challenge, and that's where the razor saw blade works best. using the #1 handle gives you great control close to the subject part. cutting vent windows away from the windshield frame is probably the hardest part to do and not break something. i superglue steel axle cut to length onto the inside of the a-pillar of any car i open doors on for strength. it also helps in fabricating the a-pillar structure to hold the door the proper distance in the opening.

the scout interior is a lot smaller than it should be if you're opening the doors; i would cut the floor pan out of it and glue it to the chassis, then build up the sides of the floor to the width of the inside of the body less the thickness of the inside panels. otherwise, the scout is a cool kit and interesting in it's execution.

#7 nwmud

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:14 AM

62rebel,

Its funny you say to attach the floor pan to the frame. it comes that way and I wish it was not. I have made so many frame modifications to my truck, I am not sure how I am going to replicate them on the model.

so you all are saying to use the back side of the xacto blade. like the big flat side? that confusses me. But I will try many things.

#8 62rebel

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:51 AM

i meant that you cut the floor off the tub and use it as a base to build a better scale representation of the interior on. i agree that the frame itself without the bottom of the floor would be easier to make modifications to.

the method we're describing is fairly lightly dragging the blade backward along the panel line you wish to cut out. starting with the point of the blade in the end of the line, slowly scribe until you break through. some bodies are thicker in some areas than others, so you may break through earlier in one place than another; just keep going until the piece falls free. don't force the blade down, and don't rush it. some builders do this with scribing tools alone, but i use #11 most of the time.

another tip; if you're working on an irreplaceable model, mask off the rest of the panel where you're not cutting so if the blade slips you're not as apt to put a deep gouge in the plastic. putting wadded paper inside the bodyshell will help support it while you're cutting, and putting tape over the inside seams you've already freed will keep them from breaking while handling.

having said all this, i don't do many functional opening doors or trunks; i leave them in the open position for display and take out the hinges to show them closed. actual working hinges are easily done, but add more risk of damage by spectator handling than i wish to repair!

#9 Jairus

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:30 PM

Using the backside of a #11 blade means flipping the blade over and using the dull side for cutting. NOT the sharp side! The sharp side should be up.
The reason for this is that the cut removes material instead of spreading it apart like using the sharp side would. One also needs to hold the handle at a very high angle with regards to the surface to be cut.

Scale Race Cars makes a photoetched blade that fits the standard Xacto handle just for this use. It actually cuts a finer line than the back of a #11 blade and sells for $8.00. You get 9 cutting blades called "Scriber blades".
Check them out at:
http://www.scaleracecars.com

#10 GTmike400

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 08:16 PM

I personally prefer sewing thread. It makes a very clean, very precise, and quick cut. I started cutting apart an entire Corvette C5R body with it with no problems.

I just made a little U shaped handle to tie the thread around, and started cutting.

#11 rudimen

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 11:22 PM

Here's the link to cutting with thread. www.bonediggers.com/2-3/doors/doors.html

Here's my Mercury Comet using the thread method.
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#12 Father_d

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 06:56 PM

Model Car Garage sells a set of thin etched metal saws that are so small they will cut the scribed line on the door and sometimes leave material. A hot knife is not an option in my opinion. You know what happens to the plastic when you apply heat, it warps. Hobby Link Japan also sells etched metal saws that are slightly thicker then MCG's. Even if you accidentally take too much off when cutting the door out a stirp of .010 Evergreen will fill the void.

Happy Modeling :P

#13 1988 S10

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 06:02 PM

ok i want to do some opening doors on my tahoe and i have heard a bunch of talk about thread to get the doors off..... how do you do this? all i have ever done is exacto knife them off but apperently this is smoother? Any help will be appreciated



#14 48ModelMan

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:43 PM

I just did my first opening doors a few weeks ago, and used sewing thread. I cut the doors out of my '40 Ford Sedan Delivery.

I like cutting with thread. It cuts very thin - no wider than the pane lines. It will "tend" to follow the panel lines but it can get off if you rush it. The thread broke frequently, but less so as I slowed down and reduced the pressure on the thread. It will still break now and then, so you just get more off the spool - thread is cheap.

#15 Tom Geiger

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 05:52 PM

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I use a small battery powered drill to open panels. I drill a series of very small holes, I like to use a number 72 or smaller bit, as close together as I can, using the panel line as the guide. Here's the trunk lid with all the holes drilled.

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Here's a view from the inside of the body. Once the holes are drilled, gently score the line, both inside and out, with your exacto knife. Don't use pressure. Soon enough you'll break through the remaining plastic, just like the perforations on a postage stamp.

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Soon enough, you'll feel confident enough to start wiggling the part out of the hole. You can coax it along with the knife as needed.

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Here's the panel all cut out. Since we used a very small drill bit, just sand the edges flat and you have your scale jambs. The drill you see here has an exacto brand name on it, but I understand they discontinued it.

I've cut open a lot of panels this way, following curves and even cutting the door frames on sedan doors. It works well for me!

Hope this helps someone!

#16 Ramble Tamble

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:10 PM

hey I have had success cutting doors and such by heating up a small utility knife in a candles flame and slowly run the blade(sharp edge) along the "cutting lines". I'm sorry I have no pictures to upload of this method but I hope this might help you a little.

#17 nwmud

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 09:25 AM

well, I cut out the doors using the backside of my xacto knife. worked pretty well. not I need to work on the hinges. :shock:

#18 MrObsessive

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 08:50 AM

Guys, here's the link to an article about using thread to cut doors. Just click here.

#19 Harvezter

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 04:49 PM

Great!
Thank you Bill!! :D

#20 4DCustoms

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 08:22 AM

I there guys, new to the site but been a model builder for 20+ years. As far as the thread cutting goes, using a jewelers saw with the thread in place of the blade proves to be excellent for one handed operation leaving the other for holding the model.