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About Skip

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    MCM Ohana
  • Birthday 12/03/1956

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    Port Orchard, WA
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    Skip Ragsdale

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  1. Bingo! I have had excellent results using my Ultrasonic Cleaner and Castrol Super Clean. Temp is adjustable on mine so I adjust to just barely warm then dunk the body or parts into the Purple Pond, switch on the ultrasonic and allow it to work. My experience is with a fresh batch of Super Clean that you will have a stripped body in about half the time for really nasty paints. For enamels, lacquers and acrylic lacquers that have been sprayed in a reasonable coating thickness, primer + topcoat, I’ve had the paint dissolved off the body in as little as two hours. Average time I’d say would be 4 - 6 +/- hours. So yes the ultrasonic agitation does help the Super Clean do it’s work. This is also at the low to mid-range settings on the ultrasonic agitation. I am sort of leery of cranking the ultrasonic agitation up to the highest settings after watching a video where they placed a piece of jewelry in a aluminum foil packet and cranked the power up to max. The ultrasonic cavitation on the foil ate through the foil and exposed the piece in the foil. The foil was eaten from outside in, demonstrating the ability cavitation to destroy a surface exposed to excessive amounts of cavitation; acts like tiny hammers picking away at the surface. This backs up what I remember from college classes in Mechanical Engineering regarding erosive cavitation damage leading to the failure of metal surfaces. I would expect to see similar erosive damage to a styrene surface with excessive amounts of ultrasonic cavitation. Guess you would have to experiment with spruce or a scrap body to see what it will take to turn the body to scrap. Come to think of it if it worked might be a great way to weather styrene in a more natural way...
  2. I have a center finder from Starrett that does the job too. If you don't have a Center Finder the other way to do this is use a set of dial or digital calipers, first measure the O.D. of the Rod. Second, divide that measurement in half if it was 0.500" (1/2") then the center is at 0.250" (1/4"), set your calipers at 0.250" and lightly tighten the set screw. With the little ledge between the moving jaw of the caliper and the fixed jaw at the top of the caliper, set the rod on the top of the moveable jaw. Next, mark straight across the rod, turn the rod 90 degrees and mark again. The intersection of the two lines is the center point of the rod. If you want to prove this out, rotate the rod 45 degrees and mark, if the line intersects the first two you have found dead center. This is really easy to do as well, just sounds harder than it really is. If you don't have a set of Dial or Digital Calipers, Harbor Freight sells a 6" set that is perfect for modeling if you watch the sales you can often find them for under $10, I've had my set so long I think I paid something like $8 on sale. I use those and leave my Brown and Sharp, Starrett and Mitutoyo measuring equipment in the machinist chest, they are every bit as accurate as the name brands. Just make sure that you hit the off button every time you finish measuring with them or they will eat batteries.
  3. Great job Daniel, when I saw your original post, I immediately thought that you have the "male" part of the punch figured out. Now you need a "female" half of the die to form the cut louver. You must have looked up and saw what a full sized louver press and its dies looked like because you nailed it. This could be accomplished with a small arbor press, (the rack and pinion kind not the hydraulic press kind). Even an old drill press could do the job, I say old because the pressure of punching through even the thinnest aluminum or tin is going to be enough to stress the bearings or likely bushings if its a Chinese drill press and throw the accuracy out the window for drilling even a straight hole. Now, that you've figured out how to punch your own louvers, look up some more information on full sized louver pressing to make sure you get them laid out before you punch them by eyeball. Most of the articles that I've seen highlighting the process in magazines show the process and measurements to center the louvers so they are in perfect spacing. You know, if you get this down you might be able to sell louvered flat panels that could be cut and placed onto a models flat panel... Just a thought.
  4. I'd second the Vallejo paints, Hobby Lobby also carries the single bottles of flesh tones needed so you can pick up light and dark flesh tones to mix the desired tone. For the Vallejo Model Color paints you should need very little if any thinner. If you do I would use the flat "varnish" medium or even a drop of their thinner. For spraying acrylics. I know that lots of people advocate the use of windshield washer fluids; I've had much better luck using the same brand of paint's reducer / thinner intended for their brand of paint. Figure it this way, most paint companies spend a ton of money to formulate their product line, including reducers and thinners, so why cut corners and try to reinvent the wheel. Your paint work is the first thing most people are going to notice about your work, why take chances?
  5. Why not use a clear acetate overlay the same size as the decal, I've done that plenty of times with printed gauges. I've had the ink run or lose the crispness of the detail trying to overcoat the gauge decal/printed image on both paper and especially photo paper. It may be worth an experiment trying to use the old 5 minute epoxy trick for replicating gauge glass. I say experiment before using it because the last time I tried the 5 Minute epoxy developed air bubbles even with ultra slow mixing; so I ended up using the clear acetate overlay. If you cut it just right there is almost a pressure fit and no adhesive needed, otherwise I use a tiny dab of watch crystal cement.
  6. OK, Polishing was probably a poor choice of words here as it brings up the idea of "Final Polishing" a paint job; the term Color Sanding would probably have been more appropriate. Where the goal is to be knocking down the high spots and lowering to the bottom of the low spots for a smooth, flat, level surface. The 1000 or 1500 grit sand papers are the final color sanding grits used before shooting the acrylic. My goal is smooth but with enough bite for the acrylic color coat to bite into and still lay smooth so no sanding scratches, orange peel, shrinkage can be seen. Primer does shrink and does burn the styrene a little, that's why I color sand it, if you don't it will show through the color coat and into the clear coat, so we want baby bum smooth here! Since acrylic paint likes to follow the primed surface it will show any imperfection in the primed surface through to the color coat after the acrylic has cured and shrunk in. You can color sand slight imperfections in acrylic, if you are very careful and use really fine grits of paper or non-wax polish, the polish is a gamble you may have to use a wax remover before shooting the clear coat. Slight imperfections would be a dust spot, really small fine hair or lint, I've never had good luck trying to get a dog hair or beard hair out of acrylic it's just not forgiving enough, soft and thin doesn't make for a good color sanding. You have basically established two barriers over the styrene to be able to shoot a lacquer based or other hotter top coat. First the primer acts as somewhat of a permeable barrier to allow a normal lacquer to be shot over it. You're taking a chance with hot lacquer over primer, it might burn and it might not, so stick to what's worked in the past. Second the acrylic is another barrier which is far less permeable than the primer , the acrylic acts more like a sealer. I have never used it but have read more than once where some painters use an acrylic such as Future over the bare styrene or primer to provide a barrier to shoot a "Hot Lacquer" without burning / crazing the styrene. I think I read once that someone used Future over silver paint to provide a bleed barrier for red styrene which kept bleeding through their color coat, (I haven't tried that one yet either), makes sense though.
  7. I've used the Auto Air and Wicked Color lines for quite a few projects and models and have had really good success with them. Things to remember about Acrylic paints: 1. Acrylic paints have a shelf life, don't buy more paint than you will use in 3 - 6 months time. I've purchased some really old Auto Air and Wicked Colors opened them and found old coagulated paint inside. I suppose you could strain it, but I always return it to where I purchased it. (Hobby Lobby exchanges it no questions, as does everywhere else I've bought Createx products. I've got more old paint from Hobby Lobby than anywhere else.) 2. Much of the paint work that I do with Acrylic paints are done for paying customers not myself. So I always use the Paint Manufacturer's Recommended Reducer / Thinners and have never had any issues. They've put a lot of science, time and effort into developing their product; why reinvent the wheel? 3. Acrylic paint, lacking a solvent to bite into the surface like a bit of a tooth to properly adhere to so they don't like bare plastics. Normally any good solvent base automotive primer (spray can or mix your own through an airbrush or spray gun) works it's solvent provides the bite into to the substrate and the tooth the acrylic likes as well. Try to match the primer color with to the acrylic color, you can't go wrong with white primer, brightens up almost any color of acrylic paint. 4. Acrylic paints, shrink in more than solvent based paints, so they require a smoother orange peel free primer surface. I've had good luck "polishing" out prime with 1000 and 1500 grits of sand paper to prepare the surface for the acrylic paints. Remember cheaper paints (not just acrylics) have less pigment particles in them, which is why they don't cover as well as "better" paints; you get what you pay for; thankfully we are not talking about Createx acrylic paints. More coats do not always equal a better paint job with acrylics, can lead to obscuring details. If the surface is too smooth the acrylic paint will let you know by beading up, it will also let you know if the surface is too rough by showing every imperfection in the surface. Acrylic paints do not respond well to polishing efforts, to put your effort into providing a smooth primed surface for the acrylic paint to lay down on; 5. Clear Coats, I've had really good luck with Duplicolor (and other decanted, touch up spray can primers) and catalyzed automotive clear coats (which I generally apply through a cheaper single action airbrush for the catalyzed clear coats, you will have to experiment a little with air pressure to get what works for your application). Polish the clear, most clear coats shrink in as they "dry" so they leave a bit of wrinkled surface as the clear cures. Use just enough abrasive grit to get to the bottom of the clear coat imperfections working finer then polish and wax. Sorry for long explanation but this what I normally do to get good results on my projects. Develop a system that works for you and don't deviate from it.
  8. Sanding Sticks - Gum rubber abrasive cleaning pad, gum rubber artists eraser. Deep cleaning hot water a drop of dish soap and a toothbrush, most sanding sticks are “Wet / Dry” type abrasives. After three or four deep cleaning sessions the sanding stick has about had it when the abrasive particles have rounded off and it takes more effort to do the job. Steel Files - Brass Brush, file card. Stainless steel brushes are nowhere near as hard as tool steel but repeated cleaning with a steel brush will round the sharp cutting edges of the file over time. A steel file shouldn’t rust unless it is allowed to get near water or stored in high humidity environment, if it is rusting in a modeling room, you have other issues to deal with.
  9. Tom, like everyone else has said the filters will not last as long. I have a Paasche booth, pretty similar to the Pace booths, I spray a mix of airbrush and canned paints depending on the part or desired finish. Not entirely sure about the Pace booths filter system but the Paasche booth has a three stage filter, one coarse pad, followed by two finer filter pads the coarse pad always loads up first with fine dusty paint pigment particles which are completely dry and easily shake loose. So I take the filter outside and lightly beat it like a rug until it isn’t giving off a dust cloud, then I take it to the shop vacuum (outside) and clean it up, then reinstall the filter stack and paint on! I’d do this level of cleaning about every 5 or 6 spray can paint jobs without a prefilter. The other “Clean” thing I do is line the entire inside of the booth with either heavy Kraft or Freezer Paper, which I dry wipe before and after I paint with a poof can or airbrush. This and keeping clean filters will cut down on contamination in your paint. I think it’s more important to do so with spray can painting because you generate more dust (pigment) particles. Prefiltration - My good buddy David Monnig at Coast Airbrush turned me on to this trick, get a cheap furnace filter slightly larger than your filter intake opening, (the cardboard framed kind). Next use duct tape to tape it over the spray booths intake, you now have a very cheap readily available, easy to change prefilter that when it gets clogged you just toss, the inner filters will be almost clean at that point. When I bought my spray booth, over fifteen years ago the prices on the Pace and the Paasche spray booths were pretty similar, I haven’t checked prices since then. Besides price if that’s an important factor, you also want to look at the CFM or volume of air that the booth will suck/push out of the area you are painting. Especially with various spray paint types because the air pulled out of the work area is what is also going to pull the odor out of the work area. I think spray paint no matter if it’s acrylic, lacquer, enamel, acrylic lacquer or... stinks worse than if the same paint were sprayed through an airbrush or paint gun, not sure why but to me it does. So pulling the odor out quickly is a big plus to me, no complaints from my wife because “that paint stinks”! Which I used to get that complaint with my old homemade setup, not no more! Once you begin working with a well designed sheet metal housed spray booth, you’ll wonder why you even fooled around making a plastic tote based booth, especially when you’re painting in the winter when static electricity is at its worst. I used one that I made with plastic totes, I had static electricity problems all the time with it, air moving across plastic generates static electricity. So if you’re looking at a spray booth with plastic parts, static electricity is a given. Even with a sheet metal housing, I’ve run a ground wire from the booth to the electrical ground at the outlet, you could even run a ground wire to the floor for added insurance, I’ve had zero static issues since doing this with my (Paasche ) booth. (I never had them with this metal booth It was an installation recommendation.) Safety - A spray booth is not an excuse not to wear a good filtration mask. A guy I worked with in the “Model Shop” (Prototype Shop) at Boeing Aircraft, who was (and still is I hope) a modeler who turned out some amazing paint work and contest quality model cars. Long story short he was using a paint booth in his shop without a mask. Without using a filtration mask, over time with the same common spray type paints almost all of us use screwed up his lungs to the point he could no longer be around painting at work, probably at home too. Sorry for the long answer, I wish someone would have told me some of this stuff before I began searching for a good spray booth while I was looking. Hope some of it helps.
  10. Greg, before I got my pedal speed control for my Dremel (variable speed) I used a lighting rheostat for a long time. Wore out two Dremel motors with it, (from use not the dimmer switch). I used a regular old dial light dimmer switch which I used a male and female plug at either end with a light switch box, dimmer and wall switch cover in the middle. Made from a heavier gauge extension cord, about five feet, dimmer and three feet to the female plug. This type of setup will run lower RPM’s without heating up, at least my set up would, you have to start at a higher speed and dial it down to the speed you need for the material you are cutting. It works great for those really small burr bits gives you a lot of control. Hope this helps, real time use versus full time opinion! I built the set up when I was a poor college kid with lotsa time and not much extra money. I used that set up for probably fifteen years, I think it’s still in my garage still hooked up to a working variable speed Dremel!
  11. A 0.100” rod/tube would be a 1/10” fractional size. Remember back to like 5th or 6th grade to obtain a decimal equivalent from a fraction divide the top number by the bottom. i.e. 1/10” = 1 divided by 10 = 0.100”. Now to go the other way and get a full scale measurement multiply the decimal number by the scale. 0.100 X 24 = 2.400 inches the actual mathematic expression looks like 0.100/1 X 1/24 = 2.400” the numerator’s and denominator’s (1’s) cancel out each another and you are left with the first equation or 0.100 X 24 = 2.400”. Try it with a few other common fractional tube sizes Fraction = Decimal X 1/24 Scale or 1/25 Scale Tube Sizes Fractional 1/32” = 0.031” = 0.750” = 0.780” say 0.750” 3/4” 1/25 scale 0.020” round up/down tube size 1/2” (?) 1/16 “ = 0.062” = 0.1.488” say 1.500” = 1.550” say 1.500” 1-1/2” Round 0.002 up 0.050 down to size 1/8” = 0.125” = 3.00” = 3.125” 3-1/4” Round up or down 3” or 3-1/2” tube From here you can probably figure it out; just remember that the prototype’s tubing size and the tubing sizes manufactured are what the deciding factor in rounding up or down to the “correct” tubing sizes. In whatever scale you are rounding to and using you will likely not be able to tell the difference of the rounding any way, unless you also count rivets I guess. For me even from an Engineer’s standpoint, in building scale models. There must come a point where what decides what dimensional tube used is what is manufactured in fractional (plastic) versus what is manufactured in full size (metal) tubing that you are replicating. If there isn’t an exact scale match then round up or down to what is pleasing to the viewer’s eye. Short of sanding plastic tube down or turning your own on a lathe, when an exact match isn’t there is about all you can do. It is a compromise called “best fit”. Hope this helps… Caveats - Assumption that beyond 1-1/2” tube sizes then 0-1/2” increments to the next larger size (or I didn’t look up common mil sizes for tubing).
  12. Excellent write up Steve. The only thought I had was, you are following or scribing straight lines so why not locate the groove with blade or scribes then use a straight edge such as a thicker steel rule for more control. Working around tool and die makers for years I’ve watched them do this very thing with carbide scribers. They were putting the finishing touches on high dollar, aluminum and other alloy part applied layup mandrels scribing in ultra fine parting lines for final trim. Even though many of these tool makers had the practiced ability to follow their scribe lines alone, I’d never see them do anything freehand.
  13. Bingo! Don Emmons in Rod & Custom, Model Car & Science and Car Model Magazines all recommended using TP for replicating the undersides of Fiberglass Hoods and Funny Car bodies. I've used both rough textured tissue paper and single plies of toilet paper to get it to work. While the first coat of paint is still wet, gently burnish in the tissue / toilet paper (you can either spray or lightly coat with brush enamel works best due to it's longer flash off times). You may need to brush what soaks through the paper so it isn't excessively thick. Let that dry. Next apply the topcoat, which in your case would be glossy black, apply one thin coat allow to dry fully, it may need one or more thin coats to get the look. The paint raiser the paper's fibers where it looks similar to chopper gun applied fiberglass. Make sure you practice on a scrap body or piece of plastic before you try it on your finished work. I've never tried this method, yet. It's essentially the same as above you might get this to work with Future floor polish as the "resin" or "paint" in the above method lightly saturate the tissue then topcoat with a glossy acrylic paint such as Vallejo's Glossy Black. Might add a bit more control to the method.
  14. Cool idea! Love to see an innovative Mini based build, surprised you aren't using a Vauxhall or even a BMW MINI engine for your conversion to keep it all European. Question, why not turn the engine around so that it sits more in the middle of the car for a nearly equal weight distribution? Having the engine sit so far back in the car would make for a tail heavy handling car, not unlike an early VW, where the weight of the engine would cause the tail to kick out or the whole car to spin in a tight corner. Midmounting the engine would make a Mini handle more like the Street Legal Go Kart that it is, especially when you factor the weight loss in the front end from removing the stock 1,300 CC engine. I've seen a couple Suzuki Hayabusa engine conversions done like this and they are usually set up the engine as near mid mount as possible. The Honda VTEC can also be swapped up front in the stock engine location, you would need to fabricate a new front subframe and usually lengthen the front clip by 6 - 8 inches. I have a couple of friends in the Mini club I belong to who have done this conversion, looks and handles pretty amazing! BTW - I own a ' 71 Mk II Mini Cooper S spec +, lots of engine work where it's probably just a little tamer than a race spec engine, a few chassis mods, enough so that it regularly embarasses Corvette, Viper, ans a few Porsche owners when we run Autocross with it! I can put most if not all my power to the ground where they spin their tyres most of the way through the course. But being from the UK, I don't have to tell you how amazing a Mini handles, do I!
  15. I've always used CA, superglue and baking soda to fill the pre-cut lines for hood scoops tire radius cutouts like on the inner rear quarters of the '49 and '50 Fords come to mind right off. First sprinkle a light coat of the baking soda into the groove then drop the superglue in over the baking soda which works as an accelerant so the area can be worked almost immediately. Alternately talc can be used in place of the baking soda. This filler is slightly harder than the styrene being filled and yields a stable fill which can be over coated with any standard two part automotive glaze filler. Got this tip from fellow monster modelers almost 25 years ago, every area that this filler was used has held up perfectly well no shrinkage, no cracking. Unlike the lacquer based fillers I was using before which have cracked and exhibit shrinking over that same time. Although you get a bond between the lacquer filler and the styrene, it sets by evaporation of the lacquer from the outside in, which may take some time to get to the styrene. In th mean time the lacquer fillers have cracked and shrunk, sometimes taking a year even years to leave their mark.
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