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Making Antennas

22 posts in this topic

Posted

I had one of the members here ask me how I made my antennas & he wanted pictures so I thought that I could do a quick tutorial to show how I make them.

It's actually a pretty quick & cheap way to make a fairly decent antenna.

You'll have to excuse some of the photos.

It's a little difficult to create a small part such as this & shoot photos with less than three hands! :)

 

The only materials that you would need to buy for this project is a length of "Stainless Steel Hypodermic Tubing".

I bought a 36" piece on Amazon a couple of years ago for about $8.00.

Enough to make dozens of antennas.

The dimensions are, 21 gauge, .032" OD, .02" ID, .006" wall.

 

To start, gather the only materials you will need.

the hypodermic tubing & a piece of scrap plastic kit sprue.

DSCN6154

 

Cut about a 1 inch piece of the tubing.

I use a Dremel with a grinding wheel.

DSCN6155

 

Next, you'll want to grind the ends of your tubing smooth.

A little light sanding on the ends will give you a nice finished end.

DSCN6157

 

Take the tip of an Exacto blade or a very small drill bit & clean out the burrs from the hole on the end that will recieve the aerial.

DSCN6158

 

Now you have your lower antenna half ready.

Set it aside & begin the process of making the upper half by heating some sprue just to the point that it begins to sag.

You could also skip the whole sprue stretching process & make your upper aerial half & base by using various sizes of plastic rod & tubing if you wish, but when it comes to things like this, I'm a notorious cheapskate! :D

Your upper aerial rod would need to be .02" or less to fit into the tubing.

Not sure if that size is available in plastic rod or not.

DSCN6159

 

Quickly, but gently stretch the sprue into a very long & thin thread & hold it for maybe 30 seconds until the plastic re-hardens.

There's really no way that I know of to get the correct size other than to just do it by eye.

Strangely, I always seem to get the right gauge.

It just has to be thin enough to slide into the inside of the tubing.

The stretched sprue will be thinner in the middle & thicker on the ends so you can choose a piece accordingly.

DSCN6160

 

Cut about a 1 inch piece of the sprue for your aerial.

DSCN6162

 

Check to make sure it slides easily into the tubing.

DSCN6163

 

To make the little "ball" on the tip of the aerial carefully hold the tip increasingly closer to the flame just until it begins to "ball up" slightly & then quickly pull it away.

You should get a nice little tip.

You can touch the tip lightly with your finger tip while it's still pliable to flatten it slightly.

DSCN6164DSCN6165DSCN6166

 

You can now move on to the base which can easily be made using the end of the same piece of sprue you just stretched.

DSCN6167

 

Cut the tapered section of the sprue just large enough so that the tubing will be able to fit through a hole drilled into the center of it.

DSCN6168

 

Next, drill the hole for the tubing to pass through.

DSCN6169

 

A little light sanding at this point will even up the top portion of the base.

DSCN6170DSCN6171

 

Now you can carefully cut your base to the length you want.

You can cut it at a slight angle if the fender of the car your attaching it to is not perfectly flat.

DSCN6172

 

The base should slip over the antenna tubing.

Leave yourself extra tubing under the base so that you can drill a hole in the fender of the model for installation.

I makes things a lot easier for attaching it to the fender.

DSCN6173

 

Now it's just finishing & assembly.

For the purpose of this tutorial I'm using the Molotow chrome pen, but you can finish it however you would like, be it Alclad or whatever.

DSCN6174DSCN6175

 

Now it's just a matter of gluing the parts together.

Another possibility, if you're worried about the fragile nature of the plastic aerial, is to use a thin wire or pin for the upper half with a dab of some sort of glue for the tip and finished with a little chrome paint, & a larger piece of steel or other type of tubing for the base.

There are lots of possibilities, but this is just the way that I've been doing it as of late.

DSCN6176DSCN6177DSCN6180

 

So, as you see, there's really nothing to it.

I can usually knock one of these out in about 15 minutes, so it's really not as involved as it may seem.

There are a lot of variations that could be used to do this, but this should at least give some people a starting point for ideas if nothing else.

 

Happy modeling!!

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted

Very cool.  Thank you.

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Posted

Wow! Great! Thanks a million Steve. Really appreciate it!

Any tips you have would be appreciated. You'd be surprised at what you think is old and everybody knows, or it's not a big deal , that dummies like me appreciate you sharing your ideas to.

That goes for everybody out there. Please share any ideas or tricks you use. Anytime I do something if I think it might help someone , I post it.Like the Tea Ball, a member here never thought about it!

I'm really amazed at some of the models built here. It's been about 20 years for me, so a lot of these old common things are new and exciting. Everybody here is better than me and I want to learn

 

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Posted

Great tutorial Steven! Thanks loads!

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Posted

Trying to find that tubing online.  Vita Needle Company looks promising size wise.

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Posted

Nice! -RRR

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Posted

thanks Steven, something else new to try...

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Posted

Trying to find that tubing online.  Vita Needle Company looks promising size wise.

Amazon carries it.

Just go to Amazon, type "stainless steel hypodermic tubing" into the search box & you'll get a bunch of options.

If you click on one of the "316" options, a graph will come up with a ton of different sizes.

The one that I have is 21 gauge, part # B000FN1SK8.

3 feet of it for $9.43.

 

Steve

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Posted

I use the Grandt Line O Scale 1 1/2" nut w/4" Cast Iron Washers-Cored for .020 Wire which are model railroad parts for the antenna bases and #12 guitar string for the antennas. Here are a couple of them............................

DSC02722.jpg

DSC02385.jpg

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Posted

IMG 0818

I use the same method as Nick.. Grandt line bolt and washer drilled out.

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Posted

Here are a few photos of the ones I made in this tutorial on the models.

 

Steve

 

DSCN5752DSCN5548DSCN5085DSCN4647DSCN4376

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Posted

I really like the 2 piece look to the antenna. My method of a straight pin doesn't look near as accurate.  I'll be over to Amazon soon.

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Posted

Amazon carries it.

Just go to Amazon, type "stainless steel hypodermic tubing" into the search box & you'll get a bunch of options.

If you click on one of the "316" options, a graph will come up with a ton of different sizes.

The one that I have is 21 gauge, part # B000FN1SK8.

3 feet of it for $9.43.

 

Steve

Found it on Amazon.  Marcia is Amazon Prime so it costs $10.00 with tax, free shipping and will be here Monday.  Thanks for the info.

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Posted

I use the Grandt Line O Scale 1 1/2" nut w/4" Cast Iron Washers-Cored for .020 Wire which are model railroad parts for the antenna bases and #12 guitar string for the antennas. Here are a couple of them............................

DSC02722.jpg

DSC02385.jpg

Same here,, my brother in law plays guitar. so getting his used  guitar string for free makes it even better.

I may have to try this method to get the 2 piece antenna look

 

I did one years ago and my only complaint is ,,, its just a straight antenna .  Which for Mopars was not used till 1972 and later

 

DSC01801.JPG

AMT-Daytona2.JPG

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Posted

Mopar  late 60's antennas are three piece which I do not care to replicate. However any antenna is better than no antenna. I'm likin' your Daytona and an antenna base would improve the looks of the antenna. The Grandt Line could slip right over your antenna.

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Posted

Same here,, my brother in law plays guitar. so getting his used  guitar string for free makes it even better.

I may have to try this method to get the 2 piece antenna look

 

I did one years ago and my only complaint is ,,, its just a straight antenna .  Which for Mopars was not used till 1972 and later

 

 

The guitar string might be thin enough to slip into the hypodermic tubing.

If you knew the gauge of the guitar string you could pick up some hypodermic tubing with the correct inside diameter & Viola, you've got an antenna.

As a matter of fact, I might see if I can get some even thinner tubing for these antennas & some very thin wire for the upper part.

The thinner the antennas, the more realistic they'll look.

The tubing that I have might be just a tad too thick, but when I bought it, I was just guessing.

Coupled with the "Grandt Line", which I'm totally unfamiliar with, & a combination of these techniques might be the answer to everyone's prayers.

Someone please explain to me what a Grandt Line is & where would I get them.

 

Steve

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Posted

Ok guys, I've been doing a little bit of research & I think I've found a great combo of all of our suggestions to make some really nice antennas.

I checked out those "Grandt Line" nuts & washers, looked at some more tubing & some wire & here's what I'm coming up with.

If the guitar string fits into the "O" scale nuts & washers, then it must be .02" wire.

If we do the exact same antennas that "High octane" & "gtx6970" did with the .02" wire & the "O" scale nuts and washers for a base, you could slip a section of the hypodermic tubing over the wire to give the 2 piece look.

The tubing I have is .02" inside diameter, but there is a thinner option that can be ordered from Amazon.

They have a 22 gauge .02" ID .028" OD with a .004" wall thickness that would give the lower half a little bit thinner appearance.

On another note, for those of us that can't readily pick up guitar string, I did a little digging in my stash & found some .02" "music wire" from "K&S Engineering" that I picked up at a Hobby Lobby a while back, so it should be readily available.

I believe that they carried it right in the model section along with all of the other brass & aluminum tubing & rod.

 

So, some Hobby Lobby wire, some Amazon tubing & the "O" scale nuts & washers might be a great answer.

Maybe a dab of some sort of glue or epoxy for the tip & you're good to go.

 

Thanks, everyone, for your input.

We can do great things when we put our heads together. ;)

 

Steve

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Posted (edited)

Great summary, Steve.

I have another method I've used which is Insect Pins. The ones I use are .009" diameter, that's less than a quarter inch in 1/25. They are thin enough that they flex when touched. The ball on top is a bonus. I fabricate a base with tube but will have to try some nut castings as mentioned.

Here's a few pics that explain.

 

Renees Van DSC 1054

 

Edited by Foxer

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Posted

Great summary, Steve.

I have another method I've used which is Insect Pins. The ones I use are .009" diameter, that's less than a quarter inch in 1/25. They are thin enough that they flex when touched. The ball on top is a bonus. I fabricate a base with tube but will have to try some nut castings as mentioned.

Here's a few pics that explain.

 

 

Then you could go with an even thinner tubing for the lower half of the telescoping aerial.

Possibly as thin as 26 or 27 gauge.

 

Steve

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Posted

The guitar string might be thin enough to slip into the hypodermic tubing.

If you knew the gauge of the guitar string you could pick up some hypodermic tubing with the correct inside diameter & Viola, you've got an antenna.

As a matter of fact, I might see if I can get some even thinner tubing for these antennas & some very thin wire for the upper part.

The thinner the antennas, the more realistic they'll look.

The tubing that I have might be just a tad too thick, but when I bought it, I was just guessing.

Coupled with the "Grandt Line", which I'm totally unfamiliar with, & a combination of these techniques might be the answer to everyone's prayers.

Someone please explain to me what a Grandt Line is & where would I get them.

 

Steve

Grandt Line is an aftermarket  company for model railroading and if your local hobby shop carries trains, they'll be able to help you. Mine did.

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Posted

Grandt Line is an aftermarket  company for model railroading and if your local hobby shop carries trains, they'll be able to help you. Mine did.

Already got it Nick, thank you!

I ordered a package of them through ebay.

 

Steve

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Posted

If you're in the Chicago area, check with Des Plaines Hobbies - they have some of that ultrafine tubing last time I checked (thanks to Tom Piagari aka feretzrus for the heads-up!)

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