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The issues with scratch building

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9 hours ago, CabDriver said:

getting them perfectly round and being able to join the ends is a real challenge.

In the past I have attempted to do the same thing on 1:1 wheels and had pretty much the same problem, even though I had access to a roller.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, TarheelRick said:

In the past I have attempted to do the same thing on 1:1 wheels and had pretty much the same problem, even though I had access to a roller.

Interesting - I'm glad it's not just me :D

I figure I just need to get some thin-walled tube of the right diameter and that'll solve my problem, but I was trying to make them all styrene sheet and not use anything I didn't have kicking around here already, because I'm stubborn :D  I did think that a little vacuum former with some machined masters of the right size would also allow me to make what I need...but then I need to make or buy a vacuum former :D :D

Edited by CabDriver

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22 minutes ago, CabDriver said:

Interesting - I'm glad it's not just me :D

I figure I just need to get some thin-walled tube of the right diameter and that'll solve my problem, but I was trying to make them all styrene sheet and not use anything I didn't have kicking around here already, because I'm stubborn :D  I did think that a little vacuum former with some machined masters of the right size would also allow me to make what I need...but then I need to make or buy a vacuum former :D :D

If you know someone with false teeth that used the tablets to clean them, get them to save the tubes for you, thin walled and easy enough to make a smaller diameter as its already a tube

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Posted (edited)

Nearly everything in this camper is scratch built.

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Per my earlier statement on shapes, the furniture is nothing more than a series of boxes made from basswood. The drawers and doors are just an extra piece of same basswood laminated on with carpenters glue.

The countertop is Evergreen sheet, I don’t think it’s even painted. The sink came from the shape box.. I believe it was once half a truck fuel tank. The blue TV came out of the Dodge van kit and was modified into a microwave.

The bed is just a few pieces of same basswood glued together for the thickness needed for a mattress, which was then wrapped in a white tissue with white glue. Pillow is also just a glued wad of same tissue. The blanket is a paper towel that was spray painted.

F36795A9-3855-4EB9-BC5D-2B30A7862143.jpeg.23f0c1a9d5d66cf6524f9fbe2cd1b0ad.jpeg

Now the illusion.. the flooring and Welcome mat were printed from a dollhouse miniatures website. The shoe was on a broken figure in the shape box. He was already missing both arms and the other leg!

70943A4C-1145-4D2E-8983-B32BF3222872.jpeg.e3220abc90b6c13dd625825db7feb595.jpeg

On the busy counter top.. I made the sink faucet from wire. The coffee maker was measured off my real one and is all from bits of Evergreen plastic. I toss all the tiny scraps into a box, they come in handy for things like this. The controls are a paper label of some piece of equipment from that doll house website. You don’t need the exact controls for a coffee maker to create the illusion.

The coffee pot was an issue, I couldn’t find a clear hollow cylinder until we were out to dinner and a straw showed up in a drink! Shapes are where you find them! The top was an odd round shape in the shape box. The handle is half a large staple.

The vodka bottle came from the MPC 28 Lincoln kit and the can is a short length of sprue. I made the labels and magazines in my printer. The cabinet knobs are model ship builders brass nails. Just buy stuff and you will find a use for it!

Dont overlook military model supplies. The plates are from an aftermarket mess kit. Even though most of their stuff is 1/35 scale, I went through and found pieces that fit my scene. The coffee cup is from the set, the character is a decal I found in a parts bag I once bought and saved for such an occasion. 

Silverware is Detail Master photo etch from one of their Misc Junk sets. The left over food on the plate is a Squadron Green Putty blob I found on the work bench.

6E79798E-569F-4CB9-9001-34CC74C8AB29.jpeg.fde54385f49455527da42805b92312bf.jpeg

In the end nothing needs to be absolutely perfect as viewers will see this through windows from a distance. Again create the illusion and the viewer will complete the thought in their mind!

I did this post to illustrate how something can come together from various parts sources and some imagination.  The construction is very basic, nothing the average builder on this board wouldn’t be able to do. 

Edited by Tom Geiger

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As Tom has shown, one has to be imaginative and try to perceive what can be made from all sorts of odds and ends.

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Definitely not for everyone but the vast array of materials you can machine definitely makes these a good way to go.  You can machine plastic, and a wide variety of other materials.For instance, german silver(a nickel and copper alloy) looks very much like chrome or other other silver surfaces, but it solders well to other metals such as brass. 

Unfortunately, this is not in everyones budget. 

 

image.jpeg.970caa4cdce680c77bbef92ba3c5d051.jpegimages?q=tbn%3AANd9GcQ0Aeh7V6hEW8U31eUNfdM6yFLWk_KsHgRebHh6yeMTO64-7OUeuZhM7ADsSHRp9DAD6O1sPW4&usqp=CAc

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5 hours ago, Pete J. said:

Definitely not for everyone but the vast array of materials you can machine definitely makes these a good way to go.  You can machine plastic, and a wide variety of other materials.For instance, german silver(a nickel and copper alloy) looks very much like chrome or other other silver surfaces, but it solders well to other metals such as brass. 

Unfortunately, this is not in everyones budget. 

 

image.jpeg.970caa4cdce680c77bbef92ba3c5d051.jpegimages?q=tbn%3AANd9GcQ0Aeh7V6hEW8U31eUNfdM6yFLWk_KsHgRebHh6yeMTO64-7OUeuZhM7ADsSHRp9DAD6O1sPW4&usqp=CAc

I’ve been casually considering a lathe - what kind is that and what kind of budget does one need to get going?

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Pete J. said:

Definitely not for everyone but the vast array of materials you can machine definitely makes these a good way to go.  You can machine plastic, and a wide variety of other materials.For instance, german silver(a nickel and copper alloy) looks very much like chrome or other other silver surfaces, but it solders well to other metals such as brass. 

 

 

 

A couple years ago I began selling off some of my stash to generate funds to get some modelling equipment I’ve been putting off. During lockdown I finally dipped into the pot and ordered up a new gravity feed airbrush I’ve been drooling over for some time now (and which arrived yesterday 😀😀)
 

Next up is a lathe. Got to get one. I have more than one project stalled (or unstarted) without that capability. Got to sell a few more kits first. If I get enough sold, a mill will follow. 

Edited by Bainford

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2 hours ago, CabDriver said:

I’ve been casually considering a lathe - what kind is that and what kind of budget does one need to get going?

Sherline https://www.sherline.com/product/45004530-lathe/  They start at about $655  but you can easily spend that again on special tools.  Don't let that stop you though.  You don't need to do that when you first buy the machine.  They have three packages the top one, has a lot of stuff to get you going.  I bought it and have parts I have never used, so my choice would be the middle one. 

  Sherline has some of the best customer service on the planet.  You can call them with a problem and they will be able to tell you how to do it.  These guys are all master machinist and not sale people.  They don't get anything extra for selling something.  Not only that, they have actually designed and build special parts for me to overcome particular problems.  Now I have to say, I have an advantage/disadvantage.  I live less than 15 minutes from the factory and I say an advantage because I can buzz over there and get what I need.  Disadvantage because I can buzz over there and get what I need.🤪

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1 hour ago, Pete J. said:

Sherline https://www.sherline.com/product/45004530-lathe/  They start at about $655  but you can easily spend that again on special tools.  Don't let that stop you though.  You don't need to do that when you first buy the machine.  They have three packages the top one, has a lot of stuff to get you going.  I bought it and have parts I have never used, so my choice would be the middle one. 

  Sherline has some of the best customer service on the planet.  You can call them with a problem and they will be able to tell you how to do it.  These guys are all master machinist and not sale people.  They don't get anything extra for selling something.  Not only that, they have actually designed and build special parts for me to overcome particular problems.  Now I have to say, I have an advantage/disadvantage.  I live less than 15 minutes from the factory and I say an advantage because I can buzz over there and get what I need.  Disadvantage because I can buzz over there and get what I need.🤪

Have you made aluminum rims from thick wall tubing? I have a bunch of wide tires and a bunch of narrow rims and mags. It would be nice to have some hoops made to bring them together.

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12 minutes ago, Bills72sj said:

Have you made aluminum rims from thick wall tubing? I have a bunch of wide tires and a bunch of narrow rims and mags. It would be nice to have some hoops made to bring them together.

Not from tubing.  I generally start with 7075 shaft up to an inch in diameter and make three piece rims.  The attached photo shows rims that were made this way with black Delrin centers.  

DSCN0143.jpg

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The Sherline equipment is good but a bit pricey for many. However, there is an inexpensive alternative, a Unimat 1 modular machine that can fulfil most modeller's needs for machining plastics, wood and softer metals like aluminium, copper or brass. The set allows different configurations of machine to be made from the same modular set, and extra accessories can be bought and added as time goes on. It is an ideal piece of kit for most of the sort of stuff we do in lighter materials. Look it up on the internet and you will get some idea of the versatility of it although quite a small machine set.

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11 hours ago, Pete J. said:

Not from tubing.  I generally start with 7075 shaft up to an inch in diameter and make three piece rims.  The attached photo shows rims that were made this way with black Delrin centers.  

You machine rod into rims! Wow, that is a lot of material removal.

 

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10 hours ago, Bugatti Fan said:

The Sherline equipment is good but a bit pricey for many. However, there is an inexpensive alternative, a Unimat 1 modular machine that can fulfil most modeller's needs for machining plastics, wood and softer metals like aluminium, copper or brass. The set allows different configurations of machine to be made from the same modular set, and extra accessories can be bought and added as time goes on. It is an ideal piece of kit for most of the sort of stuff we do in lighter materials. Look it up on the internet and you will get some idea of the versatility of it although quite a small machine set.

I've heard of the Unimat tools for a long time.  Never seen one, but in looking at it, I have a lot of question.  Noel, do you own one?  My main issue is that it looks like it has a lot of plastic parts and aluminum extrusions. The primary reason I ask is that if it is very light weight, it will flex a lot and that precludes any real accuracy and the ability to replicate several parts.  Perhaps you don't need that but it does limit what you can do.  I have an example that I am working on.  I am making some hot rod rims and the dimensions on all 4 are all within .002".  Since they are three piece rims, it means that they all fit together well.

However, you make a good point.  Not everyone wants to drop that much money on a hobby.  It is a very personal decision.  If the Unimat does the job then it may be a good choice.  Personally, I learned from my Dad that if you plan on using a tool for along time, spend the money.  The bitterness of a bad tool lasts long after that the sweetness of a cheap price has passed.  

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Posted (edited)

Bill, that is true, but using rod means I can design any size I need.  I generally start with drilling out the center with a twist bit to rough shape and then go from there. This is the plan for the rims I am working on.  They started a 3/4" rod.  You may notice that the dimensions are in feet.  This is a idiocincy of the CAD program i am using.  In inch dimensions the arcs and circles are too rough for small work.  Since I have it set up for 3 decimal points the drawing gives me angles and number that I can use. 

RIM.jpg

Edited by Pete J.

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Lathes are like exercise equipment... you should be able to find used ones that were hardly used cheap!  

A bunch of guys bought them and didn't understand the commitment to learning the craft.  I know guys who produced a bunch of out of scale pulleys and lost interest. The running joke was "What do you make on your lathe?"  Answer "Metal shavings"!   

On the other side, especially with guys who have machining skills from employment, some wonderful things can be made.

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2 hours ago, Tom Geiger said:

Lathes are like exercise equipment... you should be able to find used ones that were hardly used cheap!  

A bunch of guys bought them and didn't understand the commitment to learning the craft.  I know guys who produced a bunch of out of scale pulleys and lost interest. The running joke was "What do you make on your lathe?"  Answer "Metal shavings"!   

On the other side, especially with guys who have machining skills from employment, some wonderful things can be made.

You are spot on.  If you are going to invest in a tool like this then you need to be ready to develop some new skills.  Machining is not just something that you start out making complex shapes.  My pile of failures is far bigger than my pile of successes, but every time I sit at the bench, the probability of success increases. 

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5 hours ago, Pete J. said:

I've heard of the Unimat tools for a long time.  Never seen one, but in looking at it, I have a lot of question.  Noel, do you own one?  My main issue is that it looks like it has a lot of plastic parts and aluminum extrusions.

I own a vintage Unimat, as well as the full size Bridgeport mill clone, and a 16" lathe.

The early Unimats are little jewels, no plastic whatsoever, Austrian made, and old-world craftsmanship. I'd wanted one since 1959, finally got one a couple years back.

Ephemera

I bought one that looked like it had never been used, complete. It converts to a mill-drill with what comes in the fitted wooden case.

But they're not cheap. Be prepared to spend around a grand for a creampuff, and an assortment of drive belts (the original rubber ones will be toast), a speed reducer, and a few cutting tools and quick-change tool post.

DSCN1359.thumb.JPG.b51af98eb8956ce0b135e633d789d24c.JPG

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6 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

I own a vintage Unimat, as well as the full size Bridgeport mill clone, and a 16" lathe.

The early Unimats are little jewels, no plastic whatsoever, Austrian made, and old-world craftsmanship. I'd wanted one since 1959, finally got one a couple years back.

Ephemera

I bought one that looked like it had never been used, complete. It converts to a mill-drill with what comes in the fitted wooden case.

But they're not cheap. Be prepared to spend around a grand for a creampuff, and an assortment of drive belts (the original rubber ones will be toast), a speed reducer, and a few cutting tools and quick-change tool post.

DSCN1359.thumb.JPG.b51af98eb8956ce0b135e633d789d24c.JPG

Oh wow! that does look like a very nice tool.  I see a lot of similarities with the Sherline.  First off they are both professional tools, that is apparent from the finish and construction.  Are you able to get parts for them is something wears out?  This is certainly not the  plastic ones I have seen.  They most certainly don't build them like that anymore.  A grand or so for this is definitely not out of line.  Over the years, I have certainly spent that on additional tooling to do specialty jobs and that doesn't come cheap.  I would guess that between the mill and the lathe I have several grand invested, but I do enjoy making the chips fly.  Thanks for posting this.

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Posted (edited)

You are onto something, Jim.  A suggestion for the flare at the outside of the rim.  Take the white plastic out if you can and then glue it to a flat plastic sheet.  When it is dry cut out the middle and then leave just a thin lip around the outside.  It can be rounded to shape.

And I've had a Sherline lathe for ages.  I'm no expert but it really works well for what I do.  I've made tires, hubs, sirens, headlights and a few other things that I could then cast and make duplicates of.  It's a great tool.

Edited by Chariots of Fire

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Posted (edited)

Pete, you asked about the Unimat 1 modular machine. Yes I do own one. It was my first machine purchase. Basically it does consist of square section  aluminium extensions with T slots  on each side. The modules are clamped together internally with special T bolts and a rigidity plate bolted on externally to keep the extensions aligned with one another. As an engineer myself I could see that it had a lot of limitations, but for someone wanting something versatile and reasonably inexpensive it made a good starting point for working on lighter materials despite its size limitations. It cannot machine to the very fine accuracy of my Unimat 4 however, but it is versatile as a small modular bit of kit. My Unimat 4 is a nice machine although Emco Maier were getting them made in Taiwan from the model 4 onwards. The earlier ones were Austrian made. Even the 4 has its size  limitations, but since I have acquired an Emco Unimat  8, altogether a much bigger machine plus a bench top milling machine. I have seen the Sherline machines and they are very good quality machines. Proxxon of Germany has a lovely and comprehensive range of model making machines that are also of excellent quality. The ultimate miniature lathe is made by Cowells. Very expensive but of tool room quality.

Edited by Bugatti Fan

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What a fantastic thread. I can relate to so many of the comments and suggestions made here.  Pete & Bill (Ace) especially put a smile on my face.  I scratch build for several reasons. I want to achieve a higher level of build........it's just me.  Scale is important and machining in metal can help achieve that because of its inherent strength over plastic.  I've now accumulated a wide range of materials including steel,  bronze, brass, alum. titanium, carbon rod etc. etc. etc. that I grab from to make something.  This all took time to acquire and also a LOT of research and help to properly machine, solder it or whatever. I have 10 or more types of glue on my desk.  Depends on what I'm assembling.  I EXPERIMENT a lot which I find fun.  I FAIL A LOT........... Right now I've spent more than 2 weeks doing drawings and experimenting on how to make a part.  Including a week to learn / figure out how to make a tool/fixture to achieve a particular result.  Most people (I said before, I'm odd ) that I'll take, spend or waste that time to figure something out.  AND FAIL.   That is part of the "fun" of scratch-building in my opinion.  I love figuring stuff out quite simply.  I think most scratch-builders relish & enjoy that part of it.  And when we get it right, well that's the reward.  

Regarding machines, I've seen people like Dave, my friend and mentor (comp1839) build / machine things in ANY scale that would make ya' blush.  On a big boy Bridgeport.  At the same time, I've figured out how to make the most of my Sherline equipment.  Having a good teacher if you're a machinist is a must.........again, in my opinion.  Once you learn how to dial in  a machine properly  & use it you can achieve amazing things.  I personally hold very high regard to metal bender / fabricators ( think of Dave Sherman,  Clay Kemp,  Randy D. and John Teresi ) that form & shape metal or plastic with curves and shapes that defy belief.   That's an art unto itself which I've only scratched (no pun intended) the surface of.   Whatever you do, don't get me started on the Chris Sobaks or Mark Johnsons that have CAD skills in addition to other capabilities in their tool boxes to scratch build something.   It just doesn't end and you shouldn't feel limited to what the kit itself offers. 

I'll step off my soap-box now.   I'm a scratch-builder and enjoy it for what it is.  Those that explore it and realize the satisfaction in making something from "stuff"........well, it gets addictive and has its own set of rewards.  Once you start and realize some success, you quickly realize that you can or should be able to make almost anything.   Those that are scratch-builders, know what I'm speaking of.   Cheers to one and all and to those delving into it...........enjoy the entire experience.   Tim

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22 minutes ago, Codi said:

I have 10 or more types of glue on my desk.  Depends on what I'm assembling.  I EXPERIMENT a lot which I find fun.  I FAIL A LOT.

I couldn't agree more, an all counts. There have been periods of my modeling "career", in which I really didn't work toward completing projects--just trying new stuff! When you push your own boundaries, whether or not it works the first time, you've learned something. And, best of all, you had a good time!

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On 5/3/2020 at 2:08 AM, Pete J. said:

 ...Are you able to get parts for them is something wears out? 

Yes. There is a community of enthusiasts, some of whom make trick parts for the old machines (where I got my polyurethane drive-belt set) and also deal in parts and accessories. There are also plenty of broken and unloved machines to cannibalize for not a lot of coin...usually.

From '47 until '77, it's believed that 300,000 to 400,000 of the first-generation machines were made, with running changes, but basically all pretty much the same.

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21 hours ago, Bugatti Fan said:

Pete, you asked about the Unimat 1 modular machine. Yes I do own one. It was my first machine purchase. Basically it does consist of square section  aluminium extensions with T slots  on each side. The modules are clamped together internally with special T bolts and a rigidity plate bolted on externally to keep the extensions aligned with one another. As an engineer myself I could see that it had a lot of limitations, but for someone wanting something versatile and reasonably inexpensive it made a good starting point for working on lighter materials despite its size limitations. It cannot machine to the very fine accuracy of my Unimat 4 however, but it is versatile as a small modular bit of kit. My Unimat 4 is a nice machine although Emco Maier were getting them made in Taiwan from the model 4 onwards. The earlier ones were Austrian made. Even the 4 has its size  limitations, but since I have acquired an Emco Unimat  8, altogether a much bigger machine plus a bench top milling machine. I have seen the Sherline machines and they are very good quality machines. Proxxon of Germany has a lovely and comprehensive range of model making machines that are also of excellent quality. The ultimate miniature lathe is made by Cowells. Very expensive but of tool room quality.

Thanks for the follow up.  I had not heard of Cowells before.  My guess is that is rather rare on this side of the pond.  I was intrigued by the mill.  That is the first time that i have seen a mill that size with a moving table and fixed head.  It took me a little time to wrap my head around that, but I see the advantage.  I am certain that there are people who need the advantages of those machines.  However at twice the cost of my Sherline, I would have to think long and hard to justify that.  Not doubting the quality is worth the money, just not sure what I do needs that. Thanks again. 

While on the subject of companies, I doubt that a lot of people here did not know that Joe Martin(founder of Sherline in America) bought the original patents and rights to the name Sherline from and Australians named Clispy and Sher.  It is a longer story than that but an interesting tidbit.

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