Customs: Making clean cuts in plastic please help !

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Sharkysharky, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. Sharkysharky

    Sharkysharky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Posts:
    466
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Likes:
    +0
    Hi Guys,

    I'm trying to try to reshell a deluxe with a tamiya model shell, but before I go slicing it up I was wondering if there's any tips on making clean and more importantly straight cuts in plastic, as if I use a dremel or jewellry saw it wanders off all over the place ! Any tips please before I go turning TFs into expensive plastic ribbons ? Thanks !
     
  2. Slothboy

    Slothboy Nick

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Posts:
    512
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Likes:
    +0
    I think maybe a heated x acto would work, but don't count me on that! Wouldn't want your model just melted.
    The more sure option is just to score repeatedly with an xacto until the part snaps free, however it takes some patience to get it nice and clean (at least for me). If it's a curved part, you'd need something like a tape measure and use it to draw a line for where to cut. Flat pieces are obviously easier, where you could just use a ruler.
     
  3. mampy

    mampy Movie-Accurate Mampy

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Posts:
    1,637
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +1
    I've tried the heated X-acto knife myself but it was not remarkably easier to cut through thick plastic.

    I would also think that you should find a way to keep the part you're cutting in place to help stabilize things when you're using a dremel/jewelry saw. Think vise grip in woodworking class.

    In any case, you can use sandpaper to smoothen out the edges you've cut. It will also make the seamlines/gaps between panels bigger so you should be careful not to overdo it. :) 
     
  4. Napjr

    Napjr <b><font color=gold>Mr. Internet</font><br><font c Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Posts:
    1,717
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    192
    Likes:
    +4
    Ebay:
  5. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    Posts:
    4,008
    News Credits:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +10
    Jeweler's saws, hobby saws, and X-acto knives (with micro saw blades and regular blades) are great options, but I offer another.

    Regular cotton thread! IF you have a small table vise or the like, you can clamp your piece in the vise and use the thread like a friction saw! Wrap the ends around your fingers a few times and just use a sawing "flossing" action!

    It makes precise extremely thin cuts, and you can change directions quite easily.

    Practice on a scrap piece of plastic and you can get the feel of it.

    Remember to use cotton thread, nylon thread doesn't generate enough friction heat. Also dental floss won't work because of the wax coating.
     
  6. Oric

    Oric Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Posts:
    296
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    cotton thread huh? That sounds like a neat idea
     
  7. Napjr

    Napjr <b><font color=gold>Mr. Internet</font><br><font c Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Posts:
    1,717
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    192
    Likes:
    +4
    Ebay:
    Hmmm i might try that, any example of that with any of your customs big hank?
     
  8. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    Posts:
    4,008
    News Credits:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +10
    Actually no! LOL!! I used to use that technique for cutting open trunks and doors on car models, and wing flaps on aircraft models. I have to get to work on some figures in a moment and I'll cut one up using thread, and take some pics!
     
  9. Napjr

    Napjr <b><font color=gold>Mr. Internet</font><br><font c Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Posts:
    1,717
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    192
    Likes:
    +4
    Ebay:
    Cool! sounds good

    Obviously that method works nice on models, but what about other kind of plastics?
     
  10. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    Posts:
    4,008
    News Credits:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +10

    With patience it will work on pretty much all "rigid" plastics. The nylon infused types, and soft rubbery types it may not work as well. Never tried though. I still have to get some example pics, my back has been plaquing me this weekend and I can't seem to get any work done.
     

Share This Page