Customs: styrene help

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by javaco, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. javaco

    javaco javaco

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    well iv been doing customs for a few years now. and im wanting to start using styrene sheets. it would help a lot making figures more specific to a character.

    i just have some questions now on it.

    where can i get it? (stores,online)
    what do i use to cut it?
    whats a recommended thickness?
     
  2. convoymagnus

    convoymagnus Yeshua Is Mashiach.

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  3. hXcpunk23

    hXcpunk23 The Chaos Bringer

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    You can get styrene from most hobby shops. In-store, I get mine at Hobbytown USA. Online, I get mine from Hobbylinc.com - Discount Hobbies up to 60% off (which is based in Atlanta, GA).

    The best tools to use to cut styrene are hobby knives/X-acto knives, but you can also use very sharp knives and box cutters (be VERY careful using any of these). I would also recommend a metal-edged ruler to help you cut straight lines. When cutting styrene, you want to simply score the plastic a bit (maybe drag your hobby knife across the styrene about 2-3 times to score it), then take the piece in your hands and bend slowly back and forth. It should "pop" and snap the sheet into two halves. Another handy thing to have on hand for styrene is sandpaper. Usually a fine grit, so that you can sand away the rough edges left from cutting it.

    As far as thickness, I don't have a recommended thickness to share with you. I usually just think about the project, study the shapes I need to build and visualize what sizes or thickness I might need. I rarely go for certain sizes and I rarely measure. I usually just eyeball everything and it usually all comes together nicely. You can opt for the thicker sheets, but you can also use thin sheets and build it up to the size you're after (cutting numerous thin sheets of a certain size--maybe a rectangle for a chest piece, then glue them together to form a thicker piece.

    Which brings me to the last thing you'll need for styrene......super glue. There are various brands and types out there, but I always use Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel or Loctite Super Glue Control Gel. I use the Ultra Gel for those parts I REALLY want to hold up, while the Control Gel is for more controlled uses (tiny areas, small parts), so you won't make a huge mess. Q-tips are also handy for cleaning the glue from around the edges of the styrene. It helps keep things nice and clean looking, without all that goopy glue mess.

    Good luck! I hope you find what you're after and have some fun with it all, man.
     
  4. Yaujta

    Yaujta Not a Bear TFW2005 Supporter

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    Also for a cheap alternative to true hobbiest styrene are For Sale signs from Wal Mart. They're pretty thin, but are made of the same material and work wonders when layered and sanded. Nearly every recent project I've done insludes this stuff.
    Compared to $6-12 for a pack from Hobbytown (the place I go, too, for specific supplies), the WM signs are $2 for a really large sheet.
     
  5. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm OriginalRotorstorm Fanboy

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    I've done my first work with styrene earlier today building new shin pieces for this guy on commission, I know they're a bit thick so I'm doing it again using some thinner but with enough strength to hold his weight.

    [​IMG]



    But anyway, my question is how do you ensure you cut it straight, it's driving me up the wall when it doesn't come out straight when drawing it up.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  6. hXcpunk23

    hXcpunk23 The Chaos Bringer

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    Nice work so far, Rotorstorm (especially for your first time using styrene). To get a straight cut, as I suggested above, pick up a metal-edged ruler. Do not get a wooden ruler with a metal edge. Just a nice, cheap metal ruler can help you draw and cut straight lines in styrene. Also, don't try to cut all the way through the styrene. The trick is to score it and then "break" along the score lines. Once you have your part cut, do some light sanding to the edges with fine grit sandpaper.

    On a side note, I have a WIP of that same mold being done as a custom Vortex. I'm scratchbuilding over the existing legs to give him something better than those chicken-legs.
     
  7. Shwiggie

    Shwiggie Likeable dryskinned biped

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    I'd make that a 6" ruler, at that. I have two; one I got at Office Depot for straight lines and general measurement, and the other at Sears that's got holes on every mark (fraction of inches & millimeters) for quick and accurate marking.

    Thinner styrene is easily cut with scissors...much quicker, easier, and precise than the score and snap method, especially for straight lines. Plus, you probably already have some scissors around the house.

    As for where to get it, I echo the recommendation for Hobbylinc.com...that's where I've gotten a lot of mine. There's a cheap "grab bag" you can get from them that has a bunch of pieces at different thicknesses and lengths that might help you figure out your needs. You might also check the Plastruct website for a PDF of all their products for an idea of how ludicrously specific you can get be with your stuff :p 

    As well as the "For Sale" signs, if you can score some of those white CD shelf separators, those are great, too...I got a whole box as a parting gift from my old bookstore job. As a result, I'll never run out.
     
  8. JavaJim

    JavaJim Agilisticobot

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    This might be a dumb question, but I'm a pretty lazy fella. Would a paper cutter be able to cut through most styrene?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    yeah but why? Just score the stuff. No need to over complicate or even risk damaging the styrene (those blades go dull quick and have a tendency to stick to the paper so I can only imagine the damage to styrene).
     
  10. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Agreeing with the above, use a hobby knife and a ruler, paper cutters are a waste of space and time and money. Also, paper cutters force you to slice all the way across a sheet, whereas you can score out squares, trapezoids, god-knows-what-shapes and pop them out with ease.

    Personally, I always use 1.5mm as a standard, for all basic Walls and structures. I go down to 0.5mm for details and bendy bits, and maybe hit 2mm for structural integrity. That's what I use, but Brian (punk) is right. There's no way to know what will be best in any given case without studying the case in detail. For example, I was building my version of Thermidor 2 recently, and I had to switch between 1mm styrene and 2mm plastic very often.
     
  11. Yaujta

    Yaujta Not a Bear TFW2005 Supporter

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    I also like layering thin styrene. It enables edges to be angled and can also be used for interlocking pieces. Right now, I'm working on some pieces that I layered in a spring-leaf patters so I could get a nice rounded area without having to bend the styrene too much and risk cracking.
     
  12. javaco

    javaco javaco

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    i just got some styrene and the guy at the hobby store recomended to use Plastruct Bondene for the glue.

    but if im attaching these to the tfs. do i use that same glue? or use super glue? or glue gun?

    i wanna do something liek the rotorstorm pic on the page before. i want to put panels around an already existing leg and arm
     
  13. hXcpunk23

    hXcpunk23 The Chaos Bringer

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    I haven't used the Plastruct Bondene cement, but I know it's more for bonding sheets (or pieces) of styrene. For gluing or attaching to TF toys (and for bonding styrene sheets), I simply use Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel (or Control Gel). Trust me when I say both work well (search my started threads to see my work and WIP--I've used that stuff on all of my customs).
     
  14. javaco

    javaco javaco

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    how much is that control gel? and where can i get it?
     
  15. hXcpunk23

    hXcpunk23 The Chaos Bringer

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    I get mine at Wal-Mart, but you can find it in office supply stores also. Home Depot, Target, and most hardware stores carry it also. Depending on which one you go for of the two I listed, the Control Gel runs around $3. The Ultra Gel usually runs closer to $4. If used sparingly and carefully, it should last you a while, but I usually pick up 2 or 3 in case I run out mid-project.
     
  16. javaco

    javaco javaco

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    sounds good! thanks a lot for the help! :D 

    next thing i need to get is some apoxy slupt!
     

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