Scratch Builds: The Basics of Scratchbuilding (original for archival purposes)

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Wikkid, Mar 13, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Wikkid

    Wikkid Semi-retired customizer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Posts:
    1,664
    Trophy Points:
    177
    Likes:
    +3
    Scoring the Plastic: How to Efficiently Cut Styrene Plastic

    Probably the most basic thing to start this tutorial off is to show how to properly cut styrene.

    Using a razor knife, begin by making a slight etch it the plastic where you want it separate. This is called "scoring the plastic". You don't want to cut right through as the thickness of the blade will roll the edge of the plastic creating a wide gap in the end:

    [​IMG]


    Now, after simply etching/scoring the surface, bend the two sides away from each other. Nine times out of ten you will get a clean break with no loss of plastic allowing a tight gap to remain. In this particular instance, I [made] a 90 degree corner by first scoring the rocker panel and rolling it in which easily snapped where I needed it then did the door edge. Styrene is unlikely to break where your knife has not etched the plastic. Not even in this situation where a kit had a molded line right where I was working (at least, I've never had it happen):

    [​IMG]


    Alignment Pegs:

    [​IMG]
    These are great to have in scratchbuilds or in areas you've had to eliminate the factory pegs. You'll be two separate sizes or plastic rod. (The two being a tight fit when one is inserted within the other.)
    Cut the larger of the two rods in half. The smaller rod needs to be the full length of the two larger rod pieces. Glue the smaller rod inside one of the two larger rods:
    [​IMG]


    Tightly secure your components that will need alignment. Once that is in the exact place you want, insert your alignment peg across the two panels and glue it into place and allow to dry overnight:
    [​IMG]


    Shown here are my secondary pegs which will force the feet into alignment with the leg when in car mode.:
    [​IMG]


    Cutting exact sides and creating framework:

    Decide on your overall design. Mark out one side and cut:
    [​IMG]


    Flip that piece you just cut off into the reverse position on the other side and make your etch and break 'er off:
    [​IMG]


    . . . . and POW, you have a symmetrical piece:
    [​IMG]


    Now, let’s hollow that bad boy out for some depth. Start by using tape or other object to map out your sides trying to keep them all the same distances from the edge:
    [​IMG]


    Now drill all your corners. This makes for a stop for when you begin cutting as well as gives you a rounded corner:
    [​IMG]


    Using a straight edge, begin playing connect the dots with your holes. Scribe at the outer edge of the holes:
    [​IMG]


    Here's the part once you've scored you edges:
    [​IMG]


    ....and here's the first part of this panel. (BTW, this is not actually for any particular project, it's just an example):
    [​IMG]

    If for any reason your cuts aren't to the outside, you can still go in and trim away at it with a knife.

    Random panel cross drilling:
    Using a styrene box panel that's been cut down to roughly 1/8 depth I set up my template by aligning a strip of tape to both sides of the panel. This will dummy-proof my exact center to the project:
    [​IMG]


    Using the same size tape, I measure off one side and drill my first hole. By doing so, these holes with be in exact alignment as well as exact spacing. Once your first hole on one side is drilled, you can use the same tape to measure from that hole to the next and go as far as j00 like. In this one, I went with three holes and determined the length of the overall piece by measuring from the final hole then cut the panel off there:
    [​IMG]


    And here's the part in place using the earlier outer edge cutout and a ribbed backing:
    [​IMG]


    Creating venting:

    Begin with a nice ol' straight piece of flat styrene:

    [​IMG]


    Determine how much angle you want on all these and cut off a singular piece:
    [​IMG]


    Use that first piece as a template for the rest:
    [​IMG]


    Make as many as you want. I'll just do six for this tutorial:
    [​IMG]



    Glue them into place and eyeball the positioning. Try to make them the same distance apart. Best thing to do is start on each outer edge then place the next on the inner edge. Determining the center from there is easy:
    [​IMG]


    Now we'll set up some secondary venting using a couple pieces of styrene square rods:
    [​IMG]

    The angles on these ones can either be the same or different from the others. That's up to you:
    [​IMG]


    Cutting Corners (Dreamwave styling)


    I usually refer to multi-angled designs as a Dreamwave style as it's the first time I'd seen it used on TFs. The G1 cartoon was a straight forward box shaped robot where Don Figueroa began giving those same robots more angles in order to make them appear more complex. Shown above is a project I'm working on that has each angle individually measured and cut to create this style. In this tutorial I'll show you how it can be done easier, faster, and on a smaller scale:
    [​IMG]

    I've got three panels cut for the front and sides. They will double up over the existing forearm extension:
    [​IMG]


    Glue the panels over the others and allow drying. Get a flat object and some sticky-back sandpaper. Use 180 grit and work your way finer:
    [​IMG]


    You can sand either up and down or side to side. Just be sure you don't put pressure on the object. Let the sandpaper grit do the cutting:
    [​IMG]


    Be sure to check periodically to make sure you're not over sanding or sanding unevenly:

    [​IMG]


    Every edge has been sanded. The panel is still as strong as the base forearm:
    [​IMG]


    Styrene hinges:

    This project is to create a way to flip the hand back into the forearm. It requires two pieces of different sized styrene rod (Rods that tightly fit within each other) It also needs a panel with cutout for flippy action:
    [​IMG]


    Slice both rods to the same size. (Whatever size fits within your project) Cut the larger rod into three pieces. As you can see from the image, the central panel is larger than the two edges. Try to match those sizes with your styrene rod cuts. (The smaller inner one stays in one piece). Use a very small amount of glue on each of the outer edges. Too much glue and you run the risk of having it flow into the center section and bung up the whole mechanism:
    [​IMG]



    Glue the hinge into place. The sides need to be glued to the outer edge and once inside the boxed forearm; they will be glued to the sides of that as well. The central piece should have no glue on it allowing it to rotate freely:
    [​IMG]

    . . . . and the final product:
    [​IMG]


    *Something to note* The setup shown here in this image has paneling on both sides allowing for a flush appearance when flipped:
    [​IMG]


    Duplicating cuts on curved areas:

    Technically this isn't a curved panel but the principles the same. Begin by making your first cut:
    [​IMG]


    Lay up a piece of tape over the area to be duplicated:
    [​IMG]


    Using a razor knife, cut the tape to the same specs as the first shape:
    [​IMG]


    Flip the tape over and tape it into place. Then make your cuts on the secondary part thus creating an exact copy. Tape is good to use for rounded parts as it'll form to any shape:
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page