Tools

bordercollie
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Tools

Postby bordercollie » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:17 am

Hi

I will be beginning the construction of my first locomotive kit or any kit for that matter. I have built up a collection of smaller tools over the years. As I am a beginner I need all the help I can afford.
Therefore can people let me know what they think I should purchase in regards to the most expensive types of tools?

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Tools

Postby Le Corbusier » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:09 am

When first starting out with kit building (relatively recently) I found Ian Rice's various offerings excellent to get me started with such things as tools etc. His 'Etched Metal Loco Construction' was particularly helpful as far as brass kits were concerned.

etched metal loco construction.jpg


I don't know how much experience you might have with etched brass kits ... but for myself I found it really helpful to work my way up via a few Bill Bedford etched wagons followed by an etched carriage/coach or two. Aren't Mitchell Loco's on the more advanced end of the spectrum?

Apologies if I am 'teaching grandma to suck eggs' .... but another aid which I found invaluable was Tony Wright's videos on kit construction - in this he takes you through the building of a Gibson 4F alongside a couple of white metal offerings, one of which is the South Eastern Finecast GWR 61XX Prairie tank. see here...



Not P4 I know .... and with a more simple approach to chassis construction .... but still good for the rest and particularly for actually watching techniques etc.
Tim Lee

Terry Bendall
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Re: Tools

Postby Terry Bendall » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:26 am

bordercollie wrote:Therefore can people let me know what they think I should purchase in regards to the most expensive types of tools?


This might depend on your definition of expensive. :) Lathes, milling machines??

The series that started in Scalefour News 213 may eventually help but most kit and scratch building can be done with fairly simple tools - marking out tools, saws, files, drills, perhaps some taps if threaded holes have to be made and a soldering iron. A resistance soldering iron could well be useful although so far I have managed without one. I have not got Iain Rice's book on Loco construction but if it is similar to his other books it will contain simple straightforward advice that can be relied on.

The best way is to start building the kit and if you find you need something that you do not have at present, buy it. :)

Terry Bendall

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David B
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Re: Tools

Postby David B » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:13 am

I would suggest a temperature controlled soldering iron, often sold as soldering stations. If you want to cover white metal soldering as well as brass and nickel silver, you will need the range of temperature to cover from 150C to around 450C. This was my first investment when I returned to the hobby and one I have never regretted.

A resistance soldering unit is a very useful additional soldering aid but it does not replace a decent soldering iron. It is not an essential tool but used properly, it can be a great help.

If you are going to be making a number of steam locomotives rather than diesels, a jig such as the Avonside could be useful.

bordercollie
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Re: Tools

Postby bordercollie » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:29 am

Hi
Thanks for comments.
I have the book referred to. Should have had a good look at it first.
I think the idea of doing something easier first is the way to go. I have 3 Tri-ang clerestories that need to have the Bettabitz improvements done.
I have ordered one of the Avonside chassis jigs.
Buying tools as needed is also the best way to go.

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Tools

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:42 am

Few but good quality, especially files and drills. Cheap micro drill sets are a poor economy in my experience. Cheap files are okay for use on white metal or removing excess solder but, having been down the road of buying too many tools over the years, I now rely on half a dozen Vallorbe or Klein Swiss files for nearly everything, plus a couple of watchmakers escapement files.

As Terry says, buy what you need when you find you need them.

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Noel
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Re: Tools

Postby Noel » Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:19 pm

Jol Wilkinson wrote:Cheap files are okay for use on white metal or removing excess solder


In which case a file card is likely to be useful.

I would suggest that one of the most useful 'tools' is a mindset willing to check 'received wisdom' [which is in no way intended as a criticism of Jol, just a general comment], and a suspicion of kit instructions. Those from certain designers, Justin of Rumney Models is one, there are others, are very good. Some, especially where it's an older kit, are less so. Always read through the instructions before starting, not least to see if following them exactly is going to produce a result which is very difficult to paint...
Regards
Noel

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David B
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Re: Tools

Postby David B » Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:40 pm

On the whole with tools, you get what you pay for but occasionally, some cheapies are worth it.

I have been using these small files from Expo Tools for several years. They are cheap enough to ditch when they are no longer of use, though I have still to dispose of one willingly - one or two have been 'borrowed' so I have bought another set. I find these small files very useful and use them most of the time along with just a couple of larger ones for more serious filing.

The small files are available from many modelling shops as well as Expo.

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JackBlack
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Re: Tools

Postby JackBlack » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:56 pm

bordercollie wrote:I have ordered one of the Avonside chassis jigs.


That's a good start, I have one of these and it's excellent, once you get your head around how to use it!

My other essentials include the GW Models mini-roller (the larger one if you can afford it), and the GW wheel press, the largest Hold & Fold you can afford, and a Dremel or Proxxon mini drill (but get one with a keyless chuck not collets!). Other than that I have odd things that I use all the time, a little pair of flat tweezers I bought in Boots, and a really decent pair nail scissors I think also Boots which is great for cutting etched parts. Antex soldering iron, Carrs green flux, 145 degree solder, I use this for everything, and then a set of files as everyone's mentioned.

It's also worth getting some different sized brass rods for forming curves in brass, I order them from eBay when I need them, often instructions will tell you the exact diameter to use.

Regarding etched loco kits, I would suggest start with something that's not irreplaceable- IE get a Finney kit from Brassmasters rather than starting on a Mitchell that may be hard to find again. And be prepared that your first one might not be successful. Be patient, go slowly, and if you get stuck ask questions, chances are good that on here someone has built the kit. I find that if something isn't going well I put it aside and start on something else, come back to it later when I understand better how to fix it.

Good luck! Nick

Terry Bendall
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Re: Tools

Postby Terry Bendall » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:07 pm

[quote="JackBlack"]
It's also worth getting some different sized brass rods for forming curves in brass[/quote

Steel rods will be cheaper and are available for Model Engineering suppliers.

Terry Bendall

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David Thorpe
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Re: Tools

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:39 pm

On the basis that you're not going to be scratchbuilding (well, not yet anyway) I'd agree that the Avonside chassis jig and the GW Wheel press will make life a lot easier when you're building a loco kit. These two plus a high Level gearbox enabled me to build the first loco chassis I'd done that actually worked properly virtually straight away. I've managed without a power drill, instead preferring a handheld swivel head pin vice - I feel it gives me much more accuracy than a hand held Proxxon, although I do now have one of these. Otherwise of course a selection of files, some mini drill bits, a pack of small cutting broaches (essential IMO!), and a parallel 1/8" hand reamer - expensive but indispensible for enlarging the holes in those hornblocks that are just a fraction too tight. And of course a piercing saw and a decent mini-vice with flat, not serrated, jaws. And some pl1ers and tweezers of varying sizes including round nosed, and a Xuron flush cutter and the awful but obligatory fibre glass scratch brush.

And there''s the soldering iron. For many years I used an Aoyue 40w soldering station and it gave me excellent service and indeed still does. However, after my last birthday it was moved through to the layout room and its place by my workbench taken by a new Hakko FX888d 70w soldering station with a temperature range of between 50 and 450 degrees (although I tend to keep it at 425 degrees unless something special requires something different) which has the added advantage of being able to use all my cheap Aoyue soldering tips. It looks a bit like a toy but is really very good. An RSU is very desirable but certainly not essential. And a 6" steel rule and a good light - I'd recommend the products of the Craft Light Co (https://www.craftlights.co.uk/) - not particularly cheap but very good.

I'm going to stop now before I think of any more.

DT

davebradwell
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Re: Tools

Postby davebradwell » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:45 pm

Might I suggest investing in a decent vice before much else. That is one with smooth (ie no serrations) ground jaws that are parallel and will grip a narrow piece of, ideally, 2 thou' shim at either end when held just below the top edge. Most cheap modellers' vices are pretty useless but a small traditional bench vice will last years and the separate jaws can usually be turned to give a smooth gripping surface - if not you'll have to find someone with a surface grinder. 3" jaws will allow most solebars to be folded and for this job top edges must be in line, 4" better.

The Chinese "precision" vices are a mixed bag and mine had been machined with a chipped cutter so I had to spend hours with file and scraper putting it right and it would benefit from a few more. The one I sent back was much worse. Perhaps buy from Eileen's at an exhibition so you can examine the goods and check jaws.

If no bench it can be fixed to a chunk of 1" MDF which will sit on a table. You want the window behind you so you can see a scribed line.

Just because you're making something small doesn't mean you have to use small files. 6 or 8" engineers files work out cheaper and are easier to aim. I've never owned rollers as they can't bend the end of the metal so you need to resort to vice and bar anyway. I will now diverge rapidly from the status quo as I prefer proper machine tools to a mini-anything. They can be used for other jobs that life throws up.

You'll need to dabble in a few things so you can find what is easy or difficult for you. Personally I would prefer a good complex kit where all the bits fit than a cheaper simple one where everything has to be filed and you gradually drift away from correct positions and lose squareness.

DaveB

bordercollie
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Re: Tools

Postby bordercollie » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:18 am

Thanks everyone. I have taken everything on board.
In relation to vices, in an old MRJ 106 the author seems very happy with a brand called Panavice. I think I also read that this brand was recommended somewhere else but I can not remember where. Does anyone have any thoughts?

jasp
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Re: Tools

Postby jasp » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:40 am

I have a short length of “T” slot set into my bench top which allows a quick method of securing things to the bench without clamps, such as a 2” precision vice (from Eileen’s), sawing “vee” and cheap adjustable position vice used with a couple of bits of aluminium angle to extend the jaw length, as required.
I also have a large, very heavy, engineers vice bolted to a bench top in the garage for less precision jobs!
The Panavise looks good, if a little expensive if you don’t know how much use you will get from it.
Jim P

nigelcliffe
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Re: Tools

Postby nigelcliffe » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:20 am

There is an old article (getting on 20 years old) on the 2mm website on files, and the differences between them. It gets a bit technical due to the style of the author, but the stuff in it is still valid and accurate. I agree with Jol - get a few high quality files (don't be surprised at £20+ each!) and look after them. For stuff which destroys files use cheap ones, or sticks of wood with wet&dry paper glued to the stick.

For a vice, the Bergeon small bench vice is amongst the best, but expensive (over £200 when I last checked). There is a clone copy for a fraction of the price (£30-£45 depending on source) which gets very good reports from 2mm scratchbuilders. CooksonGold and Cousins are two sources of jewellery trade tools.
https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/screw ... atchmakers

My favourite for small stuff is an Eclipse instrument maker's vice, but that's long since deleted from sale. I got mine decades ago, and it was a used example.


- Nigel

davebradwell
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Re: Tools

Postby davebradwell » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:55 am

The Panavise would appear to have nylon jaws so will be full of grooves and dents in no time as well as being susceptible to the attentions of a well meaning soldering iron. Also too soft for forming bends. Perhaps there's a version with proper jaws which might stand a chance of gripping a small half-etched component after you've used it for a while. I have already warned about the Chinese clones of the Burgeon vice - inspect the one you are buying as there are duds about. Mine came from Cookson Gold so a reputable supplier is no guarantee.

Something else to avoid while I'm having a run - machine tools with handles that turn the wrong way. Deadly!

Returning to good things - how about non-magnetic tweezers......so you can propel tiny bits to remote corners of the workshop.

DaveB

wakefield
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Re: Tools

Postby wakefield » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:55 pm

One thing I think is worth mentioning if you are starting out building a tool collection is to be sure to store files so that they cannot rub together. This applies to drill bits, taps, milling cutters etc
Any tools with sharp cutting edges. They will blunt over time if this is ignored.
Sorry if I am preaching to the converted but this is just good workshop practice.
Mike.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Tools

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:15 pm

davebradwell wrote:The Panavise would appear to have nylon jaws so will be full of grooves and dents in no time as well as being susceptible to the attentions of a well meaning soldering iron. Also too soft for forming bends. Perhaps there's a version with proper jaws which might stand a chance of gripping a small half-etched component after you've used it for a while. I have already warned about the Chinese clones of the Burgeon vice - inspect the one you are buying as there are duds about. Mine came from Cookson Gold so a reputable supplier is no guarantee.

Something else to avoid while I'm having a run - machine tools with handles that turn the wrong way. Deadly!

Returning to good things - how about non-magnetic tweezers......so you can propel tiny bits to remote corners of the workshop.

DaveB

Dave,

I am interested in the method by which you true up the jaws of your vice. I have a small jewellers vice bought from Eileens ... It is pretty good, but the RHS of the jaws remains slightly open - so it would be good to understand the method by which one could hone it to close perfectly. :thumb
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Tim Lee

andrewnummelin
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Re: Tools - Panavise

Postby andrewnummelin » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:52 pm

The Panavise system consists of many elements for different applications including various interchangeable jaws. https://www.panavise.com/

I have had one for many years and use it whenever the tiny one (illustrated by le Corbusier) is not up to the job (not often!).

I have the standard head 303 with steel, brass, nylon and grooved nylon jaws. If you miss-use them the nylon jaws can be damaged, but they are useful when one does not want to clamp something in a heat sink. I've never found a need to use the brass jaws.

The head normally sits in the 300 base allowing the head to be turned and tilted: sometimes very useful but one does have to do it up very tightly if doing anything other than light work.

The base can be screwed to the bench (it was in our previous house) or can be fitted to a unit (311) that I use now or when away from home.

I also have the vacuum base (380) that will stick to a really flat surface. I've not found this to be of any use as none of the surfaces (laminates, stainless steel) I've ever used are smooth enough to hold the suction for long enough to be useful. I think it might be OK on glass (eg worktop protector), but then one has to secure the glass...

Am I glad I got it? Yes. Does it live up to all the claims? Possibly. If I lost it, would I buy a new one? Only if I could not find something that would clearly better meet my particular needs.
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin

andrewnummelin
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Re: Tools - lighting

Postby andrewnummelin » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:12 pm

I would suggest that you do not skimp on lighting. It's much easier than in the past as many decent suppliers will now give actual light output rather than electricity consumption. Also information on colour temperature can be valuable.

It's interesting to do a few searches to see what the recommendations are for different activities but I've generally found that for the sort of work we do, the recommendation is 1500-2000 lux (lumens per square metre) that is much brighter than most desk lamps. (Daylight, not direct sun, is several times brighter.)

My old adjustable fluorescent lamp recently gave up the ghost and I've bought a "daylight" led adjustable lamp with two bars - around 60cm wide when fully extended - very broad spread so negligible shadowing. It is quoted to give around 2000 lux at 30cm and I've found it to be a huge improvement on what I had in the past.
DSC04788.JPG
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin

jasp
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Re: Tools

Postby jasp » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:00 pm

Andrew
That looks really interesting.
Can you please advise where you got it?
Thanks
Jim P

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Tim V
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Re: Tools

Postby Tim V » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:48 pm

Andrew

That soldering iron is awfully close to that curtain.

The only specialist tools I've found to be really useful: the GW wheel press, and the EMGS or Comet (I think do them) frame spacer jigs.

I couldn't get on with the Panavice, but do have a Burgeon clone vice. However, any vice can do, but check the jaws close properly.

Measuring tools are a must, but I've found that those cheap electronic callipers eat batteries, a manual one is always ready for use!
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

davebradwell
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Re: Tools

Postby davebradwell » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:20 pm

Tim, you're in for a difficult time with your little vice. First thing is to get the steel jaws off after removing sliding part and the screws are very tight and not very hard - I think I used an impact driver. Clean all crud and burrs from behind jaws and deburr all holes with larger drill twiddled in fingers. Mine had a fillet in rebate that jaw sits in so was removed with files and scraper. Check jaws are parallel and flat, ideally using a very thin smear of engineers' blue on one, push together and see from pattern on other jaw where they aren't touching. If no blue on hand then try holding them up to a light and looking for chinks. If they don't touch almost all over then that's a problem. If ok try re-assembly and repeat test. If no use try swapping jaws round. After that it's either trying to shim a jaw at one side or attacking the castings to get an improvement but this is really a skilled fitting job - more blue - and haste will just produce a rounded surface with the jaw balanced on the front. The castings really need re-machining but I couldn't find an obvious datum on both bits of the slide so didn't risk making them worse.

Mine's still not right and I ended up wishing I'd coughed up the £200 for a proper one. I have seen a good Chinese one, however but 3 duds now.

DaveB

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Tools

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:46 pm

davebradwell wrote:Tim, you're in for a difficult time with your little vice. First thing is to get the steel jaws off after removing sliding part and the screws are very tight and not very hard - I think I used an impact driver. Clean all crud and burrs from behind jaws and deburr all holes with larger drill twiddled in fingers. Mine had a fillet in rebate that jaw sits in so was removed with files and scraper. Check jaws are parallel and flat, ideally using a very thin smear of engineers' blue on one, push together and see from pattern on other jaw where they aren't touching. If no blue on hand then try holding them up to a light and looking for chinks. If they don't touch almost all over then that's a problem. If ok try re-assembly and repeat test. If no use try swapping jaws round. After that it's either trying to shim a jaw at one side or attacking the castings to get an improvement but this is really a skilled fitting job - more blue - and haste will just produce a rounded surface with the jaw balanced on the front. The castings really need re-machining but I couldn't find an obvious datum on both bits of the slide so didn't risk making them worse.

Mine's still not right and I ended up wishing I'd coughed up the £200 for a proper one. I have seen a good Chinese one, however but 3 duds now.

DaveB

when building engines and wanting to mate surfaces I have used very fine wet and dry followed by grinding paste very carefully and gently honed on a piece of glass .... but I am concerned that in this case it may well not be about the faces having high spots but more that one or other might run out a bit. I have found using some cigarette paper at the guilty end improves things quite acceptably .... so perhaps discretion is the better part of valour in this case :?
Tim Lee

davebradwell
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Re: Tools

Postby davebradwell » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:01 pm

If you put the fag paper behind the offending jaw then the job is permanent - you gave the impression that the error was greater. The general deburring is worth doing and may well sort things out.

DaveB


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