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Greetings Everyone,

I haven't been on the site seriously for some time and am getting used to the new look...so far so good.  Oh...by the way...Happy New Year!!

I would like to delve into the world of scratchbuilding structures and rolling stock soon and would like to know what kinds of tools, both power and hand tools are a wise investment.  What do you use in your scratchbuiding projects?  I have the basic circular saw, cordless drill and even a Dremel tool, but would like to know what else is necessary.

I appreciate any suggestions you have.

Richard
 

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The one power tool I probably use the most is the miter saw for cutting lengths of scale lumber (wrapped up in bundles with blue painters tape). Most of what I do is done with hand tools and the dremel.
Hand tools
Hack saw with fine tooth blades
Exacto knife set with many sharp blades
Cutting mats
Razor saws and miter box
small file set
large file
brass brushes
Jeweler's screwdriver set
various small clamps
hemostats
forceps/tweezers
dental picks/scribers
tack hammer
flush cut nippers
small scissors
soldering irons / torch
small square
Pin vise and bits
post it note pad, tooth picks and craft sticks for glues
small disposable cups

That's most of the stuff in my modeling tool box (not including painting tools and supplies)

-Brian
 

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Boy could this answer get EXPENSIVE!!! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif

Brian's list above gives you a good head start.

Some of the answer depends on the types of materials you're planning on working with.

On the power side...
A drill press...hand drills serve there purpose, but for accurate, square, and repetitive drilling the drill press makes things much easier.

An Air compressor...covers both painting and opens the world of air-driven tools to you. In the realm of structural assembly for out of doors buildings...a brad nailer and/or air pinner...on the painting side air brushes...on the metal working side air-driven die grinder.

A MIG welder...if you're doing more modern bridge building, and you would like to use steel rather than simulate it with wood.

Maybe a small modeling sized table saw (i.e. 4" blade)...you didn't mention the size of the table saw you currently have...while a large table saw can be used for model work especially in large-scale...when you get down to some of the finer areas it gets to be impractical...depends to a large extent on one's skill and knowledge level. If you're using you're table saw...if you don't already have a zero-clearance throat plate either buy or make one...you'll never have any success in cutting scale sized lumber without one...in the arena of scale lumber on a large sized table saw MLS member dawgnabbit (Steve Seitel) a couple years back posted about a scale lumber saw-mill fixture that he built for use on a large type saw the link follows...the link is direct to the last reply on the first page of a four page topic if you look over the other pages I believe that you'll find links to measured drawings that Dawg made available...maybe Dawg's fixture will allow you to get more mileage out of your large saw and stave off any investment in a small one.
Steve's - Scale Lumber Fixture


In metal work...again it depends a lot on what you're looking to do...but a metal turning lathe and milling machine aren't unheard of...now on the type, brand, and size you should get...well the answers you'll get will vary all over the spectrum of what's available...and then there's the question of manual or numerical control (computer controlled).

Well that should take care of all the proposed "Tax Rebate" check and then some. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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I would advise in addition to razor saws a hand held fret or coping saw with a lot of spare blades plus a good steel straight edge and the best quality drill bits you can get.
Best of luck it is great fun
Bunny
 

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Lets see: I have a zona saw, zona pin vice, a pair of "anvil" pruners, a couple x-acto knives, tiny pliers and side cutters, ruler (most important), a funny looking "mitre box," some small screwdrivers, none of them sonic, a slobbering iron, and a sack of spring clamps I got for $5 from Menards. I've added to those over the years, most recently a 4 1/2 inch vice from Menards for like $12 and a small electric drill.

In William's garage in Macomb, I have a little drill press and some other odds and ends. Oh, yes, and this 35 year-old dremel.
 

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I could not get by without my overpriced Micro Mark tilt arbor mini table saw.

Craig
 

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Brian's list is a great start for hand tools. In terms of power tools, there are two that are indispensable in the workshop:

1) Band Saw - This can do anything a miniature table saw can do, and also cut curves, small details, etc. Generally a benchtop model will work, but if you have the space, a large one with a 10 to 12" throat (distance between the blade and the housing through which the blade returns) is better. A miniature table saw is a great second saw--and mine actually gets quite a bit of use for cutting lumber to size, but there's no way I could do detail/shape cuts on it.

2) Belt/disk sander. Again, it doesn't have to be terribly large. I've got a small Craftsman sander (1" side belt, 6" disk), and that's adequate for 99% of what I ask it to do.

As was mentioned above, a drill press comes in 3rd on the "must have" power tool list, but is not immediately essential. I went a year without setting mine up when we first moved out to Colorado.

I don't know if your Dremel is cordless or not, but a cordless Dremel tool is VERY handy. Get an adjustable chuck for it, so you can mount tiny drill bits in it. Not having to run an extension cord out to the railroad for maintenance is a very handy convenience.

Later,

K
 

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Richard,
You have received some great info already so I'll focus on some specifics. Go to Harbor Freight and pick up the 115 pc. drill bit set. The set includes numbered drill bits #1-60, all the letter bits and fractional sizes 1/16" through 1/2". I have been using this set for a couple years now and am impressed with how they have held up. While at Harbor Freight you can also get a small plier set, small detail brush set, clamps(you can never have too many!!) and a small file set. Then go to Michael's Craft store or to Roy's Trains and get your Xacto knife, razor saw and miter box. Check their jewelry making section for pliers. I found a pair for bending loops that I love. You should also pick up glue such as gap filling CA glue and a rubber cement type such as Walther's Goo.

I would also recommend getting a GOOD pin vise. I have several and my favorite has a round ball handle with ball bearings. I have also bought cheap ones from tool dealers at shows and that can bite you sometimes. One pin vise I bought had the chuck cut at an angle, so I can't use that chuck as it won't hold the bit straight.

Hope this helps some and if you need any more help with finding things locally let me know.

Steve
 

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Posted By rsmproductions on 01/26/2008 8:33 PM
Greetings Everyone,

I haven't been on the site seriously for some time and am getting used to the new look...so far so good.  Oh...by the way...Happy New Year!!

I would like to delve into the world of scratchbuilding structures and rolling stock soon and would like to know what kinds of tools, both power and hand tools are a wise investment.  What do you use in your scratchbuiding projects?  I have the basic circular saw, cordless drill and even a Dremel tool, but would like to know what else is necessary.

I appreciate any suggestions you have.

Richard


I have a band saw..use it little...I have a combo sander, disc/belt by Sears....use it alot!!!;)

Here is a site devoted to modlers..called Micro-Mark...is it cheap...NO, but you can see what you need here and look at stores like Harbor freight to see if they have simular items...which if they do the tools will be WAYYY cheaper!  (see next link)

http://www.micromark.com/freecat/mmfreecat.html

This next link, AT Micro-Mark has proved itself to be my MOST useful tool!;)  Cuts plastic or wood metal...no./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif

http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=50348


As far as have to have OTHER tools:       (In addition to Altterain's suggestions)
 
Pin vice      for using hand controlled drilling
Dremel       set of small bits
Dremel       kit the more you have the better...ie cut off wheels
Hand clamps    if you glue ..med to small that are used for holding wood while it dries...check Lowes for the rubber tipped ones.
Tape various kinds....white, blue,and purple various sizes for various jobs.
Measuring devices   various sizes 
Vice    very small, for small work, larger one for BIG work, (latter is optional)
Clamps    various sizes...very small to med to large 
Files    I have found that SOME hobby shops carry med sized boards that look like oversized nail files in various grits.
              (for scratch building I have found that these come in vary handy)
Sand paper    600 grit or higher wet/dry sand paper, but don't forget the lower grit for taking off large amounts of "stuff"
Clothes pins    wrap a rubber band around them to give them MORE pressure for holding
Glues        Various super glues for various jobs, Emblem glue (bought at NAPA auto stores)
Epoxy (5 minute)      this is also one of my best tool for modeling..even with its "5" minute claim, still takes a long time to cure   
Tooth pics   flat and round, stored in salt shakers, for easy removal 
Q tips  for  what you don't think would need them for
Reserves minimum of 4-5 OR MORE deep of any paint inks, glues, files, etc ANYTHING that when out would hamper you doing a project 
                   when the "mood struck"....usually doing a project when the "mood strikes" is the BEST time to do so...as that time is the time when 
                   the "best" work is produced! 
Paints     water based AND oil based...water base clean up better in the airbrush!  Dull Cote..( I usually have this 25 deep, as I use alot of it)
Thinners    Large containers of laquer , paint, mineral spirits
Compressor   for painting..(rattle cans don't give a "realistic" appearance when used for weathering), I don't follow the 10' rule!
Double Action airbrush    makes painting dust on a project look more realistic 
Single Action Airbrush     for spraying  large areas that looking "realistic" isn't  a priority
Chalk  various kinds    I use the sticks used for drawing sold at Michaels....I also  find that storing your chalk in very large sized containers so 
                                          that you can actually chalk your whatever in helps to keep the over dusting contained in the very large container and 
                                          you can keep each color you use seperate, and the containers are stackable..( won't work if space is an issue) 
Pigments'    they usually stick better then the average garden variety chalk     (when using Dull-cote chalks tend to "dissappear" more then pigments)
Brushes       for applying the chalk, they can be left inside the container.
Spray Booth     for venting fumes outside to keep from inhaling toxic fumes and to keep chalk from setting ALL OVER EVERYTHING!!! 
                            (chalk is soo fine that it will cover places that you can't even see! EVERYWHERE) 
Paper plates    for mixing paints etc..in various sizes from bowels to small paper pie plates
Turkey pans (large)     If you use an alcohol bath to weather your trains I find that these are SUPER for catching the overspill so it can be 
                                          poured back into the india ink solution container.
Bins         Walmart sell various sized hinged top containers to store any parts, supplies....what ever it is that you would have to have on hand
                 in an orderly fashion, so you don't tear  your shop apart finding what you need!;)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif  
Hemostats      can't say enough about them, I use them for everything!      Remember the days when they were used for OTHER things then modeling??????? (the good OLE days)


Note:
Dull-Cote is the only clear sealant that I have found that gives me that whitish dirty look upon evaporating...as seen on every road  weary steam locomotive...I have tried them all....if that is the look you are looking for........if not never mind!  As Mac would say "I likum dirty"


I find all these tools mentioned help me turn out what I feel are quality projects...although this statement is subjective to other's!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

 Keep your eyes open as you can find things that you can use when you arn't even looking for something!;) :D:)   
Hope this helps!:);)

Bubba

Thanks for whoever fixed my crookedness.:) 
 

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This can do anything a miniature table saw can do
I'd disagree with this one. Attempting to rip scale stripwood has been impossible for me on a bandsaw due to the blade walking. Perhaps it's the bandsaw I have (small Craftsman benchtop bandsaw) or the blade I'm trying to use. OTOH, using my Micro-Mark tilt arbor table saw, I can easily rip a scale 1" wide (0.050) strip. The tilt arbor tablesaw is overpriced imho, but like all specialized tools, it only needs to be purchased once. Well worth the money imho if you plan to cut lots of scale wood.

Something else I'd recommend from Micro-Mark are their scalpels.  Far sharper than X-Acto knives and a real pleasure to use.  I haven't used an X-Acto knife in years.
 

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I have found the MicroLux tools extremely useful.

While I have several Dremel, including a cordless, even at low speed, it is way too fast for working with styrene.   The Microlux drill has a nice slow speed - or fast when cutting through brass.    I have put a #70 bit in there - all the way up to 1/4".   I REALLY like this tool.


The mini belt sander is wonderful.   It's small enough to be able to easily control.   This one also gets used a lot.


I also like the little scroll saw.   I use it to cut out window openings.


All of these tools require a transformer.

I chose the heavy duty one to allow me to have multiple tools plugged in at the same time.    The dial on the right controls the speed of the tools.  


They are not cheap, but this set of tools has been extremely useful in scratchbuilding rolling stock and buildings.  
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Everyone,

Wow!!  Thanks for all of the great suggestions and sharing your tool arsenal...I'm still processing all of the great information that you've shared.  My credit card is already warm and I haven't even used it yet.

This is why I love this so much.

Richard
 

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I use my 14 inch bandsaw for all of my scale wood cutting. I'm using a 1/2 inch blade for most of the cutting so I get very little drift. On the other hand, I hate my 8 inch benchtop model. That thing couldn't cut straight to save it's soul if it had one. I have been buying 3/4 inch basswood and redwood fence boards for buildings and cars.

Glen
 

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I purchased my combo sander and benchtop band saw, and benchtop drill press when Sears had one of their sales.

I have to use the band saw sparingly...because the blade walks!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif  That sucks!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

I bought it for making specific cuts...NOT!

It walks soo much it is almost useless except for quick cuts!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/angry.gif


Is there a secret to cutting with it?   I try slow cuts....adjusting the blade...nothing seems to work!


Would appreciate ANY helpful hints!  Might add my combo sander works AWESOME!!!

Bubba 

 
 

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Bruce has cute tools.
 

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I'll second Bruce's recommendation for miniature tools. I've got the Minicraft system, which is similar to the Micro-Lux system. I actually don't have all the fancy accessories, but I do keep two drills plugged into it. This reduces the need to keep switching bits back and forth for this purpose or that. Typically, I'll have two drill bits loaded--one clearance, and one tap. I'll have to keep my eyes open for a jig saw for mine. Never thought of using it to cut window openings, but boy I can see how it would be quite useful for that.

Later,

K
 

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i will add my 2 cents worth, move next to a niehbor who has every wood working and any other tool available, just go over and ask to borrow ;) i have a buddy 2 doors down that has every tool, why buy ? /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

tom h
 
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