Styrene

For discussion of the issues faced when building a model or layout - how to replicate wood, what glues to use, exactly how much weathering can a Gnat take, a good source of detailing accessories - you get the picture, I'm sure.

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kf4mat
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Styrene

Postby kf4mat » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:06 pm

Having no local hobby shops in any reasonable driving distance, heck maybe even in unreasonable driving distance for all I know, I'm stuck for getting supplies. While the internet is fine, it would be really nice to be able to pick up something and get to use it while not waiting for the mail.

I was in the local DIY, which I will call LowesDepot, and found the For Sale signs and such. It appears to be styrene, does anybody ever use things like this for model building?

I picked one up, not sure how thick it is. I guess I could purchase a caliper and find out but if it's too thin I could laminate it. Sad state of affairs here for model shops but I guess we have to make the best of it. Now to find a suitable beginners project. Hope it works out.

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Postby rockershovel » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:26 am

laminating styrene can be done, bit it isn't easy.

Plywood and similar laminates work by using glues which adhere to the surface and bond the layers together, styrene glues work by dissolving the substance itself - welding it, so to speak.
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Postby PeterH » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:07 am

Card (& plywood maybe) will take you a long way. There have been many earlier threads on gnatterbox about card, and the 2007 card challenge.

I find card easy to use & fast to glue with PVA. Only problem is that small bits sometimes delaminate when you glue them.
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Postby michael » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:04 am

Tom, have a look ar some of the work that Dieselwater has done with all sorts of found and salvaged materials.

As Peter has mentioned card is a very easy material to work with, and it glues really easily with PVA glues (white or Carpenters)

As far as plastics go there are a lot of plastic containers that can be used for model work .

If solvent type glues are difficult to find then you can use some of the cynoacrylate glues Krazy glue is one that I used a lot at one time. I think that you will find that CD jewel cases are styrene. but I might be wrong on that one.

Card is hard to beat as a starting material.

Image

Image

This one is on a Percy chassis

Image
and painted with simple watercolours

Image

This one by "Dieselwater" David in Taiwan


Image

and a few more by David as well

Image

or you could go this route
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=3823

Hope this helps.
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Postby mad gerald » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:08 am

... and here's another card board prototype built by me ...

Image

... and this was my (card board) entrance into Gn15 ...

Image

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Postby KEG » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:24 am

It does nor really make sense, to propose the use of cardboard or plywood, if somebody is asking for sources of styrene. Polystyrol, we call it in Germany.

It is helpful to have a selection of materials ready. But most mail order firms have a fast service these days. If I order today (by telephone) , the goods are in the mail the next day most of the time.

For styrene and plastic profiles, I check at the shops for architectural modelling supplies. They have a huge choice.

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Styrene

Postby Bilco » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:37 am

Hi Tom,

This question was asked on the Model Railroader forum about 4 years ago http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/p/64253/791366.aspx and the consensus then was that Wal-Mart For Sale signs were a great source.
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Postby michael » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:07 pm

Juergen, I got the impression and could be wrong that Tom was not sure if the material was styrene.

For styrene and plastic profiles, I check at the shops for architectural modeling supplies. They have a huge choice.

Have Fun


I also got the distinct impression that there was no local model supply shop.

Often the various plastics that one finds in other types of stores are not polystyrene, and are also often coated with various inks or paints.

while waiting for some mail order...... North America can be quite a bit slower than Europe sometimes depending on where you live. and so offering some alternatives while waiting was done in the spirit of being helpful even if misplaced. The basic cutting and assembly of card is very similar to sheet plastic unless one gets into compound curves.

Kindest regards Michael
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Postby trefor » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:20 pm

The basic cutting and assembly of card is very similar to sheet plastic unless one gets into compound curves.


I can't help Tom as I don't know very much aboiut the various types of plastics I'm afraid.

However I must admit that I hadn't really thought of using card until I saw some of the work on this forum, including yours Michael. I must admit that I was amazed at the results obtained and I'm planning to have a go at modelling with card for some of the vehicles on new members new project in the near future.
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Postby kf4mat » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:09 am

Well as it turns out I don't really mind the suggestion to look at other materials.

Take for instance the former Percy chassis... If you would have shown me the last photo first and asked me to say what it was made of, I never would have guessed it started life as a Kelloggs box. The other card loco's are equally as impressive to me.

The problem I seem to have is not knowing any local modellers. It seems that people in this neck of the woods like Lionel which too me is a waste of time. I know a lot of people (I guess) here in the US like 3-rail fake trains but I'm just not one of them. Just yesterday I drove 65 miles to a quote, Train and Hobby Store, unquote, to find out it was nothing but Lionel crap..... I was not very happy to say the least.

Now that said what weights of card stock should one start collecting? I see Michael used thin box material but what other types were used on the other loco's? I picked up a booklet of Strathmore 100lb today while getting some polyclay at the art store.

I've only made one model in my life so I have nothing but questions so I don't mean to be a pain in the butt.

Here is my one model:

[url]http://i645.photobucket.com/albums/uu172/kf4mat/DSC00366.jpg

[/url]
http://i645.photobucket.com/albums/uu172/kf4mat/DSC00367.jpg

kf4mat
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Postby kf4mat » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:43 am

What happened to my reply???? Guess I'll try it again.

Well as it turns out I don't really mind the suggestion to look at other materials.

Take for instance the former Percy chassis... If you would have shown me the last photo first and asked me to say what it was made of, I never would have guessed it started life as a Kelloggs box. The other card loco's are equally as impressive to me.

The problem I seem to have is not knowing any local modellers. It seems that people in this neck of the woods like Lionel which too me is a waste of time. I know a lot of people (I guess) here in the US like 3-rail fake trains but I'm just not one of them. Just yesterday I drove 65 miles to a quote, Train and Hobby Store, unquote, to find out it was nothing but Lionel crap..... I was not very happy to say the least.

Now that said what weights of card stock should one start collecting? I see Michael used thin box material but what other types were used on the other loco's? I picked up a booklet of Strathmore 100lb today while getting some polyclay at the art store.

I've only made one model in my life so I have nothing but questions so I don't mean to be a pain in the butt.

Here is my one model:
Image

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Postby michael » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:50 am

Hi Tom, sorry to hear about your disappointing trip, I have done that sort of trip myself.

Now that said what weights of card stock should one start collecting?


Tom there are all sorts of displays that are put up at retail stores that are for promotions these are usually fairly short lived in the store and are a good source. As far as the thickness goes try to get as wide variety as you can, you don't need a large volume, just a wide variety of cards.

If you have a picture framing shop locally ask them for some of the scraps that are really too small for framing, this card is pretty high quality, you can even buy a sheet and get them to cut it in half or into a quarter which makes it much easier to handle and deal with.

I use an old concertina file box to hold different thicknesses of card in, and even very small bits get saved until I am overflowing then cull the smaller bits and keep the larger ones.

I have found that different types of packaging supplies very different grades of card. Boxes of tea have a pretty fine grained hard card whilst Kellogs Cornflakes boxes are coarse. Some Pizza boxes are really tough as well. When gluing the printed package type cards together to form thicker stock I use some fine sandpaper to scratch up the inked side.

If you can purchase a simple dial caliper it is really useful for testing the thickness of not just card but all sorts of materials and things.

The great thing with working with inexpensive supplies is that when you make mistakes there is no difficulty in making a new one without breaking the bank.

When working with corrugated card it is a good idea also to cross laminate the card which helps to prevent warping.

I just measured the thickness of the different cards that I used on the simple ton side dings and they are:
for the sheets that covered the foam picture framing matt board card .053 inches or 1.3mm
the white card on the surface .031 inches or 1/32nd of and inch or .78mm
and further a Mcain Pizza box is .015 inches just a hair ove 1/64th of an inch or .45mm
A pepsi cola box .015 inches
A manilla file folder is .010 inches or .25mm
A generic kleenex box .014 inches or .37mm
The back cover of a Robert Bateman sketch book .062 inches or 1/16th of an inch or 1.56 mm
The back cover of an Omni sketchbook .080 inches or 2.04 mm

These are as close a measurement that I could get with the different calipers that I have, so if anyone does the mathematical conversions then these might change very slightly but not enough to worry about.

working with card is not precision engineering but the general thicknesses are fairly consistent.

I find that the matt board about as heavy as I like to cut with a Number 11 exacto or equivalent blade, I am fortunate in that I found a perfectly good paper cutter at the dump...go figure!

A paper crimper is great for making corrugated sheets.

The final choice of thicknesses will really be your own preference in what you feel comfortable cutting.

I hope this is useful.
Regards Michael

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Postby dieselwater » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:10 am

Hi Tom,

With modelling the materials are all around you. I have used styrene from time to time. But for almost no cost and flexibility, I use cornflake or tea boxes for most of my critters. I cut the sheets into the appropriate sized panels and then use coffee sir sticks to form the main structure. I tend to use UHU, PVA and superglue. Find a suitable chassis/ motor unit and have a play with what you can build around it.

Here's some pics of "Orange 1" highlighting the construction phases. Note you can combine card with lots of other materials. I use a lot of bits n bobs from my scrap box to produce for example engine, control and lighting details.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Little old lines to somewhere.

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Postby chris krupa » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:57 am

One of the non traditional sources for styrene over here is the clear sheets of plastic sold for home double glazing. Approximately 3ft x 2ft and about 2mm thick, these clear sheets have a removable sheet of polythene on either side which is printed in blue with a grid pattern. This type of styrene can be used for the construction of buildings (they are a bit too thick for finer modelling). Most DIY places sell them. Another source is some yogurt tubs. Indeed, the main commercial use for white polystrene is the vacuum forming industry so it is worth checking out any vac formed item that is not made from clear plastic as that tends not to be styrene.

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Postby KEG » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:27 am

I found a larger pile of 1mm styrene sheets for free at a car shop some years ago. They were hanging inside the cars at the mirror and have technical data and prices printed in them.

To find out, if it is styrene, (Polystyrol) I simply brush styrene glue on it.
If the glue softens the material, it is styrene, if not, it is some other plastic and I have to look for some other suitable glue.

Regarding cardboard, I am quite happy most of the time with the thickness, they print business cards on. I always have a few sheets in different colours laying around.

As a matter of fact, I very often got to the next Copy Shop and use their laser printer, to print out downloads from the net. They have a choice of different cardboard. Most of the times the prints are better and cheaper than on my home ink printer.

Image

This is a scanned reprint from a cardboard kit from the early Fifties, mouinted on a Magic train chassis. I used Steve Bennett chassi for the wagons and tender.

In some cases, it makes sense to seal or varnish the cardboard with suitable materials, before applying paint. A cheap way of practising to work with card board, is to find some of the many cardboard printies of boxes in this forum and assemble them.

Image



Have Fun

Juergen

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Postby daddyharry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:41 pm

AGnother source for plastic sheets can be signmakers or companys like that. They use all kinds of plastic, clear, coloured, opaque,...
Just ask, very often you´ll get a hand- (or bag)full with a "try your luck".

I wanted to make a mould for my motorcycle rear light (three pieces stuck together), got the colours I needed and some white sheet for testing...
Guess what...
It´s still in the box...

regards Harald

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Postby Richard Morton » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:01 am

Hello Tom welcome to the forum. Just thought I would pop in here and let you know, I have just opened my shop it's a digital print/vehicle wrap and sign shop all cobbled together in 3000 sq ft and as I progress I'll be saving up scraps of this and that, that I'll part with for the shipping fees.
The bit's and bobs will be acrylic, Foam core, Gator board, vinyl even card stock of various thickness. Chances are it'll be 1/4 -1/2 lb packs of mixed stuff, and before anyone asks yes I'll be pleased to print backgrounds for members. My one printer is the new HP latex L25500 60" wide format printer anyway I'll keep people posted as to how my scrap pile is building ok :)

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Postby foswaldy13 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:32 pm

Richard, The background printing sounds like a great idea.
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Postby kf4mat » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:54 pm

Richard Morton wrote:Hello Tom welcome to the forum. Just thought I would pop in here and let you know, I have just opened my shop it's a digital print/vehicle wrap and sign shop all cobbled together in 3000 sq ft and as I progress I'll be saving up scraps of this and that, that I'll part with for the shipping fees.
The bit's and bobs will be acrylic, Foam core, Gator board, vinyl even card stock of various thickness. Chances are it'll be 1/4 -1/2 lb packs of mixed stuff, and before anyone asks yes I'll be pleased to print backgrounds for members. My one printer is the new HP latex L25500 60" wide format printer anyway I'll keep people posted as to how my scrap pile is building ok :)


Thanks for the welcome!

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Postby John New » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:13 pm

Recycling card and other scrap is always good.

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