Modeling in General
General discussions about modeling topics.
Getting started with photo etch
Visit this Community
Texas, United States
Member Since: May 14, 2012
entire network: 493 Posts
KitMaker Network: 133 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - 05:15 AM UTC
I have my first photo etch set in the mail on its way to me now. I've been looking around at bending tools, and there's plenty of discussion around specific tools, and reviews of specific tools. But more broadly that that, my question is this:

For armor modeling, is there a recommend set of tools, bender, cutters that people recommend/prefer? It seems like there are 100 different "systems" of answer this question, but curious to hear some ideas.

Visit this Community
Vermont, United States
Member Since: July 21, 2002
entire network: 3,569 Posts
KitMaker Network: 684 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - 07:39 AM UTC
Four recommendations

1 Xuron cutters designed for PE
Clear cuts, sharp, no slip/side to side slop in the cutting action. a well made tool worth the $$

2 Tamiya Diamond dust imprenated file for cleaning up the small nubs left even by the xuron cutters. not cheap, but also worth the $$

3 Gator Glue
Pe to Pe or PE to kit plastic, the stuff works. Good shear strength unlike superglues/CA, water cleanup, no degredation over time like some CA

Eventually you will want to explore soldering PE to PE, but gator glue will get you started. Check out the model shiprights section of kitmaker, the mfg hangs out over there.
Dont get it shipped to Canada in the winter..

4 Bending tool
I use the hold and fold as I like the scored line in the base just in front of the clamp portion that the razor blade drops into for a cleaner fold, but there are lots of models out there.
You can use a set of craft store flat jawed pliers or a ruler or a pair of razor blades for a long time, but eventually you will want/need a bending tool

Welcome to the insanity of PE, remember you do not HAVE to use every part in every set!

Visit this Community
Wisconsin, United States
Member Since: July 29, 2010
entire network: 662 Posts
KitMaker Network: 120 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - 10:00 AM UTC
first and foremost, dont let it beat you.

i use a normal razor knife and a file to remove and clean the parts. i use the small "bug" hold and fold tool as the bending tool. all around, it will work for the common pieces. runs about 30-40 USD i believe.

PE, depending on what you are actually doing, is fairly simple. you have to be patient and think out how you are going to do the complicated pieces, ahead of time. too many bends will eventually break it. prepare yourself ahead of time to not lose parts. since most parts are small, if you are not overly careful, you will lose pieces. using a sticky note or something with light adhesive will help you put your already bent PE together if your parts need to be joined.

good luck and dont let it discourage you. once you get the hang of it, its actually quite fun
Visit this Community
Maryland, United States
Member Since: April 18, 2006
entire network: 1,794 Posts
KitMaker Network: 304 Posts
Posted: Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 02:16 AM UTC
PE can be complicated (and frustrating at times) to work with but, with the right tools, you'll enjoy working with it.

I have these sets (each from the Small shop):





Of course, you don't need all of the things I listed but I now think back and I don't know how I did without some of these. They are great and, in the case of the Small Shop, their products are of extremely high quality.


Visit this Community
Limburg, Netherlands
Member Since: November 18, 2003
entire network: 894 Posts
KitMaker Network: 127 Posts
Posted: Saturday, June 09, 2012 - 03:50 AM UTC
There are a number of specific tools for PE, I have an Hold & Fold myself, but I must admit that I bend 99% of my PE with a set plyers, or when there are ridges etched in the part already I just use only my hands. Heating the PE with a flame from a candle will make the parts much more easy to bend. (don't use the kitchen stove, it will burn smaal parts)

just my 2 cents..

Visit this Community
Arkansas, United States
Member Since: June 29, 2009
entire network: 11,610 Posts
KitMaker Network: 3,657 Posts
Posted: Saturday, June 09, 2012 - 04:01 AM UTC
Bending Tool: two straight razors; unless you have a large fold to make razor blades are your bending friend
Cutting: a sharp #11 blade; you run the risk of bending the piece with shears
Deburring Tool: #11 razor blade
Glue: extra thing ca glue, while not as strong a bond as soldering ca glue works very well; apply with a thin piece of wire
Rolling: drill bits
When it comes to pe, you have no need to blow all your money on expensive tools.
Visit this Community
United States
Member Since: December 28, 2011
entire network: 36 Posts
KitMaker Network: 21 Posts
Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 07:21 AM UTC
I agree with Mike! I bought a PE set for a 1/72 Hellcat, and some of those buttons and levers for the dash are just too darn small to be fun!
Visit this Community
Kentucky, United States
Member Since: May 27, 2007
entire network: 327 Posts
KitMaker Network: 50 Posts
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 12:22 AM UTC
I agree with Matt but I do own the Ausfwerks Design fenderbender.Its 7 3/4 in.long great for those long bends.I dont think they make it any more.I would not part with mine.Also read up on it
Visit this Community
United States
Member Since: May 04, 2012
entire network: 4 Posts
KitMaker Network: 3 Posts
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 09:57 AM UTC
I'm in the same boat. I just started working with PE. If the Hellcat has a lot of PE parts, you may want to put it aside and pick something easier. RS models has a couple of kits with relatively small amounts of PE. I am starting with the RS 1/72 scale Arado 76.
Before starting I read a lot of PE articles on the forums. That helped, but also added to the confusion. There are lots of different methods. Some use more specific purpose tools than others.
One of the things you have to consider is how committed you are going to be. This will determine how much you invest in tools. Since my goal is to eventually make some WW I planes like the Encore McCudden SE-5a, I went to the Small Shop, got the Bug, a basic rolling set, and the cutting board. This hasn't stopped me from making mistakes, (neither did the forum articles), but helped ward off lots of frustration, and maybe saying the heck with PE altogether.
There is no substitute for actually sitting down and trying to cut and bend some PE. Once you do that, all the articles will start making much more sense. Also, the anxiety of starting something new and demanding will lessen greatly.
Visit this Community
Kentucky, United States
Member Since: May 27, 2007
entire network: 327 Posts
KitMaker Network: 50 Posts
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 04:24 PM UTC
How very true
Visit this Community
Nevada, United States
Member Since: February 12, 2012
entire network: 1,083 Posts
KitMaker Network: 40 Posts
Posted: Saturday, July 07, 2012 - 04:36 PM UTC
I'm new to modeling and photo-etch as well. However, I can recommend some of the things that others have suggested, which includes the Xuron PE cutter, and 2 items from the Small Shop, one of the bending tools (I have the 4" Hold and Fold), and the Bending and Rolling Assist set. As I wrote, I'm new at this, but I use all 3 of these tools all the time. Highly recommended!

If you want details of what I do and how I've used them, feel free to PM me.