Hold and Fold IV 4" Photo-Etch Bending Tool
The Small Shop - Available from Little-cars.com
Although Photo-Etch (PE) metal scares the willies out of some modellers, most of us eventually come to grips with it at some point in our careers. Whether we learn to love it or not is moot, but when handling this relatively new addition to our modelling arsenal, the correct tools for the job will ease your way immensely.
Some simple jobs can be accomplished using only flat-jawed pliers or tweezers, but for a really crisp fold, and for those complex folds, you need one of these devices to hold your part in position while you bend it.
The device is simple, but has been machined to very close tolerances to ensure that the two halves mate together perfectly when closed. The top part with the "fingers" is machined from aluminium billet, with a large hard plastic knurled knob holding it in place on the black base. This is anodised aluminium, and the black surface helps to pick out tiny parts against the background, and differentiates between the two parts. Two pegs protrude from the base, holding the top perfectly square with the base, and ensuring that the top doesn't rotate as you tighten up the knob.
I've been using this for some weeks now, and am very pleased with its performance. It is pretty compact, measuring only 4" x 3" (10 x 7.5cm), and the edges of each finger are incredibly sharply milled. The tops of the fingers are milled away to allow bending over the usual 90o to be achieved, as brass can need over-bending to achieve a right-angle bend.
Removing the top and rotating it 180o allows the modeller to use the whole rear of the top as a surface against which to bend large or long parts. To assist in this task is a long single edged blade, which although sharp enough to cut you, isn't razor-blade sharp. It doesn't need to be either, as its function is that of a bend assistant. You simply slide it under the trapped piece of PE and lever it up to start the bending process. Of course, you can also use a single-edged razor blade for smaller tasks, but having the option of this 4" blade is an excellent addition.
It is an expensive piece of kit when you look at the size, but its usefulness and the cost of its precision manufacture soon offsets the initial outlay, and the improved finish of your PE and fewer screw-ups will pay you back in good time.
Paul at Little-cars usually has this and other sizes of Hold and Folds in stock for UK and European customers, and can be reached by the link below.