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Home made plastic strut


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Humor apart,¬†ūüėĬ†I've just tried Slater's¬†hard red plastic rod and this is much more rigid than normal styrene strip. I've reduced a piece of their 50 thou round rod to a teardrop section of 50 thou by 30 thou around 5"¬†in length mainly by working from one side in minutes.

 

John

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That's a brilliant tip John, thank you so much for sharing it here. 

We still all learn at the foot of the Master. 

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Certainly another excellent approach.  I'm a confirmed cabinet scraper fan for vacs, I have a selection and I've made a sharpening jig with a honing Steel to turn the edges.

 

John 

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I suppose I could ask the obvious question: "what happened to the molds for the Contrail strut sections"...?

 

Remember the packs; multiple sections in one pack for 1/144 and 1/72 models, another pack a size larger for 1/72 and 1/48 models and then the packs of 'same size' in about five (or so) different widths/thicknesses..?

 

I have a very closly guarded stash of all of these, slowly dwindling down but surely it cannot be that difficult to produce in this day-and-age..? What about resin printing..? Now, there's a thought...!

 

The lengths of most 1/48 bipe wings would surely be capable of being printed..?

 

 

Just me thinking and wishing back to the 'good 'ol days'.....

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Just picked up on this thread. Some excellent ideas here. Thanks for starting John!

 

Terry

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In answer to the  Contrail question, of what happened to the Dies (moulds). Unfortunately the extrusion dies became very worn and I looked at replacing them and I also asked about using a better stiffer material. The Contrail range because of the small production amount were always produced by a small company of jobbing extruders on a small workshop built machine, when there was a gap in their normal business.  Unfortunately, (for me) I then discovered that I was ill with cancer and I then had over two years of treatment, of which most people hadn't a clue, as I had a radical new treatment called Brachytherapy and fortunately I didn't have Chemo therapy so I showed almost no outward signs.

 

I was already aged 75 three years ago, so Clare, my family and myself (I admit) said it was time to walk away from Aeroclub, bearing in mind most folk have retired at 65.

 

I doubt it's worth any one picking up the traces because the Contrail stuff was always very specialist and was only viable as a part of a busier company, especially when Vacforms and white metal started to wane with new technology.

 

John

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3 minutes ago, John Aero said:

the Contrail stuff was always very specialist

The small amount I have left I treat like platinum.  It's the best stuff for scratch building struts in the True Scale.

 

4 minutes ago, John Aero said:

it was time to walk away from Aeroclub

Then I am happy that I bought a fair amount of WW1 white metal bits in the early 2000s...happy that your treatment worked, saddened by the end of that fine company.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, John Aero said:

In answer to the  Contrail question, of what happened to the Dies (moulds). Unfortunately the extrusion dies became very worn and I looked at replacing them and I also asked about using a better stiffer material.

 

John

 

I wondered - the last lot I had, the thinnest struts had ragged trailing edges, very hard to trim. But I just got a jeweller's saw (for some odd reason) and found that once clamped securely a sanding stick sorts them out in seconds, which is nice.

 

I must agree with John Masters, your products are really missed, although you've more than earned your retirement and after churlishly resenting the demise of Aeroclub I always have to give myself a good kicking in the seat of the pants to be fair. Luckily there are still some Fleabay lots that go for non-silly prices, so I pick them up when I can - I get through a lot of the WWI and inter-war stuff, and it all being rather niche, there are either no alternatives, or there were but they've also come to an end, presumably with the massive reduction in vacform kits and (assisted) scratch building.

 

Paul.

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/20/2020 at 7:56 AM, Black Knight said:

Thanks.

I always knew there was a reason why I have some of those blades in my 'blades' box but no handle to take them

All good things come to those who wait

I have several 1/48 biplanes to restore/rebuild for which I need to make struts and your technique is both most useful and most timely

Another idea might be to use bamboo to shape strut.s Its rigid enough to withstand sanding etc, is easily cut from Ice block (ice lollies) sticks etc or simply sand down toothpicks. I havent tried it yet but I got the idea from some old 'solid modelling' books from the days when a sharp whittling knife was a modellers most important tool. and bamboo was used for such fine work.

I'd be wary of worked plastic rod et al as it might 'sag' over time?  

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1 hour ago, Icedtea said:

Another idea might be to use bamboo to shape strut.s Its rigid enough to withstand sanding etc, is easily cut from Ice block (ice lollies) sticks etc or simply sand down toothpicks. I havent tried it yet but I got the idea from some old 'solid modelling' books from the days when a sharp whittling knife was a modellers most important tool. and bamboo was used for such fine work.

 

Satay sticks are good. Very strong.

 

1 hour ago, Icedtea said:

I'd be wary of worked plastic rod et al as it might 'sag' over time?  

 

To be honest, I've some from 50 years back and they're fine. Also some that have gone very brittle, as plastic sometimes does (not all plastics are equal). Lacking a functional tricorder you can't really tell in advance. One problem I've not had with plastic is sagging, though.

 

Paul.

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I use bamboo a lot on flying models. It's a very workable material. Satay sticks are cheap and versatile and available almost everywhere. Filing and scraping sections out of them is not  hard to do and it takes paint nicely. Definitely worth a try when I run out of Contrail strut material.

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19 hours ago, Paul Thompson said:

 

Satay sticks are good. Very strong.

 

 

To be honest, I've some from 50 years back and they're fine. Also some that have gone very brittle, as plastic sometimes does (not all plastics are equal). Lacking a functional tricorder you can't really tell in advance. One problem I've not had with plastic is sagging, though.

 

Paul.

Probably not the best word. I sort of meant that fine plastic rod can be prone to bending or folding with a bit of pressure depending I guess on the type of plastic its extruded from?

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Bamboo is commonly used for trenails in wooden ship models. A draw-plate is used to reduce sticks to specific diameters. While the use is very different, wooden ship modelers are usually intensely focused on material longevity.

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2 hours ago, Icedtea said:

Probably not the best word. I sort of meant that fine plastic rod can be prone to bending or folding with a bit of pressure depending I guess on the type of plastic its extruded from?

    No, I knew what you meant. I think maybe I wasn't clear either. My point is that no matter how in-scale you make a strut (i.e. thin) , so long as it is strong enough to work with and then install it will almost certainly not bend under pressure unless you use through the wing structural rigging and apply too much pressure. Once you have a couple of struts suppoting a wing they become collectively suprisingly strong. It can go wrong even with kit supplied struts - I know someone who has built a couple of Wingnut kits where he overdid the tensioning, and his stuts went wobbly (but not catastrophically so) after a few weeks. This was particularly the case with the Albatross B type because they really are scale thickness struts and would be better in wood or metal (hard metal, like brass, not the malleable stuff favoured by SAC).

 

    Agreed that the starting point plastic is key when making your own struts. All I can say is, make a strut and test it. If it looks dodgly, try again with different material. But don't be put off by a bit of flexing. The extruded material supplied in old Blue Max and Pegasus kits used to arrive bant and floppy, but once worked into struts and in place I've never had a problem with it. Of course, if you're buillding a something with a heavy resin wing like the 1/48th Vimy, or the CSM 1/48th Gotha G.III, all bets are off. The former comes with sunstantial white metal struts that do the job, the latter had really useless white metal struts that I replaced with bamboo.

 

 

Paul.

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  • 5 months later...

I never would have thought of that.  I remember speaking to an older modeller some years ago when they were making the wooden Skybird model kits.  For struts they would use an appropriate thickness of rod and glue a scrap of paper over it to give an airfoil effect.  It really works well today. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Luckily i bought a supply of Contrail struts  at Telford must have been about 12 years ago.

 

  5 sizes of Styrene rod  .20,40,50,60 and .080 . 5 sizes of Styrene Tube  .020,.040,.050,.060 and .080 Internal size. Mixed bag of Tube, Rod and struts all 3 sizes. Finally 5 sizes of aerofoil struts  1/72 scale.

 

Also obtained a set of Strutz brass annealed struts in different sizes  from 0.40mm to 1.00mm  made by Skybirds 86,Sherborne, Dorset. Included is some soft copper wire 0.40mm for making water,fuel and oil pipes.

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So, if I understand the Stanley blade tool, one makes what is basically a tweezer by bolting the two blades together? The side view in the photo does not make that clear.

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