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Your tools for photo etch
archaicguy70
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Missouri, United States
Joined: December 28, 2008
KitMaker: 71 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 12:21 AM UTC
I've struggled with using photo etch over the years so maybe it's time to get a bender built to help using photo etch.

What is your go to bender for etch in 1/35?
PRH001
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New Mexico, United States
Joined: June 16, 2014
KitMaker: 550 posts
Armorama: 472 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 04:16 AM UTC
Jeff,
I have several sizes of bender from several manufacturers. The one i use 3X more often than any other is The Bug from the Small Shop. It has a viable assortment of bend shapes and can be held in one hand while making delicate adjustments at eye level. The larger ones are very good too, but I find the rotatable head and single knob lock down to be the quickest way to do detail size photoetch.

Hope this helps,
Paul H
Mortifa
#464
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British Columbia, Canada
Joined: December 02, 2016
KitMaker: 242 posts
Armorama: 173 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 04:29 AM UTC
I have a bug knock off, by Ustar which works really well. Also have a larger one from the Small Shop that is about eight inches and it works fine.

As I have used photo etch I found my own way to deal with it and use the tools for more precise work.

As for soldering, still on the curve.
archaicguy70
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Missouri, United States
Joined: December 28, 2008
KitMaker: 71 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 06:27 AM UTC
I have been considering The Bug. I was wondering if it would be the best bang for the buck.
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,006 posts
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 06:53 AM UTC
Frankly, I've used commercial benders before, but have found them rather unwieldy. The "Bug" is the only one I've stuck with, but I use it rather infrequently. I've had more success using a variety of tools for bending:

1) 100 pack of razor blades
2) 2" square tipped flat jaw miniature plier
3) 4" tapered flat jaw miniature plier
4) 2" narrow electronic flat jaw plier
5) an 18"x2" wide and a 12"X1" narrow (thin) steel rule.
6) 3" tapered round miniature wire bender plier
7) a Walthers Kadee "coupler tool" (intended to form coupler wires for Kadee couplers-- but it makes a nice bending tool for PE curves too)


In my opinion, these tools offer better flexibility and accessibility for bending difficult or complicated PE parts. For my money, because it's small, the "Bug" has the most utility for the same reason. The sad truth is I've purchased all the above tools for about the same price as one of the more expensive PE benders on the market, but these give me more flexibility. Don't forget, good steel flat tipped tweezers also work as good as PE benders for really tiny parts.
VR, Russ
retiredyank
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Arkansas, United States
Joined: June 29, 2009
KitMaker: 11,610 posts
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 11:38 AM UTC
Tweezers, tweezers and more tweezers. Also, a 6" bending tool by Mission Models and razor blade.
varanusk
Staff MemberManaging Editor
ARMORAMA
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / Espaa
Joined: July 04, 2013
KitMaker: 1,032 posts
Armorama: 743 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 11:06 PM UTC
For most of my (simple) PE work I just use flat pliers, which are faster, easier and cheaper.

Exceptions are long parts or those that do not have a folding line etched, for which I have a small RP Toolz bender
Namabiiru
#399
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Rhode Island, United States
Joined: March 05, 2014
KitMaker: 2,736 posts
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019 - 12:23 AM UTC
I have been unhappy with any purpose-made PE benders I have ever tried. I follow Russ Bucy's approach, and it works well enough most of the time. Maybe I'll throw down for a Bug....

Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,006 posts
Armorama: 1,684 posts
Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019 - 04:58 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I have been unhappy with any purpose-made PE benders I have ever tried. I follow Russ Bucy's approach, and it works well enough most of the time. Maybe I'll throw down for a Bug....




Mark, having used the Bug now (and one other more expensive larger bender--that I sold a couple of years ago for 1/3 what I paid for it)-- I'd say you can do as well without it. As a couple of others have mentioned, photo etch benders are OK for some things, but the constant tightening, repositioning, moving of benders gets old after a while, and I find making more than a 90 degree bend in something is often very tedious or impossible with a bender. Were I to "do it all over again", I'd just go out and buy a selection of flat jawed mini-pliers (which is what I've done). You can find some good ones in the electronics or hardware section of Home Depot, Ace, or Lowes (maybe Ames in your neck of the woods). You may need to look around a bit. I recently bought an electronic wire "nipper" and narrow flat jaw plier set at HD for about $5, the plier being ideal for narrow "U" shaped bends, and the nipper is better than my Xuron sprue cutter (it looks identical but it cuts better). The real issue is, it's difficult to make complicated bends with the larger PE benders, and pliers, quality steel tweezers and a smaller benders just gets the job done. I just finished LVM studios 200 peice brass PE reproduction of Launch Complex 14 launch tower for a Mercury-Atlas launch pad-- all without a bender, and there were bends of almost a foot long in that kit, along with very complicated "U" shaped bends. A "bender" wouldn't have worked for many of these bends (well, not a PE induced "bender" anyway!). But I do a lot of work in brass, using it extensively for scratchbuilding, and I've been using detail sets for many years, so I probably have more experience than most in bending and soldering, which is also a big factor in bending-- if you don't do a lot of it, a small bender might be more suitable.
VR, Russ
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019 - 06:50 PM UTC
I have 3 expensive benders which I never use, and a Bug, which I always use. But mostly I use Xuron needle nose pliers and a razor blade, 50 times faster than the Bug.
archaicguy70
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Missouri, United States
Joined: December 28, 2008
KitMaker: 71 posts
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019 - 10:03 PM UTC
Thanks guys.... So standard hand tools work as well as anything else really.
Namabiiru
#399
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Rhode Island, United States
Joined: March 05, 2014
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 12:37 AM UTC
Russ,
Would love to see some photos of your tower. Way back when I built a re-release of John Glenn's Atlas-Mercury I couldn't stand the lack of a support structure (I used to work on Atlas IIAS at Vandenberg when I was on active duty--my office was on Launch Complex 3E) so I scratch built my own based on the photos I could obtain. I had seen kit for one--probably the one you built--but it was way outside my budget.

Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,006 posts
Armorama: 1,684 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 04:57 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Thanks guys.... So standard hand tools work as well as anything else really.



Jeff, I think that's the gist of it. The "Bug" by the Small Shop is somewhat handy because of it's size, but you can get good bends with inexpensive hand tools that are just as good, and sometimes a bending tool won't work for a complicated bend. Ideally, what you want is something that will do it all, and you'll need a variety of tools anyway for that. What we mean by "flat jaw pliers" are miniature pliers without any teeth-- they have perfectly flat jaws, and you may need to look around for those.
VR, Russ
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,006 posts
Armorama: 1,684 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 05:04 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Russ,
Would love to see some photos of your tower. Way back when I built a re-release of John Glenn's Atlas-Mercury I couldn't stand the lack of a support structure (I used to work on Atlas IIAS at Vandenberg when I was on active duty--my office was on Launch Complex 3E) so I scratch built my own based on the photos I could obtain. I had seen kit for one--probably the one you built--but it was way outside my budget.




Mark, I'll PM you. I'm a real Luddite when it comes to posting here on Kitmaker, but I've written some articles for Large Scale Planes, one of which is about an all brass and PE construction of a 1/16 B17F waist gun position-- done completely without a bender-- just hand tools. Here's a link:
https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=3273
VR, Russ
Namabiiru
#399
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Rhode Island, United States
Joined: March 05, 2014
KitMaker: 2,736 posts
Armorama: 1,831 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 06:36 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Russ,
Would love to see some photos of your tower. Way back when I built a re-release of John Glenn's Atlas-Mercury I couldn't stand the lack of a support structure (I used to work on Atlas IIAS at Vandenberg when I was on active duty--my office was on Launch Complex 3E) so I scratch built my own based on the photos I could obtain. I had seen kit for one--probably the one you built--but it was way outside my budget.




Mark, I'll PM you. I'm a real Luddite when it comes to posting here on Kitmaker, but I've written some articles for Large Scale Planes, one of which is about an all brass and PE construction of a 1/16 B17F waist gun position-- done completely without a bender-- just hand tools. Here's a link:
https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=3273
VR, Russ



Russ,
Yes I remember looking that article--linked from a discussion on homebrew decals if I recall. Stunning piece of work.

TopSmith
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Washington, United States
Joined: August 09, 2002
KitMaker: 1,401 posts
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Posted: Monday, May 20, 2019 - 01:41 PM UTC
Now would be a good time to take some photos of your favorite bending tools.