A new company has come on the scene producing 3D printed tools aimed at the modeller, this new company is called ZEP Systems and is based in Spain. I have a couple of their products to look at and first up are two sizes of sanding tools with a sand area of 65mm X 10mm and 100mm X 15mm. These are interesting offerings from certain sides so let’s take a look.
The sanders arrive in flip top cardboard boxes that should do a fair job of protecting the contents. Inside the contents are protected in a Ziploc plastic bag and seem to be pretty bullet proof. Inside each of the packs you get the parts to assemble four sanders that are coloured:
- Dark Grey
- Light Grey
Assembly is a simple case of inserting a plastic bolt and attaching a trapping plate on the other end with a nut. All of the parts are colour coded and so easily put together and the colour coding serves a purpose in my book; I use wet and dry paper as my sanding material of choice and when wet with the rear hidden it is not always easy to know what is attached. These sanders can be loaded with four grades of paper with black for the roughest and so on down to white for the least abrasive. The colour coding also instantly lets me pick up the sanding grade of choice from the four offerings without the need to keep checking and changing the paper.
Now I do have a concern as regards the plastic nut and bolt and that is breakage. I am a ham fisted individual and I was not able to tighten the nut and bolt to breaking point by hand; a spanner would be a different result. With that said I do have concerns about the nut and bolt becoming brittle over time or minute damage also building up with each use. With that said any tool can and will be damaged if poorly stored or used.
The bow shape to the frame is big plus as it means that no block is behind the sanding face and so excess pressure resulting in flat spots is less likely and if a flat surface is needed then this is not the ideal tool; I suspect a flat bed sander is in the works. This tool is perfect for sanding wheels and barrels as the sanding surface is allowed to conform to the shape of the surface being sanded. One other plus I certainly gain is that having no metal parts and my preference for wet and dry paper means that I avoid the rust issue that otherwise can occur.
Every tool has its purpose and this is an ideal one for the sanding of curves; cleaning up the wheels of an AFV model will be quicker as this will naturally attack the raised part of the connection tab. The stiffness of the bow frame is good and will prevent excessive flex in the sanding face provided the paper is tight; if slack it will mean a larger surface can be sanded as long as the paper does not touch the back of the bow. The provision of four colour coded bows in each pack allows different grades of paper to be mounted and easily grabbed by the modeller as needed.