Saturday, January 10, 2015

DIY microstrip from plasticard

Over the years I've often had to produce my own plasticard microstrip when modelling. I used to have a mixed selection of strip which I would raid from time to time but inevitably, I would not have the required width in stock or I would run out midway through a job.

My early attempts at cutting my own strip were a bit hit and miss. No matter how carefully I measured and cut, the strip ended up being slightly too narrow or too wide, or even worse, would taper from one end to the other.

Eventually, I have homed-in on this approach. It is not always perfect, but is a lot more consistent than my previous efforts.
Some of the microstrip detail on a recent coach build
 The most important secret I have learned is to always cut strip from a large sheet. Cutting strips from a narrow strip inevitably leads to problems as the strip flexes under pressure from the blade.

Rather than measuring and marking, I cut a short section of strip the required width to act as a template. This is placed on the sheet and a metal rule positioned against it before being moved to the edge of the sheet.

 This process is repeated at the other end of the rule. And then the whole thing checked and rechecked to make sure the strip to be cut is of consistent width.

Once the rule has been positioned, the thinnest scalpel or craft knife blade is run lightly along the edge of the rule. This is repeated several times. Too much pressure and the blade will wander or will tug the card out from under the rule.

Pressure can be increased once the plastic has been scored sufficiently to guide the blade.

You should then end up with a strip which is consistent and matches exactly the width of the template piece.

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