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How to stop from losing small parts?

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  • Member since
    February, 2017
How to stop from losing small parts?
Posted by armco1953 on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 1:43 PM

I have recently began building models after a prolonged absence with the hobby although I always maintained an interest in buy Fine Scale Modeler since its inception in the early 1980s.  I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to hold on to small pieces while cutting them from the sprue or while sanding, etc.?  I'm in the process of building a Dragon 1/72 scale M4 Sherman and have had some issues with the small parts flying out of the tweezers never to be seen again.  Luckily these parts were handrails I was able to easily replace with bent wire, but it could have just as easily been some of the lightfixures or other small components.  What is this best type of tweezers for this process?  Thanks for any replies.

  • Member since
    June, 2004
  • From: 29° 58' N 95° 21' W
Posted by seasick on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 2:29 PM

Have no idea. I have dust buster and sometimes when I loose a small part I am able to vacuume it up. 

Chasing the ultimate build.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 2:53 PM

Hello!

Once the parts are "done", it's best to put them into zip-lock bags. As for sanding them and cleaning them up, here's a tool that can save you lots of work:

Hand vise

As for separating small parts from the sprue - if you have good side cutters (the expensive ones from the electronics store are best) they usually don't send the parts flying. But you can still put the sprue with the part to be cut into a large plastic bag and cut inside the bag, that will catch the part for you. And sometimes it's good to cut the part off with a substantial chunk of the sprue using a razor saw. Then you hold the part and send the unnecessary chunk of the sprue flying through the room.

Hope it helps - good luck with your builds and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    May, 2017
  • From: Denver, Colorado
Posted by MrStecks on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 2:55 PM

When cutting a small piece from a sprue, I will sometimes use a bit of Blu-Tack and build a bridge between the part and the sprue.  Then when I cut the part free, it stays connected to the Blu-Tack and doesn't fly away.

Same thing when sanding hard-to-handle small parts.  I'll fashion a bit of Blu-Tack into a blob  that is big enough to easily handle, and stick the part into it.  Just keep pulling it out and re-sticking it as you sand the part where you need to.

Cheers, Mark


On the bench: Eduard 1/32 P-47 Dottie Mae

In the queue: Tamiya 1/32 P-51 Mustang;  WNW 1/32 Fokker D.VII (Fok.) "Early";  Revell 1/48 B-25J;  AMT 1/48 Lockheed Vega;  AMT 1/48 Stinson Reliant SR-9;  Revell 1/48 TBF Avenger;  Hasegawa 1/48 Nakajima E8N1 Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane (DAVE) Model 1

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:10 PM

For cutting small parts I never use a exacto type blade to cut.  I use plier type cutters or a razor saw.  This way the part does not go flying off as soon as it is cut.  first if the small part has enough sprue attached to it, I will cut a bit of the sprue with the part so that I am not dealing with the entire tree of parts.

Then I do similar to stecks, either using blue tack or a piece of masking tape I will tape or stick the part so that it does not get lost if I drop it.  

Depending on the part I will also use locking tweezers to hold the part as I cut.  You can also cut the parts inside a box big enough for your hands to fit so that if you do drop the part it will most likely end up in the box.

I tend to cut all the small parts in one go and seal them in a jar or zip lock bag or something that will keep them from getting lost during the build.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 4:21 PM

I had given up using tweezers, because they can really launch small parts.  Then, I bought a new set of tweezers- they are great!  I am back to using tweezers and haven't launched a part since! 

The tweezers were found on Amazon after someone posted a message in the Tools forum about them.  They are really great and reasonably priced.  These are very stiff in the direction 90 degrees to the normal tweezer action. I believe this is why they do not launch parts.

 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by modelmaker66 on Thursday, July 27, 2017 12:14 AM

HI Don, Could you post a link for them so we can check them out please? Thanks.

  • Member since
    July, 2017
  • From: Lake Tahoe, NV (USA)
Posted by bsowles on Thursday, July 27, 2017 3:31 AM

I had to chuckle when I read your post, Armco. And I'm laughing with you, not at you, because I, too, am a new builder again after a 50 year absence and have encountered the same problem you described. Two nights ago I spent the better part of an hour searching my carpet trying to find this tiny pitot tube part that flew off. I agree with someone who posted about not using tweezers. Unless you have real steady, calm hands, my experience has been that they don't work out too well. Anyway, if you're new on here like me, you'll find lots of knowledgable, helpful kit builders who have been really friendly.

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • From: Milaca, Minnesota
Posted by falconmod on Thursday, July 27, 2017 6:13 AM

You can also put some heat shrink tubing on the end of your twezzers,  And they also make a dip-able plastic the kind that is on the handles of your pliers and other tools that you can dip your twezzers into.

John

On the Bench: 1/72 Amodel I-270, 1/72 Heller Lansen J.32

Italeri 1/72 Mirage 2000C

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:32 AM

modelmaker66

HI Don, Could you post a link for them so we can check them out please? Thanks.

 

Don't have a web site for them. I bought them from Amazon.  The brand name is Pixnor.  They came in a set of between five and eight, or so.  As I recall they were like 11 or 12 bucks.  I'd post a picture, but have not been able to post reliable pictures since PB developed delusins of grandeur.  The set includes sharp pointed ones and broader tipped ones.  The pointed edge ones are really sharp- those come with a protective tip to prevent stabbing yourself when you pick them up!

 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2013
Posted by Jay Jay on Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:59 AM

A tip from your Uncle Jay;

#1  When cutting tiny parts off the sprue use post it notes on your bench with the sticky side up. I found post it Notes at Wally World that have the glue on the entire page. Press the parts into the sticky then cut. Most of the time the parts stay on the post it note. Works great on PE where they can be bent on the Post it Note as well. My carpet monster has been very hungry since using this method.

#2 Get a can of "Drum Stick Wax" at your local music store. It's used to put a tacky coating on drum sticks so they don't go flying into the audience.  It's like Post it Notes in a can. Put a bit on the end of a toothpick then stick the tiny part onto that...no more tweezers. Once the glue has set ( CA is best ) the part easily leaves the toothpick.

 

 

 

 

 

 I'm finally retired. Now time I got, money I don't.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Thursday, July 27, 2017 9:41 AM

You want to stop losing small parts? Leave them on the sprues! LOL!!!

I learned a little trick by putting masking tape over the small part before snipping them off the sprues. Honestly, everyone loses small parts on occasion. You just got to be extra careful  with them. If you do happen to lose it while snipping them off the sprue or in tweezers, stop immediately and scour the floor with a flashlight. That's why my workspace is not on carpet floors. Carpets are small parts worse nightmare.

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Coatesville, Pa.
Posted by fox on Thursday, July 27, 2017 11:37 AM

My work area has carpeted floors. I bought a couple of those clear mats they use with office desks. It not only makes it easy to slide the chair around the area but makes it easier to find dropped parts with a flashlight. I also have a dustbuster hanging on the wall in case the part is harder to find. Has an empty bag in it and I empty it after each use. SWMBO gave me that idea a long, long time ago.

Jim  Captain

Photobucket Main WIP: Rebuild of Monogram 1/8 "Big Deuce" with 1/8 Pocher V-12 in rear - 10%

   On the Bench:   Revell 1/48 Ju 52/3m - 50%;  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 20% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, July 27, 2017 12:05 PM

Hi;

  I cut ALL my small parts off the sprue inside a gallon sized Ziploc bag now . I have been doing this since sandwich bags came out .

  • Member since
    April, 2017
Posted by Wildcatfan247 on Monday, July 31, 2017 12:57 PM

Funny story, yesterday I was working on both my 69 and 71 Chargers.  I got to the point on the 71 where I need to glue my exhaust pipes and tail pipes on.  I opened the box and pulled out the exhause pipes but no tail pipes.  Looked all over the workbench, opened the 69 box thinking I might have put it in there, no luck.  I got every kit I had opened, about 15 and went through each box hoping to find it.  No luck, I thought what the heck maybe I can make one out of brass tubing so I grab the chassis to do some measuring and lo and behold for some reason weeks ago I had glued the tail pipe on the chassis.  Can't remember doing it or why.  I wasted over and hour of time looking for those suckers.

  • Member since
    February, 2003
Posted by Jim Barton on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 5:00 PM

Wildcatfan247

Funny story, yesterday I was working on both my 69 and 71 Chargers.  I got to the point on the 71 where I need to glue my exhaust pipes and tail pipes on.  I opened the box and pulled out the exhause pipes but no tail pipes.  Looked all over the workbench, opened the 69 box thinking I might have put it in there, no luck.  I got every kit I had opened, about 15 and went through each box hoping to find it.  No luck, I thought what the heck maybe I can make one out of brass tubing so I grab the chassis to do some measuring and lo and behold for some reason weeks ago I had glued the tail pipe on the chassis.  Can't remember doing it or why.  I wasted over and hour of time looking for those suckers.

 

That's why I keep a diary of each modeling session. Otherwise I would look at a part I'd painted, for example and ask myself, "Now was that the first or second coat I put on the other day?"

"Whaddya mean 'Who's flying the plane?!' Nobody's flying the plane!"

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Friday, August 04, 2017 9:19 AM

Hi ;

 On some model car kits and planes as well as ships they give you a parts map .( you know , " these parts not used " ) or just a map . I take this map and using a red pencil , check of each part as I use it . I take the map and scan it , enlarge it 50%.

 Then taping it or not , to my bench under the glass I can refer to it .The glass has silicon feet so I can slide it in and out with ease .

  • Member since
    February, 2017
Posted by armco1953 on Friday, August 04, 2017 1:27 PM

Thanks for all of the advice!  Hopefully, I can put the carpet monster on a diet!

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by bcds on Saturday, August 05, 2017 6:17 AM
I second the tape idea its a life saver
  • Member since
    August, 2013
  • From: Michigan
Posted by Straycat1911 on Monday, August 07, 2017 9:37 AM

armco1953

I have recently began building models after a prolonged absence with the hobby although I always maintained an interest in buy Fine Scale Modeler since its inception in the early 1980s.  I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to hold on to small pieces while cutting them from the sprue or while sanding, etc.?  I'm in the process of building a Dragon 1/72 scale M4 Sherman and have had some issues with the small parts flying out of the tweezers never to be seen again.  Luckily these parts were handrails I was able to easily replace with bent wire, but it could have just as easily been some of the lightfixures or other small components.  What is this best type of tweezers for this process?  Thanks for any replies.

 

Best way to quit losing small parts is to quit building models.  

In terms of tweezers, MicroMark sells a reverse tweezer; you squeeze to open it and the jaws are serrated. Holds small parts very very well. 

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