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When clamps do not work

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  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
When clamps do not work
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 9:11 AM

I find many times that clamps, be it spring clamps, adjustable ones, etc., do not work on some assemblies, especially tapered areas, like the nose area of fuselages.  I often resort to masking tape.  But I find most glues wick out around the seam and roughen up the plastic.  I can generally sand, and even fill & sand, but it can be a bit of a bother.  Anyone found a way to eliminate wicking of glue out of the joint when they use masking tape/

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 9:56 AM

30 minutes of sitting and watching the game, along with the mark five digital clamp.

I use thin tape a lot of pieces, can sort of spot glue in between.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Far Northern CA
Posted by mrmike on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 11:07 AM

Sometimes using toothpicks or other spacers to hold the tape off the join will work. This trick isn't mine, I learned it here in the Forums, and it can be too fussy for small areas but it eliminates some sanding. I like GM's methods too.


  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 12:35 PM

I'm with Bill.

I've been doing this a long time, off and on, and I've found clamps to be the most useless gadgets in my kit. I can't really remember a time when they have actually worked. 

Sorry, that's not a repsonse to your question. Which would again be I'm with Bill. I sometimes spot glue in between the masking tape strips, let set, remove tape, then let some extra think wick in the remaining spaces, most likely clamping again, with fingers.


  • Member since
    March 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 2:58 PM

For many years I have been using sprue sections, trimmed to a smooth surface, cut into varying lengths. Wooden dowels also work well. I place wide area rubber bands over the fuselage, adding however many are needed to close the seam gaps.

Then I place the sprue sections along the seam on both sides, under the rubber bands. That prevents the rubber bands from coming in contact with the seam or cement. This allows thin cement to wick and flow along the length of the seam, the sprue strips preventing cement from being able to flow outside of the seam.

A second benefit is the downward pressure that the sprues place along the seam, ensuring the seam gap surface is as closed as possible. When the seam surfaces are making full contact, the join is stronger.

If I encounter a really tough join problem, then sometimes I'll even resort to a hose clamp of an appropriate size.


  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 4:44 PM

I use Tenax or Plast I Weld to melt the two surfaces being joined holding them manually   in tough jobs where clamps  or tape won't work for reasons mentioned. I find that after 6-8 munutes of holding the two parts gives enough time for the liquid thin cement to hold the parts together while I grab some masking tape to hold them together while the glue cures. At this point the glue has evaporated and melted the plastic and it will not get wicked on to the tape. 




Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, January 4, 2018 9:09 AM

Hey, I like that idea of shimming the tape up near the seam!  I'll have to try that.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by fritzthefox on Sunday, February 25, 2018 9:36 PM

This is not helpful advice, but just a related story: My first ever rocket launch was the result of me learning that it was unwise to try to use a clamp to hold together two halves of the sleek Destination Moon shot across the room and embedded itself in the wall like a dart, ruining the model. 

I keep rubber bands handy now. 

  • Member since
    December 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Monday, February 26, 2018 7:54 AM

I use a simple technique i dubbed spot welding with parts i can not clamp.

I will dab dots of super glue gel at several points along the seam.  Since super glue gels dry in a couple of minutes or less, i just hold the assembly till the glue has taken hold.

Then i go back along the seam with tamiya thin or other thin solvent based glues to weld the seam together.

  • Member since
    January 2014
Posted by Silver on Monday, February 26, 2018 2:53 PM

Spot weld with strong liquid cement one portion at a time .Its good for the hands .


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