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How to remove scale model parts from sprue

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How to remove scale model parts from sprue
Posted by Tim Kidwell on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 1:34 PM

Hi!

If you're a beginner and wondering how to cleanly remove scale model parts from plastic sprue (sometimes called a parts tree), FineScale Modeler has you covered. Click here to find out the tools and techniques you'll need to remove model parts from sprue without breaking or ruining them. 

--

Timothy Kidwell
Editor
Scale Model Brands
Kalmbach Media

 

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 9:24 AM

Old school....

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 2:32 PM

Oh, C'mon Tim!

          Everyone knows you use a chainsaw right? Twisting parts off was the way many of us started until an adult watching said,"Why don't you use nail Clippers?"(The pliar type.) AHA. ! Fast forward Sixty five years. Ya got more sprue /part separaters than My late wife had shoes. It's all good though. Because there are as many ways to do this as there are kits out there. Kalmbach covers most!!!

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 3:01 PM

I never thought to use a razor saw to remove large parts with large attachment points and have actually been struggling with cleanup on those sorts of parts lately.

Always fun, not to mention humbling, to read beginner info and learn something. I have a bad memory and general lack of creativity, so I for one appreciate stuff like this. Thanks.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, December 1, 2022 5:46 AM

A jeweler's saw is also a great way to remove clear parts and parts with large attachment points from the sprue.  Finer teeth than a razor saw so it doesn't hop around as much when starting, yet it works quicker.  I use a #2/0 spiral blade for mine, and they last forever cutting through styrene, polycarbonate, and all kinds of resin/3D print casting blocks.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, December 1, 2022 8:22 AM

Greg!

 You? Lack of Creativity? Bah Humbug!!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, December 1, 2022 8:25 AM

EagleCash867!

        Those Spiral blades you mention. I first ran across them when doing very fine Wood scenics for a hobby try at something different. They are beautiful blades for just about anything!

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Thursday, December 1, 2022 9:15 AM

Eaglecash,

I like the jewelers saw idea and interesting to hear that TB has used one too. I made a note to order one when I get back to my bench. Thanks!

TB,

Thanks for your kind comment. Embarrassed Any clever ideas you see in my posts are very rare moments, trust me. Smile

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Posted by Tim Kidwell on Thursday, December 1, 2022 11:08 AM

the Baron

Old school....

 

Snips be snippin'. Clippers be clippin'.

--

Timothy Kidwell
Editor
Scale Model Brands
Kalmbach Media

 

Moderator
  • Member since
    September 2011
Posted by Tim Kidwell on Thursday, December 1, 2022 11:14 AM

Greg and Tanker,

Thanks for reading the how-to and leaving comments on this. It's always nice to hear from you guys. Razor saws are useful in a lot of instances, and we make specific mention of them in this story and in our video about removing parts from sprue because people don't often think about them in that context. And while everyone has their preferred method, we try to cover the magazine's collected wisdom learned over the past 40 years and distill it for easy consumption. And we're always looking for new ideas and techniques to share. 

Have a good one!

PS. Greg, unimaginative or uncreative are not words I would associate with you.

 

--

Timothy Kidwell
Editor
Scale Model Brands
Kalmbach Media

 

Moderator
  • Member since
    September 2011
Posted by Tim Kidwell on Thursday, December 1, 2022 11:15 AM

Eaglecash867

A jeweler's saw is also a great way to remove clear parts and parts with large attachment points from the sprue.  Finer teeth than a razor saw so it doesn't hop around as much when starting, yet it works quicker.  I use a #2/0 spiral blade for mine, and they last forever cutting through styrene, polycarbonate, and all kinds of resin/3D print casting blocks.

 

Great tip!

--

Timothy Kidwell
Editor
Scale Model Brands
Kalmbach Media

 

  • Member since
    April 2016
  • From: N. Burbs of ChiKawgo
Posted by GlennH on Thursday, December 1, 2022 5:33 PM

Been using a bit of sticky putty on a toothpick now to prevent those tiny parts from going into orbit. 'Figured' that out after loosing one last fuel can lid!

A number Army Viet Nam scans from hundreds yet to be done:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/southwestdreams/albums/72157621855914355

Have had the great fortune to be on every side of the howitzers.

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Thursday, December 1, 2022 5:47 PM

Tim,

Thank you for your kind comment. Embarrassed

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Friday, December 2, 2022 7:22 AM

While I ordinarily use nippers, when I want a really close cut, I use a knife blade. To prevent problems I use a #20 blade (big knife). The 45 degree blade does not bend or break like an 11 does.

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Friday, December 2, 2022 7:27 AM

Hi Greg!

         Listen, Those saws are available in any Hand Woodworking dept of hobby stores. I think even H.L.Has some. If not, if you hear or read of a Juried Woodcarvers show near by. Go! There you will be exposed to a plethora of tools,e specially saws that will let you cut as clean as a laser!

          I have blades that are as small as a thin thread, Round (so you can cut in any direction) and Regular. The problem? I am very careful with them, Cause I don't remember where I got them! Also you can pick up a copy Of WoodCarvers  magazine. If you see one grab it! The ads in the book will guide you to some fascinating stuff.

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  • Member since
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Posted by Tim Kidwell on Friday, December 2, 2022 9:39 AM

GlennH

Been using a bit of sticky putty on a toothpick now to prevent those tiny parts from going into orbit. 'Figured' that out after loosing one last fuel can lid!

 

Glenn, 

Another option is to use a clear, resealable bag large enough to fit the sprue in. You can put the parts tree into the bag and remove the part from the tree in there. If the part goes flying, the bag contains it. And those bags can get pretty large, so plenty of room for even a big sprue and your hand with snips. You can use the same technique for PE parts, too. 

--

Timothy Kidwell
Editor
Scale Model Brands
Kalmbach Media

 

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, December 2, 2022 10:03 AM

I've got an old Xuron cutter, but it's a bit worn by now.  I use a razor saw for a lot of sprue and casting block removal, too:

As others have noted, you can get fine cuts with saws like this.  So depending on the size and location of the sprue gates, I'll use the cutter, this saw, or a knife blade, too.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, December 2, 2022 3:59 PM

the Baron

I've got an old Xuron cutter, but it's a bit worn by now.  I use a razor saw for a lot of sprue and casting block removal, too:

As others have noted, you can get fine cuts with saws like this.  So depending on the size and location of the sprue gates, I'll use the cutter, this saw, or a knife blade, too.

 

I think that's the one I have too, Brad. I like mine too. Somebody here recommended it for resin casting block removal some time ago, wonder if it was you? If so, great tip and thanks!!! Yes

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, December 2, 2022 4:04 PM

Tanker-Builder

Hi Greg!

         Listen, Those saws are available in any Hand Woodworking dept of hobby stores. I think even H.L.Has some. If not, if you hear or read of a Juried Woodcarvers show near by. Go! There you will be exposed to a plethora of tools,e specially saws that will let you cut as clean as a laser!

          I have blades that are as small as a thin thread, Round (so you can cut in any direction) and Regular. The problem? I am very careful with them, Cause I don't remember where I got them! Also you can pick up a copy Of WoodCarvers  magazine. If you see one grab it! The ads in the book will guide you to some fascinating stuff.

 

Never would have thought to look at the woodworking dept at HobbyLobby or similar. Thanks for the idea, Doc, and all the other tips in your post above.

I'm away from home and the bench, but have plenty of spare time for window shopping and exploring. Smile

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, December 4, 2022 8:26 AM

Oh Yessir, Greg! 

            I got one too! Don't forget, you can by replacement blades from Micro-Mark! I have extras from them and I have fine, extra fine and regular. Best darned tool I ever invested in! I still use sprue cutters too, But, I modify them before I ever use them! Most sprue cutters are NOT flat on either side.There is a slight offset to the blades even on the flat? side.

          I grind them(Don't let it get hot!) to an absolutely flat face on one side and then take the tips on the deep side and grind them as thin as sensible to allow getting in small places where you have small parts. You can see them on my bench (If I had a pichure) and they don't look any different until you pick them up and look closer.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, December 4, 2022 8:28 AM

Hey Greg!

   Next time you are in your local Hobby Shop look for the P.E. saws done in stainless. They are lifesavers, believe me! A wee bit hard to hold But well worth the effort!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, December 4, 2022 8:35 AM

Hi Tim!

          I have been using the Bag method since I heard of it quite a few years back. The only drawback I've run into ,sometimes it's hard to get those teensy parts out, Why? well it's called Static Electricity, or electricical as I say. If you put a plain business card sized piece of paper in there,(After you've rubbed it on your shirt or a soft cotton cloth) the Windshield Wipers for cars and 1/350 gun parts will sometimes stick to it, then they come out easily!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, December 4, 2022 8:38 AM

Hey Greg!

          For removing resin casting blocks I use a Japan Saw. It seems to work better for me! Yes, I found a mask that is comfortable and works for the resin dust. Now I can mess with it again! At least I found one good thing out of the Covid pandemic!

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