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Photo-etch bending tools recommendations?

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  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Photo-etch bending tools recommendations?
Posted by Bobstamp on Friday, December 1, 2023 11:27 AM

I’m beginning to use some photo-etched parts for a model I’m building, and realize that some specialized tools would be useful.  I not planning to build any models larger than 1/72 or 1/48, so any photo-etched parts that are included in kits or that I buy will be quite small. And I’m the world’s slowest model builder, so I won’t be bending more than the occasional part, occasionally! 

I’ve got my eyes on two potentially useful tools. First, the Master Tools Photo Etched Parts Bender Medium:

 The other one is the Tamiya Bending Pliers For Photo Etched Parts:

Would one or the other of these be best to buy, or would both be useful? Or, perhaps someone has other suggestions.

Bob

Tags: bending , photo-etch , tool

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, December 1, 2023 3:19 PM

Hello Bob!

It's good to know you're modelling on!

Now that's a mighty bold statement you made here - World's Slowest Model Builder! dou you mean to say you build slower than me? I challenge you! :-)

Now of those two I would highly recommend the pliers. I mainly use similar pliers, but I got mine from a shop selling jewellery tools. You might want to check out companies like that (supplying jewellery businesses) - you can find a lot of excellent quality tools and interesting materials there, that can be very handy while building models.

As for the fancy machine in the first photo - I never got anything like that and I don't think that I need one, so there you have my opinion - but that's just me. I think you could spend that money better and still be able to do most of your PE work with the pliers.

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
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Friday, December 1, 2023 9:58 PM

Thank you for your "experiential advice," Paweł. I will purchase that Tamiya photo-etch bending tool and ignore the other device.

 

I do need to get back to posting more comments and questions here in the Finescale discussion board. I've been pulling back from "social media" generally, partly because of some "anti-social" dialogue. But Finescale discussions are very civil by comparison.

 

And, no, I don't accept your challenge, which would hardly be a contest because I would win! Wink

 

Bob

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, December 2, 2023 7:01 AM

Although;

      I have been gifted many fine tools for this job, the same ones always get used. A pair of jewelers pliars(Extremely flat straight edges) and a pair of Tweezers made for handling stamps!. The rest I tried and found to time consuming or awkward to use.

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Saturday, December 2, 2023 9:18 AM

I have two simple tools I us a lot.  First is square nose pliers- cheaper than a PE specialized set.

 

Also I use the appropriate screwdriver to hold down the piece. and the square tip X-acto blade (#18) to get under bend part.  I keep a handle with that blade on my bench just for bending PE.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, December 3, 2023 11:51 AM

Hi Missileman2000!

     You definitely keep it simple don't you? I use the square bladed X-Acto tool method. I've got four, Two medium bladed ones and Two large bladed ones. They do work great too. I also use the one that hase the 'Notched or (Offset) angled blade. This is handy as well.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, December 3, 2023 11:54 AM

Hi;

     I have a pair of these. You have to be careful with these. Whatever you do, don't drop them. You'll NEVER get them square again! And Don't use them for something where you have to squeeze hard. The tips will not mesh tight afterward.

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Saturday, December 23, 2023 10:26 PM

Stung by Tamiya

Trusting what seems to be a solid reputation, and appreciating Paweł's recommendation, and not having yet seen Tanker-Builder's and missileman2's comments, I ordered a pair of Tamiya’s photo-etch pliers and received them about a week later. What a disappointment!

I am a rank beginner in the photo-etch world, but the job I had seemed reasonably simple. In fact, using just a small aluminum ruler and single-edge razor blade, I had already bent a PE part quickly and accurately. But I decided to wait, optimistically, for the pliers to arrive, sure that they would make the job even easier.

When they arrived, I tried almost immediately to use them, and it took about 10 seconds to realize that I’d wasted more than CAN $40. The pliers simply wouldn’t grip the PE part I was trying to bend. Why not? Terrible machining of the pliers’ jaws. No matter how hard I squeezed  them, they wouldn’t grip the PE. Gripping harder actually caused the tip to open wider! Using a SAD lamp, I took a clear, backlighted photo with my iPhone, simulating hardsqueezing the handles with a couple of strong elastic bands. Here’s the result:

Another thing: The oval spring that's supposed to keep the jaws open collapsed almost completely and has never returned to its original shape.

I immediately wrote to Tamiya to complain and ask for a refund, although I didn’t buy the pliers direct from Tamiya. But I reasoned that the dealer who sold them to me, Sunward Hobbies in Toronto, shouldn’t suffer because of Tamiya’s shoddy quality control. Tamiya’s response? Nothing. That was two weeks ago tomorrow!

I finally wrote to Sunward and got a prompt response and request to return them for a refund. For now, I think I’ll stick to my ruler and razor blade, although it’s clear to me that PE and I are not a match made in heaven.

I can accept that shoddy products reach the marketplace, but I cannot accept Tamiya's silence. We are so victimized by so many large corporations, which have the legal rights of persons and act like a__holes masquerading as human.

Bob  

 

 

 

 

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Sunday, December 24, 2023 4:16 AM

Hello Bob!

Sorry to hear about your experience here.

I agree that those pliers are not much use for the job they were marketed for.

The ones I use look like this:

Jewellery pliers

They have more traditional design - cast parts as opposed to sheet metal parts and a real spring to keep them open. And they can be had for under 10USD here where I live. I didn't expect the Tamiya pliers to be that bad - after all it's a renowned brand, isn't it? But after what you have shown here I think I can formulate a hint for all modellers - try to stay away from tools made or marketed "especially for modellers" - finding these tools in their original "environments" - paintbrushes in the art supply shop, pliers in the jewellery supply shops, side cutters in the electronics supply shops - usually gives you a better tool at a better price.

I hope Tamiya gets back to you - if not maybe we should do something about it, maybe write some negatie reviews?

I waould also like to use this ooportunity to wish you merry Christmas and all the best for the new year!

Paweł

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

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    January 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Sunday, December 24, 2023 12:35 PM

I have that Master Tools bender, and find it quite useful.  The big deal is figuring out the order of bending if a piece has multiple bends in it.  I also have an assortment of small pliers that I use.  I found a set of flat-bill pliers that's really nice, and a pair of needlenose pliers that would be really good for bending, especially making round bends, if they didn't have teeth on the parts of the bill that contact each other.  For round bends, I find different diameter brass or styrene tubing does not too bad.  

That's really sad that that Tamiya set looks like that.  Agreed, that's not the quality I'd expect from Tamiya!!  

G. Beaird,

Pearland, Texas

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 1:44 PM

I returned the Tamiya pliers to Sunward Hobbies in Toronto. It couldn't have been easier. Sunward supplied me with a link to a Canada Post label that could be easily filled in, using 1Password, printed, attached to the package, and dropped into any mailbox, postage free. Within a week I had my refund. I can't say enough nice things about Sunward!

Taking your suggestions into account, I found a nice pair of needle-nose pliers to use for photo-etched parts, and am keeping my eyes open for other tools useful for PE. Not that good tools will make working with PE easy. Man that stuff is fragile!

 

 

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 5:42 PM

Hello Bob! Good to hear you were able to return those bad pliers. Hopefully the retailer will be able to give appropriate feedback to Tamiya. And I wish you good luck working with PE - it sure can be tricky, but it will give your models that extra coolness!

Have a nice day

Paweł

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

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, January 25, 2024 12:15 PM

Hi Bobstamp!

 Hey listen! Do what I do. If you need a tool for bending or curving or cutting P.E. then go to your reputable hardware store(You can be successful in the Big Box places too) And buy the best of the type they have to offer. NEVER settle for "Hobby Grade". I have been disappointed to many times with "Hobby Grade" Tools, either too weak or not in line or the product was Not, what was advertised as to it's useability! Good old hardware tools or have a  friend who works on cars buy you that small stuff from Snap-On-Expensive but worth it and a lifetime warranty too ! (If used properly)

  • Member since
    January 2010
Posted by rob44 on Thursday, January 25, 2024 4:34 PM

Some single edge razor blades, a square nose pliers (Small Jewlers) Various radius dowels or exacto handle for curved work, a dapping block is nice if you need curves in multiple directions but not necessary.

 

Also learn to aneal the PE to make it more amienable to curving.

Finally, I prefer to use silver solder to attach PE together when possible over using CA.

  • Member since
    January 2024
  • From: Fort Worth, TX
Posted by fxsti03-42 on Friday, January 26, 2024 6:41 AM

I recently purchased the Bug Hold and Fold from The Small Shop.  It is made in the USA.  I just checked their website and at the end of 2023, they retired.  Sad that another shop closes.  *sigh*...  

 If you can find it, it works well.  

The Bug Hold and Fold

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Friday, January 26, 2024 8:27 AM

I have four pair of the mini p.lirs and three sets of larger general pliers.  The minies include an end cutter, side cutters. round nose nose and flat nose.  The gp pliers are just different tip widths of ends.

Good pliers are important for modelers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, January 27, 2024 8:53 AM

Hi!

    I was using regular solder whena Jeweler friend turned me on to The Silver Solder. So much easier to use and a better looking finished product!

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Saturday, January 27, 2024 10:31 AM

Tanker-Builder

Hi!

    I was using regular solder whena Jeweler friend turned me on to The Silver Solder. So much easier to use and a better looking finished product!

 

                        don't you need a torch or really hot iron for that stuff?

 

  • Member since
    January 2010
Posted by rob44 on Saturday, January 27, 2024 11:50 AM

"    don't you need a torch or really hot iron for that stuff?"

 

Not at all, my regular solder iron fworks fine. I find it much easier to work with. You can cut it into a tiny chunk, place it along a join you want (flux first) then heat the metal and it flows with capillary action.

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: that state up North
Posted by More Power Scotty on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 5:03 PM

Hi Bob!

How much photo-etched work do you plan on doing? My first recommendation is to buy a pair of Xuron photo-etch scissors (9180ET) to remove the parts from the fret, if you will regularly use photo-etched parts.

I purchased a bending tool made by Mission Models many years ago, and it has paid for itself over the years. I can bend items measuring from 1/16 inch up to 6-1/2 inches. There are other companies that have released their own versions of bending tools since I bought mine. Anyway, if you plan on using photo-etched parts on some regular basis, I would suggest investing in a good bending tool.

 The other option would be good flat pliers. You can spend what you are comfortable with on the pliers as model companies produce them, but so do tool companies. These will work just fine to get started with PE parts and if you do not see adding these parts frequently, this would be more economical.

 I hope this helps!

Scott 

Scott
  • Member since
    January 2024
  • From: Fort Worth, TX
Posted by fxsti03-42 on Monday, February 5, 2024 7:31 AM

After working with PE this weekend. The first tool you'll need is patience.  

I used a mix of tools from the Small Shop bender I mentioned earlier, to small pliers and tweezers to a flat nose tweezer like this.  Just whatever felt right at the time.

 



Flat Nosed Tweezer

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