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  • Gravity continued....

    Howdy all. I am going into the deep end of the pool. Trying to figure out what I need in the way of supplies for building. Have got a box of limited brass, and aluminum..... But I was curious if someone could suggest a collection of stuff (building supplies) that I might want to collect to get ready for the adventure. Seems that this stuff is not available hobby shops have gone the way of the Susan B Anthony buck... would like to collect what I need, before I start. If you-all could point me in the right direction, much appreciated.

    Thanks all!

  • #2
    A great place to start would be the instructional write ups by John Reimels, located in the Tips section of the HOPRA web site.
    There are a great many tools you might want. Including a chassis jig (Rgeo), jig wheels (Scale Engineering), Soldering station, Stay-brite silver solder, Dremel with cut off wheels, files, etc.
    K&S Brass is available in most ACE hardware stores or online.
    McMaster-Carr is another source of tools and materials.

    Enjoy you new adventure


    • #3
      Don't forget Micro-Mark.
      A great place for the hobby constructor.


      • #4
        My local Ace Hardware has a very extensive selection of K&S brass tubes, shapes and sheets. Also some aluminum and steel. I was quite surprised to discover it, and I have made a number of trips there specifically to buy materials.

        One thing that is hard to find these days is acid soldering flux. If you buy Stay-Brite solder it comes with a small bottle of liquid acid flux. Keester sells an acid paste flux, but again, hard to find. I use both liquid and paste acid flux. Liquid will penetrate a joint, while paste stays where you put it.

        Acid flux is great for assembling structures out of brass, steel and stainless steel. It does a superior job of cleaning. You do have to be careful with it. You want to wear eye protection as it will boil and spray droplets as you heat the joint. But it is not a very strong acid. It will irritate the skin, but if you clean it off quickly you won't be injured.

        I have found rubber cement is great for masking areas adjacent to a solder joint, if you need to prevent solder migrating. It will stay where you put it, withstands the heat of soldering, and is easy to remove once you are finished.

        Piano wire (aka music wire) is a great material for custom fabricating. It is one of the hardest steel materials, with a tensile strength of about 400,000 pounds per square inch! That makes it very springy, yet it can also be bent into complex shapes. You can buy a special tool to cut it -- it looks a bit like a pliers. Said tool snaps the wire easily and cleanly. Well worth the money.

        Another material I particularly like is precision stainless steel tubing. McMaster-Carr is my source. This is the same kind of tubing that is used for hypodermic needles. It is also very hard and springy, yet can be formed fairly easily. Because it is hollow it is very light. It comes in a variety of wall thicknesses, some as small as 5 thousandths of an inch. You definitely need an acid flux to solder it. I use the Stay-Brite solder and flux. It makes a beautiful joint!

        Ed Bianchi


        • #5
          For chassis work I use Slick 7 acid core silver solder. There is still a Slick 7 website, but the catalog section is a dead end. I found Stay-Brite on Amazon. If you use acid flux you must remove any residue when you are done soldering or brass parts will corrode and steel parts will rust. You can wash the chassis in soapy water that has some bicarbonate of soda dissolved in it.


          • #6
            thanks all! mucho appreciated!


            • #7
              precision stainless steel.... thanks Ed!!


              • #8
                Originally posted by jmacartney View Post
                A great place to start would be the instructional write ups by John Reimels, located in the Tips section of the HOPRA web site.
                "THERE ARE A GREAT MANY TOOLS YOU MIGHT WANT" Including a chassis jig (Rgeo), jig wheels (Scale Engineering), Soldering station, Stay-brite silver solder, Dremel with cut off wheels, files, etc.
                K&S Brass is available in most ACE hardware stores or online.
                McMaster-Carr is another source of tools and materials.

                Enjoy you new adventure
                A machinists rule, scratch all, machinists caliper, dividers, center punch, small hammer, small file set, small square, good magnifying eye wear ; )


                • #9
                  For soldering assembly I use a perforated ceramic block and stainless steel tapered pins.

                  These tools are terrific for holding parts in close alignment for soldering. The ceramic block and pins can withstand intense heat. I will often use a standard propane torch to heat the parts. As mentioned in an earlier post I'll use acid flux for structural assembly, and rubber cement to mask parts.

                  Ed Bianchi
                  Last edited by Wet Coast Racer; 04-14-2019, 03:39 PM. Reason: ED - THERE WILL BE NO MORE AMAZON OR EBAY LINKS IN YOUR POSTS.


                  • #10
                    Last edited by Wet Coast Racer; Today, 05:39 PM. Reason: ED - THERE WILL BE NO MORE AMAZON OR EBAY LINKS IN YOUR POSTS.

                    I understand your rules and the reasons for them. Even if I don't agree with either.

                    But why was it necessary to berate one of the most knowledgeable constructors on this forum publicly?

                    Couldn't this have been done privately?

                    He was simply trying to help a fellow racer/constructor to find the stuff needed to complete his build. I thought this was what the forum was all about.

                    There were no links to slot shops or slot style websites, it was Ebay and Amazon for heaven's sake. two of the most visited shopping sites on the web. This is akin to having a rule that we can't mention Walmart on this forum.

                    Please rethink this policy, for the good of the forum.

                    Rant off.


                    • #11
                      Okay, apologies. I am allowed to use this website with the understanding that I obey its rules. So, again, apologies.

                      I linked to Amazon and eBay as the easiest way to show readers the tools I was recommending. I'll have to back up and try to do that another way.

                      Thanks to "smalltime" for the support. Perhaps the rules could be modified without compromising the legitimate needs of the website and its owner. Right at the moment he has a lot on his plate, so I think we can give him space on this for now.

                      Ed Bianchi


                      • #12
                        The bending tool I use is made by KAKA Industrial. It is their BDS-4, described as "4 Inches Sheet Metal Vise Brake Die Set, Magnetic Vise Mount". A Google search will take you to retail sources.

                        The honeycomb ceramic soldering block is described online as "Ceramic Honeycomb Block Soldering Board Perforated 5-1/2" x 7-3/4" x 1/2" Large". The pins I use with it are described online as "20 Pack Of Metal Pins For Honeycomb Ceramic Soldering Blocks". Again, a Google search will take you to retail sources.

                        I have no commercial interest in these products, their manufacturers or vendors. I can only report that I own them, use them, and have found them valuable tools for my fabricating projects.

                        While on the subject of soldering, I have found that a variety of heating tools are useful for different kinds of soldering.

                        For wiring I use a Weller WLC100 soldering station, with the heat set mid-range -- '3' out of '5'.

                        For small structural soldering I use either a Weller 8200 140/100 watt soldering gun or a Rekrow RK3210 mini-torch with Ronson Ultra-Butane fuel.

                        For heavy structural soldering I use a Bernz-O-Matic TS2000 propane torch with built-in igniter.

                        It is more than likely all of these model numbers are obsolete. One of the advantages of being older than dirt is you can accumulate an inventory of good tools over a period of decades. And I have never regretted buying good tools. I'm pretty sure all of those companies are still in business, and have equivalent or better tools available for sale.

                        Older than dirt? Well, maybe not that old. How old am I? I'm old enough to remember when Mr. Clean had hair!

                        Ed Bianchi

                        Last edited by HO RacePro; 04-15-2019, 04:53 AM.


                        • #13
                          I use an Ungar soldering station that is currently out of production. This unit allows me to set the tip temperature with great accuracy. I use solders of different melting points. This allows construction to start with the highest melting point solder and then I can continue construction with lower melting point solders. In that manner, I don't disturb or unsolder prior assemblies.

                          As with Ed, I also use a perforated block with stainless steel pins. I also use acidic fluxes for all structural builds. Be aware that some solders have a preference for a different flux, as all fluxes are not created equal.


                          • #14
                            There is an entire sticky thread on SCI devoted to soldering. It is modestly called "Ed's Excellent Soldering Thread" (I didn't name it). It is in the "Vintage and Scratchbuilding" section. A number of master fabricators (including Mr. Cullan, above) contributed to it, and more are invited to add to it any time.

                            One thing I want to get across is that basic soldering is a skill anyone can learn in an afternoon. A few simple tools and materials, plus a little instruction, is all that is needed.

                            Sure, there are sophisticated techniques that will allow you to complete challenging projects, but you can learn those at your own pace. Or not. You can start simple and stay simple if that is all you need.

                            Ed Bianchi


                            • #15
                              Start soldering now! Have you started yet? Why not?

                              Familiarity and muscle memory are critical to any learned physical skill. The more reps you have under your belt, the quicker they become second nature, and the quicker it comes back after a layoff.

                              Best to watch some soldering videos for the proper visual. For lack of a better descriptor solder should flow like warm syrup or clarified butter. The work should pull the solder from you like magic. The term is wicking. The only way this happens, is when there is sufficient heat stored in the work/joint and minimum physical gaposis exists between the intended components. Solder cant pole vault. The tendency for beginners is to jab, poke, or prod with the solder; or heaven forbid patty caking it with the iron as though the solder was cup cake icing.

                              The first requirement is a well planned clean joint that it STABLE. You can not transfer heat into the work piece if it's gyrating the hula or the pieces arent in contact with one another. In general heat the back side of the joint or the farthest point away from the intended application point. When the "away" side of the joint starts to smoke simply test by gently wiping the solder. If it's ready, it will take it from you. It it isnt, it will not feed, and you'll need to wait for temp assuming you have the right caliber weapon as gang mentioned previously.

                              Ultimately soldering is a patience skill, but only in the sense that one has to patiently prepare the work, and patiently wait for the heat to transfer. Beyond that, actual soldering takes but mere split seconds at the end of the total process.

                              What is rarely mentioned is erasers for pencils. De-soldering aint a bad skill to have either, given that humans are involved.


                              Added to the tool list...

                              I'll preface this with the fact that I didnt run right out and buy my entire scratch building tool kit. Estate and garage sales are a must stop for unique little tools. One has to sift the old man tool boxes, as well as the bottom of the bins and dark corners at the second hand stores where these items slide off too and hide or are frequently over looked. My best "tiny file" was found in the expansion joint of an old garage I once worked in. While resting my arms, laying on a creeper. I spotted it mere inches from my nose as I looked down the joint.

                              A small hobby vise is nice. Preferably one of the alloy or alloy jawed type to help prevent marring. I also have a machinists parallel clamp that Pap said came over on the Mayflower with a wink. It is indispensable for me because of it's quick action and versatility. A small square is a must. A decimal drill index might seem like overkill, but its worth its weight in gold. A good pin vise to drive the bits is equally important. There is nothing worse than a cheap Charley pin vise with and off center head, or cockeyed chucks. GRRRRRR! A small set of duckbill pliers makes quick work of bending little its and bitties. Padding the jaws of tools using leather bits is the approved old man trick for more delicate metals. Forceps, clamps, gator clips and the like should always be in arms reach.

                              One never knows they need something, until they find an application for it in mid stride. I see it as a humorous bit of irony, that makes you stop and take a break.
                              Last edited by model murdering; 04-15-2019, 12:52 PM.