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Using shim brass for details


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hello all,

 

just joined and posted a WIP on a Sea Fury I am converting. Doogs asked how I use brass to create details so here is a little infomercial about the technique I use...

 

First get the right brass - I use K&S shim which I get off Amazon - it's about £8 GBP for this pack which has four thicknesses:

 

0.01 - thinner than paper but good for the 'T' part of T stringers & rivet details and skinning cowlings / control surfaces etc where there is a plastic or kit part substrate

0.02 - multi-purpose - general detailing but not self supporting as it's not rigid enough

0.03 - ideal for replacing panels - self supporting and rigid

0.05 - used as internal cores for control surfaces, will give a razor sharpe thin trailling edge

 

..this is the pack..

 

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..draw out the shape you want in pencil...

 

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..get a bit of perspex - I got this offcut for £1 GBP..

 

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,,,tape the sheet to the perspex and cut straight lines with a scalpel - use new blades as thin brass will tear..

 

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..cut curves with scissors or snips..these are just cheap IKEA scissors...

 

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..once cut out you can see the edges are a bit flared & bent...

 

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..tape the part down and burnish the edges with a hard, curved surface - in this case scissor handles..

 

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...use a rivet wheel to add detail - either the depression for flush rivets, or the dome it creates for domed rivets. You can vary the size by either riveting straight onto the perspex for the smallest depression...

 

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..onto a bit of tape for a bigger impression..

 

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..or onto a cutting mat for the deepest impression..

 

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..you may be able to see the subtle differences in rivet size here - you will also see the part has bent along the lines of rivets - no problem we sort that later..

 

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..you can scribe access panels etc - I use a pin in a pin vise - tape the two down so things don't move about...

 

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..add fasteners etc..

 

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..the detail looks a bit 'blown' for now - no worries we sort that out later too..

 

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..if the part will need bending, then we need to 'anneal' the brass - no witchcraft here - just hold it over a flame until it glows - afterwards dip it in water to cool..

 

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..now we tape the part down and burnish all that 'quilting' where the part got deformed...

 

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.. I like to clean the part up so onto a sanding pad - sometimes it's hard to get it to move as it's so thin it just grips the pad - get a bit of white tac / blu tack to make it move..

 

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..you can bend it if needed - I use a tool - before I had this it was just as easy with a steel rule and a blade..

 

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...if the part is curved - tape one end to something of a smaller diameter and work away from the end you taped down...

 

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..here is our demo part - it can now be primed - I use Mr Metal primer..

 

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..I use this method for a lot of parts - I find it easier and certainly more realistic than plastic - it's easy - give it a go!

 

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hope that inspires someone to try it - the method revolutionised how I go about detailing..

 

TTFN

Peter @ airscale

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Peter

 

Looks useful. I do similar but much less extensive work with alu from food containers, drinks cans etc... does the brass have an advantage..?

 

Also, I noted in the photo of what looked like the Sea Fury's engine access panels, that you have some 'U' section brass profile bent to the curve of the panel... Is this merely a case of annealing or are there other elements to getting it to bend like that without 'crumpling'...?

 

Matt

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hi folks - glad it was useful..

 

 

In being in ore of this, I forgot to ask how does the Brass take with have holes/circles punched into it?

 

 

Hi Dave - I have punched all of the thicknesses successfully, and you can drill all but the thinnest foil stuff as it tears..

 

 

Peter

 

Looks useful. I do similar but much less extensive work with alu from food containers, drinks cans etc... does the brass have an advantage..?

 

Also, I noted in the photo of what looked like the Sea Fury's engine access panels, that you have some 'U' section brass profile bent to the curve of the panel... Is this merely a case of annealing or are there other elements to getting it to bend like that without 'crumpling'...?

 

Matt

 

 

Hi Matt - I am not sure if there are advantages - I just prefer working with it and it can have better torsional stiffness than alu so tends to keep it's shape better

 

as for bending 'U' channel, I didn't anneal it, just worked it around a small spray can - I think because the open part of the 'U' was on the outside thats why it didn't kink or crumple - if I had to bend it the other way it might

 

TTFN

Peter

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This is great information - thank you!

 

I have a related question. I'm going to need to form the cowling for my Camel build, as that part is not included in the "skeleton" kit that I'm building. Absent a lathe, is there a decent approach for converting sheet stock (or soda cans) into deep concave shapes?

 

Enquiring minds! :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

That is great.  Thanks very much.

Love the approach, the good old fashioned engineering of it and just the sheer skill involved.

I've always thought scratching parts to be complicated, this makes it look, whilst obviously not, much easier.

Thanks again,

J.

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