Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY Corrugated Metal Sheets

Some time ago I was talking with a friend of mine, a fancy of car models, and I’ve asked him if he knew an online shop where I could find corrugated metal sheets for my models. He looked at me and said: “Just do it yourself!” …and he explained me this method.

The tutorial is ultra easy and in a few minutes we will be able to produce a huuuuge amount of metal sheets!

Note, the tutorial was written in Italian (here) for the painting website I admin along with other friends, so this is the reason why you will see the watermark with the logo of on the pictures.

Ok, let’s begin! We will need some instruments we can easily find in any hardware store: cyanoacrylate glue (or any fast-drying glue), two small chunks of wood or of MDF, some toothpicks and a latten (copper or tin) to mold.

It is time to build the printing press itself.
We need two small pieces of wood or MDF (I usually use this material) of quite small thickness, at least 1 cm. The ones shown in the pictures have the dimensions of 10x5 cm.

Let’s glue the toothpicks, alternating an empty space with a filled one. We can use a toothpick that we did not glue to separate the small sticks. I suggest to leave slightly bigger gaps between the toothpicks since it will be helpful if you are going to use a thicker latten.
With the cyanoacrylate glue we can speed up the gluing process of the small sticks.

Now we have to arrange the second piece of MDF over the first and with a pencil let’s mark the empty spaces in order to glue the second row of toothpicks.

We have to repeat this phase on both sides.

We glue the second set of toothpicks remembering to check if the two halves fit with one other. I suggest you to make this check after every toothpick glued and not only at the end of the procedure.

Our pressing mold is ready!

Take a latter and put it on the bed of toothpicks. Put the first halve of our tool over the second one. You can use the pointy ends of the toothpicks as a guide to help yourself aligning the MDF.

Press the mold increasing the pressure. I’ve noticed that you can obtain better results on the final corrugated metal sheet if you push with more strength on one side first and then on the other instead of pushing with a constant pressure on the whole surface.

Remove the top of the mold and here it is! Your corrugated metal sheet is ready for your model!

You can obtain different shapes of the metal sheet using different kind of toothpicks (maybe even flat hard metal bands) of leaving bigger gaps between the sticks.

Enjoy yourself!

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