Author Topic: To Skibbe  (Read 1279 times)

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Alaska Railroader

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To Skibbe
« on: February 04, 2013, 09:29:27 PM »
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I have to write on the blackboard 100 times "Yes I can laser cut styrene".
In order to successfully fulfill a contract to do the decks to 3 submarine scale models I had to laser cut styrene. I thought "Oh no, I can't do it!" On top of that I had to etch on both sides of each section. You win Skibbe, I learned how to do it running the laser cool but the down side is I had to run it many times over and over just to get the job done.

The other disadvantage is that styrene remains uneconomical to use for affordable model kits. But that's OK, I learned how to do this and to admit to you I did.

This is one half of the tower deck.
https://picasaweb.google.com/114371775303381702075/HenryStimson1200Sub

 :o

Sokramiketes

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 08:25:52 AM »
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Yeah!   :)

The etching is the cleanest I've seen in styrene.  Are you saying you feed the same part through multiple times to slowly etch the details, or that you ran it many times over and over until you found the proper settings to do it in one pass?  I wasn't even arguing that etching styrene should be done, but you did it well. 

I'll still argue that cutting styrene can be economical.  I just have to get you to try the tape method to allow faster cutting!  But progress is progress.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 10:20:58 AM by Sokramiketes »
Mike

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fredmoehrle

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 08:32:13 AM »
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What class of sub?
Are they N scale? :D

DKS

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 08:59:14 AM »
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I can't say enough good things about Karin's laser skills. She consistently makes the cleanest, most intricate parts I've ever seen, and can cut parts smaller than a pin head--something the laser manufacturer wasn't aware their machines could even do.
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asarge

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 09:16:10 AM »
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Quote
What class of sub?

SSBN, Polaris/Poseiden/early trident Boomer. Benjamin Franklin class.

Alaska Railroader

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 10:35:57 AM »
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What class of sub?
Are they N scale? :D

USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) Ballistic Missile Submarine, Benjamin Franklin Class, 1:200th scale, sorry its not N, does this make it off topic? :P

Yeah!   :)

The etching is the cleanest I've seen.  Are you saying you feed the same part through multiple times to slowly etch the details, or that you ran it many times over and over until you found the proper settings to do it in one pass?  I wasn't even arguing that etching styrene should be done, but you did it well. 

I'll still argue that cutting styrene can be economical.  I just have to get you to try the tape method to allow faster cutting!  But progress is progress.  ;)

I figured you would appreciate it if I openly shared me eating crow Mike (jk). Thank you for the compliment. With a laser there is no "feeding through" as such. I left the material on the vector table and ran the beam across it multiple times at the coolest setting until I got to the depth I needed (time consuming)

In my research yesterday any website that talked about cutting and etching styrene says that rastering is not recommended yet these subs required it. The cool settings allowed me to raster and the hardest part was turning the piece over in the exact position to raster 3 score lines per side on the underside so that the model builder could carefully bend the last half inch or so downward with a light touch of a heat gun. FYI the rest of the sub will be beautiful wood, they wanted the upper deck etched precisely instead of hand scribing.

Economical? Perhaps if I bought in bulk but this material cost dollars per small sheet whereas I can get just about any other material for much less for the same size. The thickness was .020 and I wouldn't want to use that for a main support wall. Too flimsy. I suppose I could go thicker but I still don't see the advantage over acrylic for fine details. As for taping the cuts, the outside cuts went well and were clean, its the etching that left a but of a raised edge but the modeler will simply lightly sand it. The aft half of the deck was longer and had two rows of missile hatches which took even longer to etch carefully.

I can't say enough good things about Karin's laser skills. She consistently makes the cleanest, most intricate parts I've ever seen, and can cut parts smaller than a pin head--something the laser manufacturer wasn't aware their machines could even do.

That from a business partner who believes in me, something I cherish considering who he is and his level of skill and unparallelled achievements. But I have a feeling he won't be asking me to laser styrene any time in the near future! 

I just felt I owed it to those involved to openly admit what I had to do yesterday.

Bsklarski

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 10:40:17 AM »
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I would be interested in more info on this sub kit.   :scared:
Brian Sklarski
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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 11:00:29 AM »
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I would be interested in more info on this sub kit.   :scared:

This is not a kit, I do laser cutting for a master model ship builder in the Pacific Northwest who provides custom finished museum pieces to a fairly wealthy clientele. This portion of the sub is 14" but it's only the tower deck. I imagine the finished sub is between 2 and 3 feet long.

DKS

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 11:04:43 AM »
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But I have a feeling he won't be asking me to laser styrene any time in the near future!

Certainly not for mastering. It's really hard to beat acrylic for über-clean, accurate cutting. But congratulations, nonetheless, for another feather in your cap!
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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BCR751

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 12:29:07 PM »
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For kit building, I prefer working with styrene.  In my opinion, it's far better than resin plus the fact that I'm allergic to CA which puts a damper on building resin kits without the use of a respirator, a huge PITA !  I've heard that the main reason many kits use resin is that it's easier to cast.  Styrene has to be injection molded which is very expensive due to the equipment required.  Still, I much prefer using styrene and will continue to do so whenever possible.  Karin has proven styrene can be laser cut so things are looking up <g>.

Doug

Sokramiketes

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 02:42:57 PM »
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USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) Ballistic Missile Submarine, Benjamin Franklin Class, 1:200th scale, sorry its not N, does this make it off topic? :P

I figured you would appreciate it if I openly shared me eating crow Mike (jk). Thank you for the compliment. With a laser there is no "feeding through" as such. I left the material on the vector table and ran the beam across it multiple times at the coolest setting until I got to the depth I needed (time consuming)

In my research yesterday any website that talked about cutting and etching styrene says that rastering is not recommended yet these subs required it. The cool settings allowed me to raster and the hardest part was turning the piece over in the exact position to raster 3 score lines per side on the underside so that the model builder could carefully bend the last half inch or so downward with a light touch of a heat gun. FYI the rest of the sub will be beautiful wood, they wanted the upper deck etched precisely instead of hand scribing.

Economical? Perhaps if I bought in bulk but this material cost dollars per small sheet whereas I can get just about any other material for much less for the same size. The thickness was .020 and I wouldn't want to use that for a main support wall. Too flimsy. I suppose I could go thicker but I still don't see the advantage over acrylic for fine details. As for taping the cuts, the outside cuts went well and were clean, its the etching that left a but of a raised edge but the modeler will simply lightly sand it. The aft half of the deck was longer and had two rows of missile hatches which took even longer to etch carefully.

That from a business partner who believes in me, something I cherish considering who he is and his level of skill and unparallelled achievements. But I have a feeling he won't be asking me to laser styrene any time in the near future! 

I just felt I owed it to those involved to openly admit what I had to do yesterday.

We might be getting very far removed from the original recommendation, which was to laser cut embossed brick sheets (which are not available in acrylic)... but here's more history about laser cut styrene:

Modeler's Choice used to offer a load of laser cut styrene kits in HO.  They were introduced in 2004, and I first saw the table at the Naperville Prototype Modeler's Meet that year.  There's some photos of the incredible table of models produced via laser cut styrene in Dave Hussey's Pbase gallery starting here: http://www.pbase.com/dh30973/image/35902090 

Cars like the boxcars featured lasercut sides to be used with injection molded ends and roofs.  While some of the welded gons were entirely cut stryrene. 

It was mostly a labor of love, since Dan Holbrook needed a bunch of specific 70's era cars for his layout, but the kits were for sale for sometime.  They've since been discontinued. 

Remnants of the tape were present on a couple parts.  And while there was a slight lip, all it took was a single edge razorblade drawn across the surface to clean them up before separating from the sheet. 

So again, I'm only saying this is appropriate or necessary for embossed brick sheets, to make kits of brick buildings when laser time is at a premium.  But this laser cutting styrene thing can be used for specific models.

As far as material cost, styrene can be purchased in 4x8 sheets from a plastic supply warehouse.  Not the brick sheet, but if it comes up there are other options versus hobbiest size Evergreen or Plastruct sheet.
Mike

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GimpLizard

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Re: To Skibbe
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 04:50:45 PM »
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A few years ago I had the iodea of laser cutting some track planning templates out of styrene. So I draw up some patterns (for Atlas code 80 sectional track) in CAD and sent them off to an area laser shop. A couple weeks later I received a bag of "track" pieces beautifully cut from .040" thick sheet. The only problem with them was with the interlocking tabs. I hadn't allowed for the width of the beam. So they didn't fit together as tight as I had hoped. I don't know if they had to do any secondary operations to them, but what I received was very clean. With no burrs or raised edges.