Author Topic: Looking for suggestions on multiple window openings in N scale large buildings.  (Read 2327 times)

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thomasjmdavis

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I am hoping some of you are willing to share some of your techniques on cutting multiple, matching window and door openings.  I am planning to build several large multi-floor buildings, and at least one long freight house- it will be one story, but have several dozen loading doors and windows. I am hoping to produce reasonably accurate representations of actual buildings, kitbashing structures is not a viable option as current offerings don't have the right details, and the modular wall systems currently available won't get the job done either.  So I am looking for methods to produce a bunch of door and window  openings with multiples of the same size, where size, spacing and level are all important and need to be consistent.  I could do this with careful measuring and cutting with an Xacto, but that will get pretty boring after several weeks of cutting.

Basic materials (as planned) will be styrene sheet backing and the primary finish surface will be N Scale Architect brick sheet.
Tom D.

If you don't know what it is, don't throw it out.

Santa Fe Guy

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 There is a tool that can be inserted into a drill press or hand held sold by Micro-Mark that is like a right angle chisel. It is used to cut square corners in styrene as you are describing. I borrowed a friends and I used it to cut many windows in a scratch built elevator.
It takes a bit of practice to get it right but well worth it.
Check out their catalogue or web page.
Rod.
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Kentuckian

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Several years ago a friend in the N-trak club had another member who was a machinist make a rectangular steel punch the same size as the window castings he was using to build a stamp mill. The machinist also took a plexiglass plate about 1/4” thick or so and cut a rectangular hole just slightly larger than the punch. He also made a small plate with the same size rectangular hole out of plexiglass and mounted this slightly above the larger plate and raised it above the larger plate using washers. The holes in the two plates lined up vertically.

So the styrene sheet would fit between the upper and lower plates. The builder lined everything up, then one blow with a hammer to the punch punched the window hole out. Very neat.
Modeling the C&O in Kentucky.

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Lemosteam

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If you have a drafting table with a parallel, you can tape the styrene down and lay out the window locations in pencil.  Use the parallel for all of the horizontal cuts, use a triangle to make all of the vertical cuts.  That is how I created many architectural models for competitions in school, back in the day.

amato1969

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@thomasjmdavis you could use .040 or .060 styrene strip to "jigsaw" your core together with door/window openings pre-planned.  Then you would only have to Xacto the thinner brick sheet to make the openings.

  Frank

Ed Kapuscinski

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Jigs. Make jigs.

wazzou

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Look into a Silhouette cutter if you have a lot of them to do.

Check out this thread starting at about post #110
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=40799.105
Bryan

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thomasjmdavis

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Thanks all, for the suggestions. 

A couple are  sort of embarrassing, as in "why didn't I think of that?"  I will give it a go with a combination of the various ideas.

Anyway, to get started, I will be digging out my old portable drafting board with parallel.  This has been in a closet for several years. 
And I need to go through my woodworking stuff. I have (or used to have) variants of the devices described by SF Guy and Kentuckian.  & this is also where jigs come in- to be able to quickly position the tool and work out a method to standardize spacing in between.
I 've been considering a Silhouette or similar machine for several years.  I am sure it would also be useful to create passenger car sides and similar projects. Maybe the time has come.  If I want to be able to cut out windows in .040 styrene, do any of the machines have sufficient capacity?

Tom D.

If you don't know what it is, don't throw it out.

wazzou

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RE: the .040 Styrene, what I’d consider is to make the interior or structural walls as parts that would have no Styrene in areas that you want to have windows located and use thinner Styrene as overlays for walls with the window cutouts in them so that they lineup over the thick puzzle pieces, if that makes sense.
Bryan

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gary60s

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 Look at my scratch sketch sets. Most of them show how I cut window openings with the Micro-Mark corner punch. You need to start out with a PDF plan view of your walls first. Rubber cement the PDF to your material and then punch out the openings.
Gary

thomasjmdavis

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RE: the .040 Styrene, what I’d consider is to make the interior or structural walls as parts that would have no Styrene in areas that you want to have windows located and use thinner Styrene as overlays for walls with the window cutouts in them so that they lineup over the thick puzzle pieces, if that makes sense.
I was thinking along that line for this project.  Anything that would need to be .040 thick could be scribed (if the machine is capable of small z axis adjustment, or some other method of incising the lines without going all the way through).  The question about cutting capability is more just to determine whether it's worth the investment, and what other projects (not necessarily model) I might be able to use it for.  For the time being, this may be a moot point, at least for a Silhouette, since the software is not available in a Linux version, which is the operating system I use.  It is possible I can get it to work through the Wine utility, but I have found that very hit or miss with software generally, and graphics in particular.

Tom D.

If you don't know what it is, don't throw it out.

sirenwerks

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Look into a Silhouette cutter if you have a lot of them to do.

Check out this thread starting at about post #110
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=40799.105


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thomasjmdavis

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This.

My problem with the Silhouette is that as far as I can tell, the software is not compatible with my Linux operating system.  The "wine" utility might or might not render it usable.  Does anyone out there use a Silhouette with on Ubuntu or Debian based systems?
Tom D.

If you don't know what it is, don't throw it out.

Maletrain

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I thought I read somewhere on TRW that the Silhouette cutters were not so great for square corner openings because the blade rotates and creates a small radius at a 90 degree direction change.

SkipGear

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Not done with a silhouette but with my standard run of the mill Roland vinyl cutter. It can't cut all the way through but it scores the lines and you can the break out the parts you need or finish the job with a knife. Even the bricks were scored with the vinyl cutter. Even if you need to file the corners a bit, it still better than trying to free hand the whole thing.



Tony Hines