Making Welds

Here is a one of the more useful tools and techniques that I accidentally discovered while adding weld beads to my U‑673 boat. I did not want to use putty since it is not well suited to this task and is fairly difficult to get consistent results. I needed to find something quick and most of all... easy.

STEP 1: Adding the Basic Welds

  1. Cement strips of flat strip styrene (I used 0.010 x 0.020" flat strip styrene from Evergreen), to the model using liquid cement (I use Tenax-7R liquid cement).
  2. Sand the strips so they are very thin.

Cement flat strip styrene to the model Sand the styrene strips so they are very thin


STEP 2: Making the Weld Bead Tool

  1. Take a small (3/4") nail and cut the head off (with a Dremel cutting disk).
  2. Cut off the pointed end.
  3. Grind one end on a sharp 30° angle.
  4. Clean up any rough edges with a file or sanding stick.
  5. Mount the tool in a micro drill handle.

Take a small nail... ... cut off both ends... grind one end on an angle... ... and mount in a micro drill handle


STEP 3: Enhance the Weld Bead

  1. Soften the strip styrene with liquid cement.
  2. Using the tool, press the sharp rounded tip into the strip styrene on an angle so you get a curved indent.
  3. Move the tool tip back VERY SLIGHTLY on the strip styrene, and press in again.
  4. Repeat along the length of the strip styrene.
  5. Apply liquid cement to the bead to soften the edges slightly (and keep it in place.)

Press the tool tip into the softened strip styrene Detail view of a finished weld Detail view of a finished weld The vertical weld beads are easy to distinguish


Evolution of the Technique

The tool & technique I discovered is similar to that used by armour modellers to create weld beads. They use an Xacto blade with a broken tip to score plastic; but I don't know if they use a plastic strip as the foundation for the bead.

I feel that using my tool is safer to use than a broken Xacto blade... no sharp edges to have to worry about other than the tip.

Which do YOU think is safer to use?

AND... using my tool & technique gives more realistic weld beads, since it imparts the proper semi-circular arc to the bead and allows the bead to dome up. Using the tip of a broken blade gives flat scores and does not make the plastic dome up.

Comparison of methods


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