Topics

Accurate measured cutting of styrene sheets

Andy Carlson
 

I have acquired three paper cutters over the last 5 years. One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck.

I have found myself using the cutter more and more for making styrene pieces. My go-to method in the past was to use a dedicated dial caliper with one of the jaw points sharpened. I could scribe a full length line by dragging the non-sharpened jaw along the styrene edge, with the other jaw leaving a nice line. Place an exacto knife point into the scribe, and place the metal straight edge up to the knife blade and an accurate cut was assured. I did have to make a cheat compensation from the measured to exact differences, which in my case 0.003".

Now I simply use the depth pointer on the dial caliper to extend the caliper from the cutting edge of the paper cutter and slide the styrene sheet to the blocking point of the depth gauge. Aligning the styrene to the square lines on the base platform keeps the squareness assured. The beauty of this is the measurements are exact!

Another beauty of this paper cutter is the nice, straight edges without any left behind relic items which need follow up attention. The accuracy I achieve is down to 0.001". I have cut up to 0.040" though I am concerned that perhaps thicker styrene may hasten the dulling of the steel blade.

I needed to make a scale 1/2 inch by 2 inch door track protector, which was 5 foot long, on a wooden box car. I needed to make 4 or more attempts to get the perfect cut, but I was super pleased with the results. With this small of a cut, I simply eyeballed the sizes and kept trying to get to where I was satisfied. For this door track piece, I sliced an Avery peel and stick address label. When finished with the slicing, I peeled off the backing and the tiny track strip went down with good adhesion. I am super pleased with the scale size and strength.

I am 68 years old and I am still learning and trying new ideas!

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

Rob & Bev Manley
 

Andy,
Some of the tricks we do are so matter of fact that we never think of passing it on to the rest of the group. When I've done my Pan Pastel clinics I am amazed at the questions that are asked. I am also honored that the group is asking me. I have a similar paper cutter from my printing days. I used mine to cut sheet lead harvested from a roof vent that came off my house. It was for my CB&Q coal gons. They were a perfect fit and all sides were square. 

Rob Manley
"Better modeling through personal embarrassment"


On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 04:39:01 PM CDT, Andy Carlson <midcentury@...> wrote:


I have acquired three paper cutters over the last 5 years. One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck.

I have found myself using the cutter more and more for making styrene pieces. My go-to method in the past was to use a dedicated dial caliper with one of the jaw points sharpened. I could scribe a full length line by dragging the non-sharpened jaw along the styrene edge, with the other jaw leaving a nice line. Place an exacto knife point into the scribe, and place the metal straight edge up to the knife blade and an accurate cut was assured. I did have to make a cheat compensation from the measured to exact differences, which in my case 0.003".

Now I simply use the depth pointer on the dial caliper to extend the caliper from the cutting edge of the paper cutter and slide the styrene sheet to the blocking point of the depth gauge. Aligning the styrene to the square lines on the base platform keeps the squareness assured. The beauty of this is the measurements are exact!

Another beauty of this paper cutter is the nice, straight edges without any left behind relic items which need follow up attention. The accuracy I achieve is down to 0.001". I have cut up to 0.040" though I am concerned that perhaps thicker styrene may hasten the dulling of the steel blade.

I needed to make a scale 1/2 inch by 2 inch door track protector, which was 5 foot long, on a wooden box car. I needed to make 4 or more attempts to get the perfect cut, but I was super pleased with the results. With this small of a cut, I simply eyeballed the sizes and kept trying to get to where I was satisfied. For this door track piece, I sliced an Avery peel and stick address label. When finished with the slicing, I peeled off the backing and the tiny track strip went down with good adhesion. I am super pleased with the scale size and strength.

I am 68 years old and I am still learning and trying new ideas!

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

Tim O'Connor
 


Andy, I totally agree. I liked my rotary paper cutter so much that I bought a larger one - 18". Blades can be replaced
when they wear out, so I don't worry about that.



On 5/6/2020 5:38 PM, Andy Carlson wrote:
I have acquired three paper cutters over the last 5 years. One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck.

I have found myself using the cutter more and more for making styrene pieces. My go-to method in the past was to use a dedicated dial caliper with one of the jaw points sharpened. I could scribe a full length line by dragging the non-sharpened jaw along the styrene edge, with the other jaw leaving a nice line. Place an exacto knife point into the scribe, and place the metal straight edge up to the knife blade and an accurate cut was assured. I did have to make a cheat compensation from the measured to exact differences, which in my case 0.003".

Now I simply use the depth pointer on the dial caliper to extend the caliper from the cutting edge of the paper cutter and slide the styrene sheet to the blocking point of the depth gauge. Aligning the styrene to the square lines on the base platform keeps the squareness assured. The beauty of this is the measurements are exact!

Another beauty of this paper cutter is the nice, straight edges without any left behind relic items which need follow up attention. The accuracy I achieve is down to 0.001". I have cut up to 0.040" though I am concerned that perhaps thicker styrene may hasten the dulling of the steel blade.

I needed to make a scale 1/2 inch by 2 inch door track protector, which was 5 foot long, on a wooden box car. I needed to make 4 or more attempts to get the perfect cut, but I was super pleased with the results. With this small of a cut, I simply eyeballed the sizes and kept trying to get to where I was satisfied. For this door track piece, I sliced an Avery peel and stick address label. When finished with the slicing, I peeled off the backing and the tiny track strip went down with good adhesion. I am super pleased with the scale size and strength.

I am 68 years old and I am still learning and trying new ideas!

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts

Eric Hansmann
 

IIRC, Wayne Wesoloski had an article in RMC years ago that converted a disc blade paper cutter to work with sheet styrene. I do not remember the exact issue. 


Eric Hansmann
Murfreesboro, TN

On May 6, 2020, at 5:25 PM, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


Andy, I totally agree. I liked my rotary paper cutter so much that I bought a larger one - 18". Blades can be replaced
when they wear out, so I don't worry about that.
_._,_._,_

Claus Schlund \(HGM\)
 

Hi Andy,
 
I have used a paper cutter in the past myself. One thing I found is that when cutting long narrow strips, there is a tendency for the styrene to develop a bit of a curl, and then it is difficult to use the strip as a long straight piece because the curl makes it want to lift up and/or not lay straight when used. Have you also had this experience? If so, how do you handle this?
 
Claus Schlund
 
 

From: Andy Carlson
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 5:38 PM
To: STMFC
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Accurate measured cutting of styrene sheets
 
I have acquired three paper cutters over the last 5 years. One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck.
 
I have found myself using the cutter more and more for making styrene pieces. My go-to method in the past was to use a dedicated dial caliper with one of the jaw points sharpened. I could scribe a full length line by dragging the non-sharpened jaw along the styrene edge, with the other jaw leaving a nice line. Place an exacto knife point into the scribe, and place the metal straight edge up to the knife blade and an accurate cut was assured. I did have to make a cheat compensation from the measured to exact differences, which in my case 0.003".
 
Now I simply use the depth pointer on the dial caliper to extend the caliper from the cutting edge of the paper cutter and slide the styrene sheet to the blocking point of the depth gauge. Aligning the styrene to the square lines on the base platform keeps the squareness assured. The beauty of this is the measurements are exact!
 
Another beauty of this paper cutter is the nice, straight edges without any left behind relic items which need follow up attention. The accuracy I achieve is down to 0.001". I have cut up to 0.040" though I am concerned that perhaps thicker styrene may hasten the dulling of the steel blade.
 
I needed to make a scale 1/2 inch by 2 inch door track protector, which was 5 foot long, on a wooden box car. I needed to make 4 or more attempts to get the perfect cut, but I was super pleased with the results. With this small of a cut, I simply eyeballed the sizes and kept trying to get to where I was satisfied. For this door track piece, I sliced an Avery peel and stick address label. When finished with the slicing, I peeled off the backing and the tiny track strip went down with good adhesion. I am super pleased with the scale size and strength.
 
I am 68 years old and I am still learning and trying new ideas!
 
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

Richard Brennan
 

At 02:38 PM 5/6/2020, Andy Carlson wrote:
One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck. <snip>
Agree 100%:
The most useful, albeit probably not the most important 'find' in my Mother's estate:
was the 19in by 19in Martin-Yale Premiere paper cutter with the green cross-hatched 3/4in wood base and HEAVY steel cutting edge.
From the back of the spring-loaded pivot to the end of the handle, the cutting arm is 27 inches long!
Finger guard? WHAT finger guard???

With the exception of corrugated cardboard and light foamcore... I don't cut more than 0.030 / 1/32 in.
It makes short and accurate work of anything rigid enough to align with the metal back fence;
including styrene, card stock, decal paper and up to 10 sheets of laser bond.

I need to be careful with glassine paper and tissue, as they tend to creep as the cut progresses...
but if I really needed them to be exact, I could just sandwich them between sheets of cover stock, and then cut.

The down-side; Taking-up nearly 4 square feet of flat surface.
The redemption, with the cutting arm down and secured, it fits vertically between the leg of a table and the wall!

Next time you see one... ask if it might be available!


--------------------
Richard Brennan - San Leandro CA
--------------------

Andy Carlson
 

I have found that dropping the blade handle super fast helps in getting less curl. Makes me fill like I am reinacting the French Revolution. I also place the cuts furthest out to where the blade is dropping down with less angle to the cut.

I will try an experiment where I am cutting a long, slim piece.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 4:35:29 PM PDT, Claus Schlund \(HGM\) <claus@...> wrote:


Hi Andy,
 
I have used a paper cutter in the past myself. One thing I found is that when cutting long narrow strips, there is a tendency for the styrene to develop a bit of a curl, and then it is difficult to use the strip as a long straight piece because the curl makes it want to lift up and/or not lay straight when used. Have you also had this experience? If so, how do you handle this?
 
Claus Schlund
 
 
From: Andy Carlson
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 5:38 PM
To: STMFC
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Accurate measured cutting of styrene sheets
 
I have acquired three paper cutters over the last 5 years. One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck.
 
I have found myself using the cutter more and more for making styrene pieces. My go-to method in the past was to use a dedicated dial caliper with one of the jaw points sharpened. I could scribe a full length line by dragging the non-sharpened jaw along the styrene edge, with the other jaw leaving a nice line. Place an exacto knife point into the scribe, and place the metal straight edge up to the knife blade and an accurate cut was assured. I did have to make a cheat compensation from the measured to exact differences, which in my case 0.003".
 
Now I simply use the depth pointer on the dial caliper to extend the caliper from the cutting edge of the paper cutter and slide the styrene sheet to the blocking point of the depth gauge. Aligning the styrene to the square lines on the base platform keeps the squareness assured. The beauty of this is the measurements are exact!
 
Another beauty of this paper cutter is the nice, straight edges without any left behind relic items which need follow up attention. The accuracy I achieve is down to 0.001". I have cut up to 0.040" though I am concerned that perhaps thicker styrene may hasten the dulling of the steel blade.
 
I needed to make a scale 1/2 inch by 2 inch door track protector, which was 5 foot long, on a wooden box car. I needed to make 4 or more attempts to get the perfect cut, but I was super pleased with the results. With this small of a cut, I simply eyeballed the sizes and kept trying to get to where I was satisfied. For this door track piece, I sliced an Avery peel and stick address label. When finished with the slicing, I peeled off the backing and the tiny track strip went down with good adhesion. I am super pleased with the scale size and strength.
 
I am 68 years old and I am still learning and trying new ideas!
 
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

Claus Schlund \(HGM\)
 

Thanks Andy for the helpful reply on this!
 
Claus Schlund
 

From: Andy Carlson
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 8:54 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Accurate measured cutting of styrene sheets
 
I have found that dropping the blade handle super fast helps in getting less curl. Makes me fill like I am reinacting the French Revolution. I also place the cuts furthest out to where the blade is dropping down with less angle to the cut.
 
I will try an experiment where I am cutting a long, slim piece.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA
 
On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 4:35:29 PM PDT, Claus Schlund \(HGM\) <claus@...> wrote:
 
 
Hi Andy,
 
I have used a paper cutter in the past myself. One thing I found is that when cutting long narrow strips, there is a tendency for the styrene to develop a bit of a curl, and then it is difficult to use the strip as a long straight piece because the curl makes it want to lift up and/or not lay straight when used. Have you also had this experience? If so, how do you handle this?
 
Claus Schlund
 
 
From: Andy Carlson
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 5:38 PM
To: STMFC
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Accurate measured cutting of styrene sheets
 
I have acquired three paper cutters over the last 5 years. One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck.
 
I have found myself using the cutter more and more for making styrene pieces. My go-to method in the past was to use a dedicated dial caliper with one of the jaw points sharpened. I could scribe a full length line by dragging the non-sharpened jaw along the styrene edge, with the other jaw leaving a nice line. Place an exacto knife point into the scribe, and place the metal straight edge up to the knife blade and an accurate cut was assured. I did have to make a cheat compensation from the measured to exact differences, which in my case 0.003".
 
Now I simply use the depth pointer on the dial caliper to extend the caliper from the cutting edge of the paper cutter and slide the styrene sheet to the blocking point of the depth gauge. Aligning the styrene to the square lines on the base platform keeps the squareness assured. The beauty of this is the measurements are exact!
 
Another beauty of this paper cutter is the nice, straight edges without any left behind relic items which need follow up attention. The accuracy I achieve is down to 0.001". I have cut up to 0.040" though I am concerned that perhaps thicker styrene may hasten the dulling of the steel blade.
 
I needed to make a scale 1/2 inch by 2 inch door track protector, which was 5 foot long, on a wooden box car. I needed to make 4 or more attempts to get the perfect cut, but I was super pleased with the results. With this small of a cut, I simply eyeballed the sizes and kept trying to get to where I was satisfied. For this door track piece, I sliced an Avery peel and stick address label. When finished with the slicing, I peeled off the backing and the tiny track strip went down with good adhesion. I am super pleased with the scale size and strength.
 
I am 68 years old and I am still learning and trying new ideas!
 
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

Schuyler Larrabee
 

“dropping down with less angle to the cut”

 

I think that’s key . . .

 

Schuyler

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Andy Carlson
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 8:55 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Accurate measured cutting of styrene sheets

 

I have found that dropping the blade handle super fast helps in getting less curl. Makes me fill like I am reinacting the French Revolution. I also place the cuts furthest out to where the blade is dropping down with less angle to the cut.

 

I will try an experiment where I am cutting a long, slim piece.

-Andy Carlson

Ojai CA

 

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 4:35:29 PM PDT, Claus Schlund \(HGM\) <claus@...> wrote:

 

 

Hi Andy,

 

I have used a paper cutter in the past myself. One thing I found is that when cutting long narrow strips, there is a tendency for the styrene to develop a bit of a curl, and then it is difficult to use the strip as a long straight piece because the curl makes it want to lift up and/or not lay straight when used. Have you also had this experience? If so, how do you handle this?

 

Claus Schlund

 

 

From: Andy Carlson

Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 5:38 PM

To: STMFC

Subject: [RealSTMFC] Accurate measured cutting of styrene sheets

 

I have acquired three paper cutters over the last 5 years. One was a little used large model with a cast steel slicer and a hard wood deck.

 

I have found myself using the cutter more and more for making styrene pieces. My go-to method in the past was to use a dedicated dial caliper with one of the jaw points sharpened. I could scribe a full length line by dragging the non-sharpened jaw along the styrene edge, with the other jaw leaving a nice line. Place an exacto knife point into the scribe, and place the metal straight edge up to the knife blade and an accurate cut was assured. I did have to make a cheat compensation from the measured to exact differences, which in my case 0.003".

 

Now I simply use the depth pointer on the dial caliper to extend the caliper from the cutting edge of the paper cutter and slide the styrene sheet to the blocking point of the depth gauge. Aligning the styrene to the square lines on the base platform keeps the squareness assured. The beauty of this is the measurements are exact!

 

Another beauty of this paper cutter is the nice, straight edges without any left behind relic items which need follow up attention. The accuracy I achieve is down to 0.001". I have cut up to 0.040" though I am concerned that perhaps thicker styrene may hasten the dulling of the steel blade.

 

I needed to make a scale 1/2 inch by 2 inch door track protector, which was 5 foot long, on a wooden box car. I needed to make 4 or more attempts to get the perfect cut, but I was super pleased with the results. With this small of a cut, I simply eyeballed the sizes and kept trying to get to where I was satisfied. For this door track piece, I sliced an Avery peel and stick address label. When finished with the slicing, I peeled off the backing and the tiny track strip went down with good adhesion. I am super pleased with the scale size and strength.

 

I am 68 years old and I am still learning and trying new ideas!

 

-Andy Carlson

Ojai CA

Fred Swanson
 

I have onr of those old green ones. the blade on the table can be turned to use the back side. The one on the guillotine can be flipped. Snug the screws and check for squareness tap it until it is and tighten.
Fred Swanson

Tim O'Connor
 

3M Magic Tape spanning both sides of the cut.

=======================

Hi Andy,
I have used a paper cutter in the past myself. One thing I found is that when cutting long narrow strips, there is a tendency for the styrene to develop a bit of a curl, and then it is difficult to use the strip as a long straight piece because the curl makes it want to lift up and/or not lay straight when used. Have you also had this experience? If so, how do you handle this?
Claus Schlund


--
*Tim O'Connor*
*Sterling, Massachusetts*