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Hey guys! I am wondering if anybody can give me some tips and techniques for filing in seem lines on a model aircraft . Way i do it is i put a modeling puddy over the seam and wait for it to dry then i sand it down but there always scratch marks from the sandpaper.

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I think you might need to find a better quality sandpaper. I use the Testors packs and fill seams the same way you described (I usually fill with Mr. Disolved putty) and almost never get visible scrathes. While not SUPER great for aircraft because they are sticks (even though I use them on the few aircraft I have built), I can highly reccomend these sanding sticks......The KISS 4 way ultra shiner..... It has Blue/Red/Gray/White surfaces.

 

http://www.kissusa.com/nails/beauty_tools/nail_files

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I believe Mark is right....you're using the right technique, but the wrong sanding stuff. If you're getting a lot of scratches then your paper or sticks are too coarse. Get finer grades and the problem should improve or go away.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Two sources for sanding "stuff".

 

Try a car parts store or automotive department of a discount/hardware store. If they have touch up paints, they will probably have wet and dry sand paper in grades from 100 up to ridiculously fine.

 

Try a discount store in the makeup department. Go to where the manicure supplies are kept. They have the same sanding sticks up to extremely fine grades good for polishing out clear parts for half the price of hobby shops.

 

When you do sand, don't do it all in one direction. Try to used an orbital motion if possible or at least move the angle around. That way any scratch in one plane can be eliminated by motion in another.

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A store that sells automotive paint products is a good place to get sandpaper. You can get grits down to 2000 at least. Using wet or dry sandpaper with water increases the effective smoothness of the sanding and also makes the paper last longer and softens it so it conforms to the shape of what you're sanding better. I got a pack of about 100 sheets each of 2000 grit and 1200 grit for about 20 bucks apiece at a "swap meet" at a car show from one of those tables that sell cheap tools. They'll probably last the rest of my life.

 

You can also make sanding blocks by using double stick foam picture mounting tape to fasten sandpaper to balsa wood sticks, or even just wrapping the sandpaper around both sides of the double stick foam tape. It has enough rigidity to make a fairly good sanding pad all by itself.

 

Also, all model putties aren't the same. The finer the grain of the putty, the better it will fill small scratches and "feather" out to a thin edge. I use 3M Acryl Blue (also from an auto-paint store), there's also Acryl Green and Red. I'm not sure what the exact differences are but the blue is a very pale shade and paint covers it well. Any automotive putty listed as a "glazing putty" will work. They're laquer based and so they stink and shrink, but they dry so fast you can apply multiple thin coats, allowing each to dry and be sanded in one modeling session with no problem.

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Only other bit of advice for sanding: if you're used to the way sandpaper works on wood, you have to recalibrate your idea of what is "coarse". 220 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper will chew through styrene surprisingly fast; you only use this when you're intentionally trying to reshape parts. If you just want to smooth out seam work, start with 320 or 400 grit to knock down the putty, then move to 600 or 800 (and beyond) to remove the scratches.

 

Don

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One other thing that may help is a flexi-file. It's great for round surfaces. There are different grit sanding ribbons to use on it. This way you won't get flat spots on a curved surface. unless you really go to town with it. Great tool...reasonably cheap, lot of uses.

 

Bill

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