Armor/AFV: Techniques
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Constructing PE Hinges
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California, United States
Joined: October 21, 2007
KitMaker: 3,684 posts
Armorama: 2,938 posts
Posted: Sunday, August 02, 2009 - 09:16 AM UTC
I've been seeing a few builds lately incorporating workable PE hinges and thought I'd throw this together quickly to show how I go about building these, using the Griffon Model 38(t) hinges. Maybe this is common knowledge, but I found it to be an intimidating experience at first...and avoided them like the plague. These are set up nicely in a row so I do 5 at a time, but they can also be done separately.

Hopefully others will share their techniques........

First off is the tools I use....rigid cutting board, #11 blade, #80 drill bit, Xuron PE cutters...also, not shown, pointed tweezers and Gator's Glue.

Heat and naturally cool the hinges (what we commonly refer to as annealing) to get rid of the 'spring' and make forming them easier. Cut the end of what will be the 'knuckle' of the hinge and leave the 'wing' attached to the sprue. On this Griffon set, they alternate but still line up in a row for bending.

These call for a .3mm wire to be used as the hinge 'pin', so using a #80 drill bit and the tip of the #11 blade, I bend the first and last knuckles over. I use the drill bit instead of wire since I usually mangle the wire up in the process, and the bit remains nice and straight.

Once the bit is held in place , the rest are easy...use the blade and tweezers to form the remaining knuckles and then pull the bit out. These can be removed from the sprue now.

I use PE cutters to trim away the excess from the other half of the hinges, but all that's really needed is to cut the ends as above and form these knuckles the same way. After all the knuckles are formed, line up the hinge halves, insert the wire, and before pushing it through the last knuckle put a dab of adhesive on the wire. Now push the wire through the last knuckle and use tweezers to pinch the knuckles snug.

Finally, use a damp brush to wipe away the excess glue and cut the wire flush.....remove the finished hinge from the sprue. That's it...workable hinges in just a matter of minutes!

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South Carolina, United States
Joined: December 14, 2006
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Posted: Sunday, August 02, 2009 - 09:38 AM UTC

Thank you for providing a clear and simple method that can be used for this and other types of PE folds I think, as long as the PE manufacturer has created their frets with this arrangement.
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Utah, United States
Joined: December 14, 2007
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Posted: Sunday, August 02, 2009 - 09:49 AM UTC
This is extremely useful. Thanks for posting the demo.
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Vendee, France
Joined: December 22, 2006
KitMaker: 1,437 posts
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Posted: Sunday, August 02, 2009 - 10:47 AM UTC
thanks a lot James, it's really helpful. Will ad it to my favourites at once.

Staff MemberConsigliere
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Florida, United States
Joined: October 17, 2003
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Posted: Sunday, August 02, 2009 - 01:09 PM UTC
Nice little SBS James.
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Colorado, United States
Joined: December 24, 2005
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Posted: Sunday, August 02, 2009 - 01:37 PM UTC
Cool. Have to try with the M3 75mm stuff. Different hinge, don't have the drill bit with me. Paperclip? I'll let you know.

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Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: January 31, 2003
KitMaker: 795 posts
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Posted: Monday, August 03, 2009 - 12:16 AM UTC
Thats a neat trick. I wonder why I didnt think of that myself?
Thanks for sharing.

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New Jersey, United States
Joined: January 09, 2008
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Posted: Monday, August 03, 2009 - 04:31 AM UTC
$%^#ing brilliant! Never thought to leave 'em on the sprue while working them.

This should be turned into a feature IMO.
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
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Posted: Monday, August 03, 2009 - 06:18 AM UTC
Very simple and effective technique James, the drill bit is the key since it provides a consistent diameter to work with so all the hinges are the same. Will definitely file this one away for future use.
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California, United States
Joined: October 21, 2007
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Posted: Monday, August 03, 2009 - 01:58 PM UTC
Thanks for the replies everybody, I'm happy if it helped a little