It is not necessary to mention that the handling of sharps and high-speed machines must be carefully and attentional controlled if we want to avoid injuries. This is especially true for the circular saw, the milling machine and the work with small objects.
As well as tools, there are machine models that can perform different operations. In most cases, compromising solutions are adopted, which in practice do not work so well.
It is much more appropriate to keep the machines in a specific area than in one’s own room. A fixed dust vacuum cleaner deserves to be installed only when working almost daily with machines. Otherwise, only an ordinary vacuum cleaner with the appropriate accessories is sufficient. There must be enough space for storing machines and tools, drawings, or models that are under construction.
With the machines described below, we can build virtually all the scale models we need, both for a contest, for an exhibition or for demonstration purposes. It is also the basic set for a small modelling workshop in an architecture study
Small, circular table saw – Width from 40 to 50 cm. It should be ensured that the longitudinal panel reaches the free blade segment in a manner that can guide the length of the piece. The transverse panel must allow for safe tracking of the parts. The angle between the saw table and the work table (normal position of 900) should be graduated. This is achieved by turning the saw blade or tilting the work table. In the latter case, the saw should have a compensating device to support the table with the saw in a horizontal position; in this way, angular cuts for inclined roofs can be made. We recommend running the engine at different speeds. Only in this way can various materials such as wood, methacrylate, metal etc. be suitably trimmed. It is necessary to have a set of blades with different teeth, widths and diameters. HSS type blades should not be used. The material is brittle and can break if excessive. Thick metal blades with small teeth can be used to cut multiple materials. With the finest blades for metals (HSS-special steel), subjected to a post-cure treatment, small incisions and recesses of facades can be made. All blades intended for these delicate operations should be marked and not be used for sharp cutting and cutting of solid wood. For sharpening the blades we have to use a specialized workshop. The circular saw should have a connection for a dust extractor.
Grinding machine – With a diameter between 30 and 40 cm and a vacuum cleaner or built-in dust bag. The sanding machine must be attached to a tillable table. It is preferable for the engine to operate in both directions. Abrasive discs can be obtained with different types of teeth. They should be changed often because only new discs can get fine surfaces without losing time with back pauses. The abrasive discs are attached to the grinding machine disk by means of a special adhesive. These adhesives allow fast discs to be changed. No other adhesives should be added.
Perforating Machine – With adjustable perforation height and an engine running at different speeds. It must be firmly attached to a working table the height of which is acceptable and to which should be added a grip and support element (we can not always hold the piece by hand). We need drills with a diameter of between 0.5 mm and at least 10 mm. For the processing of different materials – metal, methacrylate and metals – only different types of metals are required, but it is possible for the engine to run different rotations per minute. (The best performance data for each metal is found on the manufacturer’s instructions).
Circular Saw – For cutting synthetic materials and fine metals. With this saw, the layers of the topographic model are cut. The process is similar to that of the drilling machine. There are small models with a arch of 500 mm, although for building large models we need a saw with a spring of at least 1000 mm. Because the price of both models is similar, we should choose the larger size saw if we have enough space.
Thermal Saw – For cutting rigid foam with an electrically heated cable. A good pattern should have stable plywood with a height sufficient to cut and accurately adjust the cutting inclination as well as a circular saw. The fan should remove the harmful vapours and a vertical switch and activate the switching and stopping of the cable heating so that both parts of the workpiece can be handled with both hands.
Small Appliances – Today there are small appliances designed specifically for modelling workers. These machines can be used especially for work with more precision and finishing. The following machines can be of great help in our work:
- Electric drill with different speeds with the ability to couple different abrasive discs
- Electronically adjustable drill machine
- Sanding machine
- Gas welder
Complementary devices. If we want to continue to equip our workshop, we should think about the following machines:
- Shearing machine, size A1
- Manual sanding machine
- Milling machine
- Sharpening tools and accessories
- Working table with adjustable height
Machinery working recommendations: To work with the circular saw, disc welder and electric punching machine, the following recommendations should be considered (it is important to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions)
- The tables on which the machines are fixed must always be clean and clear. These tables are not storage areas! Table surfaces should often be treated with a product designed to facilitate slippage. Saw blades, abrasive discs and drills must always be sharp. When changing the blade of a saw, the machine must always be disconnected (pulling it off or turning off the power)
- Be careful to always work with the best quality material. Therefore, do not use old wood that may have cloves, bolts and including stones or sand that could dirty machines or injure you. Large pieces of solid wood must be handled by a carpenter until you can use them on your own saw without risking any danger.
- The smallest pieces of a pattern are always cut from a larger piece and separate from it at the last cut.
- When cutting solid wood parts, care must be taken to rest on a clean, flat and perpendicular base of the saw blade (danger of breaking the corners)
- The pieces must move forward by pushing them at the front of the saw, not at the back of the saw. That’s how we keep our hands safe. Find a piece of wood to help you push the smaller pieces along the saw’s length.
- Never use metal objects (pliers) to push the parts (high risk of injury)
- Never perform transversal and longitudinal cuts at the same time. The cutter piece must have space to move away from the saw. There is the danger of breaking the corners. The consequence is either saw blade blocking (engine damage) or blade rupture. If it is necessary to use two boards simultaneously (the one to fix the distance and the crosswise to guide the piece for cutting) a piece should be added to fix the distance of the side panel to reach the saw blade.
- Small parts rest with greater difficulty and it is easier to break at the corners. If cutting small pieces with cross-board, it is recommended to add an auxiliary piece to cover the entire length of the cut. The saw blade will also cut the auxiliary piece.
- Presentation of the correct saw blade height. This should not exceed 6-10 mm of normal cuts.
- The pieces should always be polished where the abrasive disc runs down, otherwise the dust tends to spill and the grinder can throw the piece out of the hand (eye hazard)
- When sanding a piece, it must move forward and backwards to obtain a flat surface and avoid the formation of small curves.
- When polishing small parts with an electric grinding machine, we must lean over an auxiliary wood piece. By this, the gap between the machine and the table is covered by the secure support of the piece.
- If we build small parts with the electric drill or we want to perforate the centre of plywood, the parts must be fixed to the table with clamps. Underneath the pieces to be punched, place a base (chipboard) to avoid piercing the table and, on the other hand, to avoid cutting the perforated material. In any case, we must keep the track safe and stiff.
- In general, to process small parts on machines we need auxiliary parts (for pushing, bases, etc.) made of wood. These auxiliary materials should be as close as possible to the cutting tools (saw blade, adhesive disc).