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Hold and Fold tool for brass kits

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Hi lads,

Looking for some advice and help on above . I have a good few brass kits to do , something like five ammonias , two water tanks for ammonias , roughly four sets of keg frets and about fifteen 42' flat wagons ( I must do these first before anybody releases them) and numerous 1/35 scale tanks with a fair bit of photo etch with them.  So to get to my point , has anyone here got or used these hold and fold devices , are they helpful, any particular brand or outlet better than another or is there an easier and cheaper way to fold brass kits. Do I really need one or will it make life much easier . I would be grateful for any help. Thanks lads.


P.S.  I built one brass ammonia wagon and was not happy with my effort.

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Hello John,


I work quite a bit in brass & bought the RP Toolz Photo Etch Bending Tool - see link.



For working with etch kits they really are essential - it is possible to do with a vice and steel rules etc, but that can get tedious and not always so accurate.

They are pricey but do provide the crisp edges you are looking for, and make the difference in kit building.  


Hope that helps.



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Hi John

As Ken says 'essential' if you want to get accurate folds, they are also very helpful for clamping small parts when soldering.

I use the type from Eileens and have 3 sizes- 2'', 8'' & 14''


I also use clamping bars- two 6mm square bright steel bars that bolt together with counter sunk hex bolts, clamp the parts to be bent in the bars and then mount it in the bench vice for bending, I have a few of different lengths and thickness.....

Tamiya do photo etch folding pliers, also pricey but very handy- especially folding a part thats already soldered on a model. Come in a few different sizes also.



Edited by murrayec
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Some good tips there: I have a Trumpeter hold and fold, whilst my bending bars for longer folds are from...https://www.vgibson.co.uk/

usual disclaimer - merely a satisfied customer and not the business owner ..

Wouldn’t be without either tool, btw. I also lightly score along all folds with an engineer’s scribe before bending, which helps give a crisp fold.

See also this very helpful guide on various aspects of kit construction, which got me started in brass...

http://www.jimmcgeown.com/Print Off FAQ Booklet pdf.pdf

Edited by Galteemore
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Not sure if I am a Luddite or Kiwi No 8 baling wire mentality I have had an Etch Mate  hold & fold tool for many years but rarely use it.

I prefer to clamp the workpiece upright in a vice and form the bend with a steel rule or even a strip of hardwood.

Sometimes the etched fold line is too-narrow to form a right angle. The fold line should be 1-1.2 times the thickness of the metal in order to etch ½ way through through the metal to form a 90° bend


I use aluminium angle or hardwood strips if the workpiece is linger than the vice!



Steam loco valence clamped in vice, before bending footplate at 90° with a block of wood.



Valences bent at 90° to running board.



Hand vice for holding & folding small parts.https://www.expotools.com/acatalog/Precision-Brass-Band-Vice-79533.html

Probably the most useful tool I bought in recent years!


Forming a channel


Pin chuck for holding & forming very small parts.



Edited by Mayner
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KMCE, Eoin, Galteemore, Mayner.  Gentlemen,  Thank You so much for taking the time to explain and give your much needed opinions about hold and fold tools and bars and such. I think I will invest in the trumpeter 165mm tool as its not as costly and it got very good reviews, as it is not long enough for the ammonia wagons, I will look at folding bars, ( I only need to do five wagons) in the future.  Once again lads I really appreciate your help.  I might have to call on your advice regarding brass kits again sometime.

Regards  John.

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