Insider 2-28-2011

One of the most common parts I use (and run short on) are rivets. In order keep them uniform throughout the model, I try and use premade plastic rivets. I also sometimes make a rivet tool when I need to duplicate a rivet on an existing model (I’ll tell you how to make these in a later blog).

Premade rivets are expensive, so when I run out of rivets and have to make more, I use a cheaper, faster alternative: putty. Here’s how I do it.

1. First roll out a flat sheet of putty on a spare piece of card and poke out any small air bubbles.
2. Then take brass or aluminum tubes in whatever sizes you need and press the ends into the sheet of putty. Don’t press all the way through. You just need to make a small dome shape. If you need rivets in multiple sizes, you can make them all on one sheet of putty. However, I usually try to make a separate sheet for each size of rivet.
3. When the putty is cured, cut it away from the rivet on one side in a “V” shape. This will let you cut horizontally under the rivet. I find it helps to cover the rivet with my thumb so it won’t fly across the room when I cut it off the sheet.
4. After separating the rivet from the sheet, trim the edges if necessary.
5. To apply the rivet to your model, use the tip of your knife blade to hold the rivet and add a tiny dab of superglue to the rivet. Then attach the rivet to the model.

Be careful when applying the superglue after you squeeze a bit of glue out. If you release the pressure, the glue might suck the rivet back into the bottle. You can also use a small pin or needle to apply the glue if you find it easier.

There you have it. As many rivets as you need, all the same size, made from small amounts of leftover putty.