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Advice Sought: How to cut a straight line through a plastic kit

Aesthete

A for Aeffort
Validated User
OGO, you're my only hope!

So I have this really sweet plastic boat kit, which is pretty much in scale with my 28mm minis. If I can figure out how, I'd like to use it for tabletop gaming - but it being a naval kit, it's got the full keel and all and is designed to sit on a stand rather than the table top.

What I'd like to do is cut the bottom part of the boat off in a straight line, so it can sit on the table but I'm not sure how to go about it. Ideally, I'd like to do so without buying a whole bunch of tools. Right now, the best plan I can come up with is to carefully freehand many cuts with a hobby knife or hobby saw of some sort, and hope that I end up with a mostly straight line.

Any thoughts on how to improve on that?
 

Arethosemyfeet

Registered User
Validated User
I'd be inclined to take the alternative route - put it on a base that you build around the keel - if trying to cut a straight line looks too daunting. A Dremel or similar is the other plausible option. You could of course combine the two - cut it off as best you can then use a base to obscure the edge and cover any mistakes.
 

thirdkingdom

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Oh, so you're basically looking to cut it at a waterline. Hmm. How much do you have to take off and what tools do you have access to? The hard part about cutting it with a saw of any sort is that you're going to need to hold the saw parallel to the waterline, whereas most saws, like a jigsaw, is going to want to sit parallel to the hull. I think you've got a couple of options.

I would probably try and cut as closely as possible with a saw. The japanese pull saws work pretty well to cut plastic using the finer (cross-cutting) teeth. I use one to cut PVC when I'm somewhat lazy. You could also use a hacksaw with plastic cutting blade. A coping saw would work, but I think the blade may wander more than you'd like. Once the bulk of the material is removed you could flatten it with a handplane, a rasp, or if you've got a flat surface just tape some rough grit sandpaper down and use that to true up the base.
 

Von Bek

Now with Moorcock
Validated User
I am really happy that the article pretty much matches what I was going to suggest except for I would use a Dremel.
 

Aesthete

A for Aeffort
Validated User
This is one of the things I love about this community - super useful advice like this :)

If and when I actually do this (no promises), I'll make sure to post pictures.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
Do you have access to any Makerspaces or similar, or even a friend with a garage with more tools than you have? This is about a three second cut with a miter saw.
 

thirdkingdom

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Do you have access to any Makerspaces or similar, or even a friend with a garage with more tools than you have? This is about a three second cut with a miter saw.
I've done some sketchy stuff on a chopsaw before, and routinely cut freehand on a tablesaw, but even I would not recommend making the needed cut on a miter saw.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
Sounds like we have a very different standard for acceptable sketch. Mine comes in just under ladder jumping (where you're on top of a small step ladder, want to move it, and so you jump, lift it in the air, and put it back down. It's a common practice at work), and it's worked for me so far.
 
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