Author Topic: Bending Plastic Rod  (Read 3880 times)

February 11, 2013, 09:10:50 PM
Read 3880 times


  • Guest
So, I'm building the Fine Molds 1/72 Falcon and so far the kit is great. Nice sharp detail, lots of little bits to glue on and feel like a real modeler.

Except now I'm adding the tubes coming out of the maintenance bays and the entire sprue is mis-cast. There was a serious mold mis-alignment causing all the round tubes to look like two half-circles glued half together. I also think that some of the parts didn't get enough plastic because they are obviously too short.

I've tried replacing the problem parts with wire but was thinking about trying plastic rod. I had also tried stretching sprue for the first time. It worked great, except it's impossible to match the exact diameter of the part I'm replacing. However the experience made me think that my original plan of heating the rod over a flame to bend it may not work. I'm pretty sure most heat sources will quickly melt through the rod.

So, how should I bend the rod. My current plan, which just occurred to me, is to use a hair drier to just barely soften the plastic so it won't snap when I try to bend it.

Thanks for any advice. I'm really bummed about the bad casting.

February 26, 2013, 08:09:08 AM
Reply #1


  • Guest
I have a sad face that no-one replied to this.

I ended up going to my local hobby store and talking to the guy that is making 1:1 scale X-Wings (1:1 to the studio model) from scratch.

I have to pieces of advice for anyone in my position. Well, three.

1: Bring the parts you want to replace to the store to compare to the parts you are buying. I did this but was a little uncertain whether I should have as I was leaving me house.
2: According to the guy at the store a light bulb should be a good heat source that won't melt the rod immediately like a candle would.
3: Brass rod is easier to bend and cheaper. This is what I went with. It's not as easy to glue and I can't really taper the ends to make them an exact fit like I could with plastic, but I don't have to worry about over-heating or under-heating.

February 27, 2013, 09:47:57 PM
Reply #2


  • *
  • Information
  • Member
  • Help Editors
  • Posts: 233
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
    • A3U Gundam
I'm sad nobody replied to this either.

My experience bending styrene tube was using a candle. It didn't work out like I hoped, the tube wound up in an oval 0 shape at the bend rather than the O I was looking for.

I wound up using really wide gauge solder on my projects instead. I learned it off some automotive modelers who use it for making custom exhausts on the bottom of the cars. It is so soft and pliable, it is a dream for bending and it comes in various widths for different purposes. The really thick stuff is from the hardware store for using on copper pipes in a house. But it bends pretty easy too. Easier than brass rod, that's for sure!

I always keep extra polycaps from Gundam kits. Often they are standard sizes and the solder will have a snug fit in one of them. Then I build a little styrene box around it and cement it to the kit... it's how I add all my crazy extra parts to kits! It's really simple once you try it, and you can recess them behind the surface of a kit, so you just have a hole and the polycap is hidden behind it, in a little box cemented to the reverse side.

March 27, 2013, 09:29:01 AM
Reply #3


  • *
  • Information
  • Member
  • Posts: 149
  • Karma: 0
  • Karma Gila Monster
    • View Profile
Hello Guys
This is how I bend plastic rod. I get a microwavable cup, put water in the cup and microwave to heat the water. Near boiling, so be carefull!
Put the plastic rod in the heated water. How long to leave it in the water is  trial'n error. Take out the heated rod and form the bends you want.
Formers are handy, as simple as bend around a nail. or you can make up bending forms from say plastic sheet. Hope this helps and Be Carefull! :D

April 19, 2013, 09:41:38 AM
Reply #4


  • Guest
That's a good way to do it. Having a electric kettle and a utility sink would make this super convenient. I've started with the brass rod. It's time consuming but it works. Fortunately I can file the rod to better match the cast plastic it connects to.

April 19, 2013, 11:36:26 PM
Reply #5

Father Ennis

  • Guest
I use a candle to streach sprue as well as bend rod. However,using plastic rod, if I just need a bend I will use something to bend it around. Work slowly and repeatedly bend to soften as required. Hobbylink is a good source for rod in many diamanters. Tube can only be bent using a bender device.  Hobby Lobby sells one (Excell ,I think) it's like a set of long coil springs. Hope this is of help.