Alisdair Johnston at 'The Small Shop' has designed and manufacturered a new tool for anybody who has ever felt the need to replace small nuts or rivets etc. on their model. Unlike conventional punches, this tool consists of one punch with a series of inter-changable heads, but the real secrets behind this remarkable tool are in the shape of the head and the specially supplied foil that comes with the kit.
using the tool
The 7 punch heads that are supplied with the kit can be used to make nuts (with holes!), flat rivets, and domed rivets in a variety of sizes. Open nuts in 0.5mm, 1.0mm, and 1.5mm. Domed or flat rivets in 0.25mm, 0.75mm, 0.5mm, and 1.0mm .
Using the tool itself could not be easier. I didn't need any practice, first time, every time....a perfect nut. When using the punch, hardly any pressure at all is necessary, and you will feel a definite 'click' as the punch makes an impression through the foil. Continue with a very slight downward pressure and a second click will be felt. One click for a rivet, two for a hexagonal nut. The foil supplied is a special 3-ply Foil that encapsulates a ultra thin lead layer between two other metals. This not only allows the safe handling of lead, which as we all know can be nasty, but also totally prevents the foil from 'splitting' when forming extremely small open nuts. This really, is the only minus point with the tool....the fact that it uses consumables....the foil itself. The foil is easily available from the Small Shop at about £3.50 for a small sheet however.
The kit also comes with a very large sheet of white flexible plastic, which is used underneath the foil to produce 'domed' rivets. The beauty of this tool is the uniformity of the nuts and rivets produced! They all came out absolutely identical to each other! The possibilties for scratchbuilding are enormous! It's possible to make a large number of identical rivets or nuts in a very, very short time.
The tool even comes with specially constructed depressions in the tool itself to enable one to make lens/reflectors from the foil, again...all uniform in size.
The beauty of all this is added to by the tool's versatility. More punch heads are being developed that can be purchased separatley, such as different size leaves, different kinds of nuts etc. The potential is clearly breathtaking.
This tool is a must-have for every serious scratchbuilder and master maker. If you've ever thought about replacing rivets or nuts on a model you have been building, then you should consider getting this. It's not cheap, and there is the foil which is consumable and will have to be replaced, but the end result is, I think, worth it.