The bulk of my time at the workbench is spent figuring out how to do something. Working out fabrication techniques and the sequence of the steps involved is ninety percent of the battle for me. Once that’s done, actually making the part is usually straightforward.

Small parts require the most forethought. The main issue is how to hold a part while working on it. I’ve found it’s best to do as much layout and shaping as possible before taking a part down to final size. I like to make parts on oversized material in order to position and hold the stock in a vice for working. Larger pieces are also easier to handle for drilling holes or making rivets.

These photos only give a brief overview of the process. These brackets come in different styles and dimensions and most of you are familiar with the work and materials involved so I went light on the nuts and bolts info. If anyone wants more specific details, just ask in the comments.

It’s interesting to me that in doing something for publication, how often I tend to rush the process and make more errors compared to times when I’m just playing around at the bench. During those sessions, I’m far more relaxed and detached from the outcome.

As I’ve said before, much of what you see on the blog are practice pieces, where I’m working out the process of a part or practicing a specific skill set. I’m teaching myself first and foremost with these posts.



  1. Greg Amer

    You’re giving me some ideas. I struggled with making some brackets, so I’ve been using precast brackets as a crutch. But this gives me hope I can make my own.

  2. mike

    Hi Greg,

    It isn’t that hard, although I imagine doing it in HO scale is another beast altogether. It would certainly make a difference if you can pull it off. The trickiest part is getting the support flange straight and neat. I make the fold first then cut the part free from the parent stock with a pair of scissors. It’s only 0.005″ brass and the scissors go right through it. I don’t know if I would mess with the rivets in HO. I used the smallest punch I have (0.010″ I believe) on the quarter-inch scale brackets and they are barely visible.

    It’s a shame we can’t get aftermarket photo-etch details for this stuff like the aircraft and armor modelers have. That would simplify the work considerably.