Attaching antenna wires

Discussion in 'Building Questions, Tutorials and Guidebooks' started by Jeff Hunt, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Jeff Hunt

    Jeff Hunt Well-Known Member

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    My fat fingers are not friendly when it comes to tiny bits and I cannot imagine too much more unmanageable for me than attempting to attach antenna wires. I think they look great and marvel at those of you who do this for the "complete" look. Anyone want to share their tips or tricks as to how best to go about this nerve wracking experience?

    Cheers,

    Jeff
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    All depends on where the antenna wires have to be attached. Also on what you use for the wire e.g fishing line . threads etc.


    In your case I would use stretched piece of the frame sprue. It is very easy to get a very thin and long plastic "wire". Of course it is stuck with the same glue you use for assembling your models. The glue should be applied as a very small drop at the spot where the wire has to be tacked on. Because of your fingers I would suggest using a needle for applying of the glue. A such tool is easy to make by your hand. Just a piece of wooden thin stick with the needle imbedded at the one end. It should allow you to operate it easily.
     
  3. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Vic can give you where he gets his "elestic band" for antennas. Just stick in place with a dab of super glue. Majic.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I make small eyes from fine wire and attach these, with CA glue, to the antenna wire attachment points. They can look like the tensioners often used. I then attach 0.5 Kg monofilament nylon fishing line to these and any fuselage entry points, again with CA glue.
    Once set the nylon can be tensioned by passing a hot spatula or similar close to it. Too close and you'll be starting again :)

    Here's how it looks on a 'Veltro'. I don' have any higher resolution pictures I'm afraid.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Man, that looks nice Steve, well done!
     
  6. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    I like that Steve. Way better than trying to stuff a piece of fishing line into a wee hole.

    Geo
     
  7. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    The problem with any nylon line is hold tension on it. I've never tried the stretchy stuff and may do so one day but here's what I do. I use "invisible mending thread" that can be found in any sewing supplies store. It's nice and thin, perfect for 1/48. Attach one end using CA glue, making sure it is pointing in the general direction of the other attachment point. Now what you're worried about is how to keep tension on the wire as you apply CA glue to, say, the mast as you drape thread over it. I've had the most success with attaching the loose end to something instead of using my hand to hold the thread tight and steady exactly over the attachment point. I've done this a couple of ways and below are some examples:

    How not to damage radar antennae that are in the way. For this He219, I built a little tower out of lego pieces, taped the loose end of the wire to it, then dabbed CA glue on the mast (two wires done separately but the same way).

    110303 Lego Jig.jpg 110303 Lego Closeup.jpg

    On this Spitfire, the IFF antennae from the fuselage to the tips of the tail planes were attached by hanging the model from a universal clamp and attaching the end of the wire to an alligator clip to allow it to hang tight against the tail plane. Seems like a lot of prep, yes, but effective.

    110107 IFF Wire Attaching.jpg

    On this Me-410, the wire from the fuselage up to the attachment point of the second wire (already attached) was held tight by simply looping the thread spool over the attached wire and around the tail. The weight of the spool is enough to hold it tight.

    120526 Wire Pull.jpg

    In all cases, a tiny dab of CA glue is applied to the attachment point, allowed to dry, and then the wire is carefully cut using a very sharp blade.
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Whilst I do try to get a reasonable tension on my monofilament antenna wires I know that they can be tightened up with a little heat. I don't know if that works for your thread or not. Either way your 'wires' look very good indeed!

    I know some modellers like to use that stretchy thread whose name I can't remember. Whenever I've seen it it looks very heavy and over scale, but that might be the way it's been applied.

    Stretched clear sprue can look good but there is a definite knack to getting it thin enough. I don't have it and have burnt my fingers a few times trying :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  9. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    At the same sewing stores you can find elastic thread for stretch seams. Drop of CA put thread into the glue drop. When set, go to the second attachment point, drop of CA, loop around, pull a bit to stretch, and hold til set (15sec or so). I use 0.3mm
     
  10. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't. I tried. And thanks for the compliment Steve. I believe it's very important to keep these wires understated as I've seen many models with what I believe to be wires that are too thick. The thread I use calipers to just 0.1mm
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Again I'm with you 100%. The antenna wires we are all trying to represent were made from a stainless steel. A look at a rare original shows that the wire was quite fine. Some models are fitted with antennae with which, in scale, you could tow the Titanic :)

    Tail attachment and fuselage entry on a Fw 190.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A ceramic insulator, fitted to Fw 190s which did not have the tensioning mechanism. With the hood slid back this would fall on the area behind the plexiglass and on some aircraft damage or chipping of the paint in this area is visible.

    [​IMG]

    I represent these by thickening the wire with a bit of PVA glue and applying a bit of white paint.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  12. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Interesting....

    I took a piece of a sprue today and tried to stretch a thin line for an antenna wire as much as my arms let. No fingers burnt. Here a couple of shots. The total length of the stretched thread is about 170-180 centimeters. The endigs of a such thread are always thicker than the rest of the line. So... we are interested in the middle part where its diameter is the same. Its thickness showed by my callipers can be seen in the last pic. I don't think it is out of scale even for 1/72.

    stic1.jpg

    stick2.jpg

    stick3.jpg

    stick4.jpg

    stick6.jpg

    stick7.jpg
     
  13. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    And here the rest of images...

    stick8.jpg

    stick9.jpg

    stick9a.jpg

    stick9b.jpg

    stick9c.jpg
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Well done! You've obviously got the knack.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  15. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Seriously, that is quite impressive. I've been stretching sprue for various reasons for a long time, though not that often for reasons already mentioned, and I don't often enjoy such success:)
    I reckon you've got enough antenna 'wire' there to keep you in supply for the foreseeable future!
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  17. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #17 Wurger, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
    Thank you Steve. You are right it is quite long thread and should be enough for many models.

    The possible reason for your unsuccessful attempts is the way you tried to stretch the sprue. It should be warmed to a point where it is about to start burning. It can be easy found because the polistyrene gives off tipically at the stage of warming. Then it can be stretched but not at once... in the case you can get the thread of different diameter with the thin point at the middle. The stretching should be made with two stages... firstly you stretch the sprue a little bit initially and then stop just for a wee while. And then start stretching again but with stable rate of this. It should help methinks.

    Oh.. by the way ... a very useful tool for protecting of somebody's fingers against burning.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Impressive. I've tried a few times but never got anywhere except melted sprue and some pointy end pieces with a hair or two of plastic still on them. IMHO the elastic thread is soooo much easier
     
  19. SANCER

    SANCER Active Member

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    I'll put my "two cents" and I hope to have this choice. :shock: :idea:

    I had previously read the different ways to achieve the antennas, and among them caught my attention that so far I have used in all my models. For simple, at least for me; so it can be for anyone.

    You'll have to get free from your wife, girlfriend, mother or any lady close to you an old nylon stockings no longer used.
    If you were lucky to be preferably black. :D or the color you need. :Fade-color

    Using scissors or knife make a cut, with your fingers or tweezers get a thread.
    You'll notice the elastic and resistent they can be.
    For better control of that strand, I hold each end with pliers and as Andy says passage by the junction and toward the other point where the line will finish. Applied a tiny drop of CA and wait for it to dry.
    Once dry, I take the other end and took it to the point of destination. I can tensioning the thread a bit and then put another tiny drop of CA
    Then dry, with sharp scissors or an Exacto knife cut the excess antenna cable.

    I hope be clearer whit the pics.:| :scratch:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here are my "Home-Made" CA dispatchers. :oops:
    Facilitate the application of small drops



    [​IMG]

    Sometimes I have to reinforce the base of the antenna using more resistant materials (in this case a needle), and do the same procedure.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    An other example in my Zero

    [​IMG]

    Actually I have not used for making nylon threads commenting Andy and Steve for antenna cables. Nor stretching spure commenting Wurger (I used this technique but for other purposes)
    I'll have to do the test, be sure other good options. :arrow: :idea:

    I hope my English is understandable and be useful this option.

    Any doubt I am at your service.

    Saludos a todos!!
     
  20. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #20 Wurger, Sep 3, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
    Yes, the nylon stockings ... personally I use the same thread for antenna wires and rigging if needed. The stretched sprue is an example only of a possibility of getting of a very thin thread without any additional expense.

    antenna wire1.jpg

    antenna wire1a.jpg

    antenna wire1b.jpg

    Rwd8_1a.jpg
     
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