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nah00

Fiberglass pencil?

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I was re-watching the episode of James May's The Reassembler where he puts his old train set back together and he used a fiberglass pencil to clean up the contacts and copper bits on the motor. Has anyone used one of these and do they really make a difference?

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Yes I have a few contact cleaner pens that have steel, brass, and fiberglass bristles. They do work well for really corroded and mucked up contact points. Basically you start with the steel to get the really tough stuff, then brass (softer) and then polish with the fiberglass (the fiberglass can get mucked up fast if you start with it in something really mucky). All of these can potentially scratch up the metal some with micro scratches and there is the school of thought that the microscratches make a foothold for black muck (oil, grease, dust, dirt, shmutz, etc all mixed up) to form on. So I try not to use them on wheels or tracks where that is most prevalent. But great on small corroded contacts or rail joiners etc where using 800 sandpaper would not work. I have polished out a few corrosion spots on wheels with them.

 

ive cleaned one on like 180 grit sandpaper and some alcohol.

 

one note the fiberglass pen will shed little bits of fiberglass as you use it, so best to vacuum up or wipe down with cloth and iso and wash your hands after using it. And don’t rub your eyes while using it (we do this all the time w.o realizing it).

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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I'd agree with everything Jeff says, particularly about cleaning up afterwards. When I use a fibreglass pen I wear thin nitrile gloves for extra protection against the fibreglass particles. 

 

I also use them for cleaning up glued joints on plastic, for distressing painted surfaces as a part of my weathering techniques, removing old paint and decals, and for slightly roughening very smooth surfaces to help paint or new lettering to adhere.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark. 

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Great points I’d totally forgotten mark! I use the pens to rough up glue joints when it’s glues and materials that don’t solvate. Epoxy especially as it had issues of popping at the glue joint with stress some smooth surfaces. but a bit of roughing up really helps it grab. Acc as well.

 

i would second the nitrile gloves. I’ve gotten more tolerant to fiberglass over the years (I would have expected the opposite) and am lazier about gloves than I should be with small exposures, but fiberglas particles ain’t good to have on your skin and even if it does not irritate you as the eyes are always targets eventually! Nitrile gloves are the best also to prevent any puncturing but still give you some good tactile response...

 

jeff

 

an aside a high school friend who became an optomologist once told me in school they had to collect and bring in their morning eye goobers and a prof spent 15 minutes with a microscope on the projector dissecting them and showing them all the crap that ends up in our eyes and how good they are at flushing it out. Was one of those great classroom presentations that drove the point home in all of the students.

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You're not wrong about rubbing your eyes without realising it, Jeff. I did it once while I was chopping up chillies for dinner. Never did that again! The classroom presentation sounds gruesome!

 

The funny thing with gloves is that I can't stand wearing them when I'm firing or using the oxy because I don't like the loss of dexterity or sensation, but I tend to wear the nitriles almost all the time now when I'm modelling. Best thing about them is they stop the oils and other gunge from your skin getting on the model, so cleaning up for painting prep is a lot easier.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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On 13 February 2018 at 2:32 PM, nah00 said:

I was re-watching the episode of James May's The Reassembler where he puts his old train set back together and he used a fiberglass pencil to clean up the contacts and copper bits on the motor. Has anyone used one of these and do they really make a difference?

 

They are a fantastic tool, not only are they useful for cleaning wheels and contacts they are also great for other jobs, you can rub them lightly over decals to remove them without doing major damage to the paintwork, they can also remove. paint from parts with a bit more pressure. One thing I have found them really good for is when you have tricky spots that you need to cut down or smooth down and you can't use a file, scalpel or sandpaper due to the possibility of damaging surrounding details you can use the fibreglass pencil to get in there and do it, I used it recently on a GWR 64xx Pannier Auto Tank that I was backdating by removing the topfeed, a job that's not for the fainthearted.

 

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