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Pinning for Dummies?

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So, this... isn't exactly about conversion, at least not necessarily, but "assembly" doesn't seem to really fit in any of the forum's categories. My apologies in advance to the moderators if I should've put this somewhere else. :unsure:

 

So, here's the thing... I've never assembled a multi-part metal model. Single piece metals I've dealt with, multi-part plastic I've dealt with, resin I've... done a little with, but multi-piece metal? Never. And all the Work-in-Progress threads I've seen for them have frankly kind of terrified me. Pretty much everyone I've seen talking about pinning, here and on other forums, has talked as if the basics are common knowledge, and all the questions I've seen have been about specifics or advanced techniques... what size pins to use, how to do magnetic swappable parts so you can change out weapons, that kind of stuff. What I need is the "talk to me like I'm five," ultra-basic, what-to-expect-when-you're-expecting-to-drill-holes-in-pewter version, including stuff like...

 

When does pinning become necessary? Are there any metal parts small/light enough to not require it, or is it required for any multi-part assembly in pewter? If there is a threshold, what is that threshold?

 

What tools are required for it? I mean, I understand that it involves a drill with a tiny bit and small lengths of metal to serve as the actual pins, but what specific supplies are we talking about? Where would I look to buy such items? How much would they probably run me, minimum?

 

How do you make sure that the holes are properly aligned?

 

After pinning, what adhesive is used for final assembly? I think I understand that some people put greenstuff inside the joint? Does that serve in place of glue, or alongside some form of glue?

 

How likely am I to utterly ruin my minis through incompetent pinning? Are there any major pitfalls to be wary of?

 

The reason I'm asking these questions is that I got to browsing through the Reaper site while I was waiting on my Bones II shipment to come in, and there are some sorely tempting multi-part metals out there, some of them small enough that I'm not completely terrified by them. I'm particularly taken with the Pirates of the Dragonspine Sea II set (whose Sophie is multi-part) and this astonishing leaping dragoon-type guy (whose entire body's weight would be supported by the joins at his wrists... I'm guessing he'd definitely require pinning?).

 

Help?

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What tools are required for it? I mean, I understand that it involves a drill with a tiny bit and small lengths of metal to serve as the actual pins, but what specific supplies are we talking about? Where would I look to buy such items? How much would they probably run me, minimum?

 

How do you make sure that the holes are properly aligned?

 

After pinning, what adhesive is used for final assembly?

 

Help?

Base Equipment List

Superglue — the gel type.

Needle nosed pliers — two pairs, small or medium.

"Pin vise" — usually about $10, should come with very small drill bits. (See Bruunwsld's post further down for more detail on a pin vise. See Malefactus' post below for an alternative hand tool.)

Paper Clips — both sizes, coated and/or uncoated.

 

For the next part let us pretend you have a mini with an arm that fits into a shoulder socket. BTW that leaping dragon dude has three points of attachment. (His foot rests on the banner that is underneath him.

 

Basic Technique

Drill a hole using the pin vise in the top of the arm.

 

Use the two needle nosed pliers to create a pin by breaking off a short piece of a paper clip. Repeatedly bend the paper clip at the point where you want it to break. A pair of pliers firmly holds each end at all times. Paperclip wire snaps after 7 to 9 bends.

 

Slip the pin in the hole. Loose.

 

Paint the metal around the pin at the top of the arm.

 

Use needle nosed pliers to remove the pin.

 

Dry fit the arm into shoulder socket; be sure the paint is still wet; be sure the painted surfaces fit snugly metal to metal.

 

Remove the arm. Paint transfer has (hopefully) left a void where the matching hole needs to be.

 

Rinse the paint from the arm while it is still wet. (Optional)

 

Drill the matching hole at the point where the void is in the transferred paint (there are alternative marking methods described below as well; I think this one is the most precise).

 

Wipe away any remaining wet paint.

 

Use the two needle noses to create a pin (short piece of wire) of the right length. Repeatedly bend the paper clip at the point where you want it to break. A pair of pliers firmly holds each end at all times. Paperclip wire snaps after 7 to 9 bends.

 

Dry fit the pin in both halves to verify all parts fit.

 

Glue together. One dot of superglue at each end of the pin and a little in the ball and socket join as well.

 

Hold until it sets.

 

That is pinning.

Edited by TGP
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There have been other threads about this topic so, this could get merged.

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The pinning tool is called a pin vise. You can get them at Michaels, if you have one nearby, or most hobby shops that sell miniatures, and even other hobby shops that sell other kinds of models. You can find them online, too. They usually come with a variety of drill bits, and can run anywhere from $5 - $20. For most jobs, you will want to use the bits that come with these sets (you can buy replacements, too), because the smallest bits you can get from most hardware stores (which will work, too), are only small enough for the larger jobs. The tiniest are specialty items.

 

Some vises, for instance, the kit sold by Privateer Press, come with the little brass rods that you will need to attach the parts. You can also buy them separately. They usually are in the $10 range for a variety of widths. Some are wider so as to bind heavier pieces together. Some narrower so you can pin narrow bits. I use paper clips for most things. Places like Staples sell paper clips in two widths. I can pin most things with either the narrower or the wider. But I still do keep very narrow brass rods for very thin minis.

 

Drilling into pewter is a job that requires patience. Do not be hasty, but do not be worried or discouraged, either.

 

You can match the two pieces to be attached up by dry fitting them over and over and taking note of where you want to drill on each side. One trick is to drill your hole in the larger pieces, then use a little bit of tac, or a dab of paint on the hole, press the other piece to it, and then drill your second hole where the mark shows up on the second piece. You probably don't have to drill too deep, but you want to get in a good ways. Heavier bits will need deeper holes.

 

TGP likes super glue of the gel variety. So do I. Fills better, bonds faster. Doesn't seep into the cracks.

 

Scratch the two sides that touch up with an X-acto blade to get "tooth," then glue the rod into the larger hole. Wait for it to cure, then clip it (with metal clippers) down to an appropriate length to fit the second piece. Add glue to the end of the rod, and to the area on the piece around it, slip it on, and hold it until it bonds.

 

Magnets are for when you have more experience with this stuff, but they work similarly to pinning. You have to be careful of a lot of things. Firstly, you have to remember to watch the polarization. You don't want to glue them in the wrong way and cause them to repel each other. Second, you'll need wider drill bits. Thirdly, you don't drill as deep, so you'll have to drill a bit, and then fit the magnet, and get it to where it is for the most part, flush. Fourth, heavy things might not magnetize so well; you'll need very strong magnets for their size (hobby shop again). Most of the magnetizing you do will probably be with plastic parts.

 

That's all I got right now.

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There have been other threads about this topic so, this could get merged.

 

I'm sorry. I tried to avoid that, but I only looked in this forum for older threads, I guess the older topics might've been placed somewhere else.

 

Now I feel like a tool. And not the useful kind. ::(:

 

Thanks for the advice, though!

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 Pinning is relatively easy, but like most other things getting to where you're comfortable with and good at it requires practice.

 

Metal is fairly forgiving of minor mistakes, so even if on your first couple of tries it doesn't come out perfect, it'll still be good enough to hold the pieces together better than just gluing them. Even if the holes are a little bit loose you can just add a bit more glue to fill them with - you're still providing extra surface area for the glue to stick to.

 

 Dremel sells a 7-piece drill bit set for it's rotary tools for about $7, and the two smallest bits are good sizes for our purposes. You can find it at Home Depot or most places that carry power tools. Micromark is a company that sells all sorts of hobby supplies and tools - they put out a catalog four or five times a year. You can order several sizes of pin vise as well as a huge assortment of drill bits and some materials suitable for use as pins as well.

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There have been other threads about this topic so, this could get merged.

I'm sorry. I tried to avoid that, but I only looked in this forum for older threads....

 

Thanks for the advice, though!

The search engine has counterintuitive features.

 

I finished editing the first post. It now has a basic step-by-step all the way to the end for one joint.

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A couple more tips.

 

Don't be tempted to use the wire cutters built into the needle nosed pliers on paperclips. Those are only for copper wire. And the pin will go flying. And it is harder to get the length just right.

 

Big parts need bigger deeper holes. For these a bundle of paperclip wires works very well. Superglue loves to slip into the tiny spaces between individual wires.

 

Green stuff is useful for filling voids when adjoining parts don't fit very precisely. If FREX that shoulder in my step by step did not fit tight metal to metal, this would help:

 

Thin sheet of greenstuff goes in shoulder socket. Then dip the arm in water (greenstuff does not stick to wet). Shove the arm in and mash the greenstuff into a precisely fitting shape. Remove arm. Allow greenstuff to harden.

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The heavier a bit, the more likely it will need pinning, especially if it is also extended; for example a spread wing or arm raised to shoulder height. Superglue HATES holding twist or bend pressure.

 

Rather than one big pin for bigger parts, I like to use two smaller pins, either side of centre, especially if the join is under twist pressure.

 

For largish parts I use epoxy glue, with a little superglue at the outside edge. This can then be hit with Zip Kicker to set the superglue off to hold the joint still. A really big blob of poster tack (blutac in Australia) can make an improvised (but weak) vice.

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I usually glue my parts in place with the pin and use the greenstuff after to gap fill and clean up the joint.  Is this wrong?  Should I be using the GS in the joint itself?

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Matter of preference I think, Corporea. If you did it and it worked, you probably did it right :D

 

If the parts interface well there is no need for GS in the join.

 

So, in order from most to least ideal interface: superglue, epoxy glue, putty or GS. If the faces are flush Superglue will work fine. If there's a bit of a gap, epoxy glue will be needed. For really gappy uneven joins you need an epoxy putty.

Edited by smokingwreckage
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There really is noting to add to the SPLENDID advice already given other than an alternative to the pin vise. For most pinning, gun barrel boring, etc. I use Micro Mark's Finger Drills...set #60392 has #58, #60, #62, & #64, which pretty much cover the range of small holes you'd be likely to drill. The finger drills are a less awkward especially in tight spots.

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There have been other threads about this topic so, this could get merged.

 

I'm sorry. I tried to avoid that, but I only looked in this forum for older threads, I guess the older topics might've been placed somewhere else.

 

Now I feel like a tool. And not the useful kind. ::(:

 

Thanks for the advice, though!

 

 

Without direction the basic forum search only goes back like 60 days or something like that. You need to use the advanced search feature and reset the start date of your search. I think this was the most recent pinning thread:

http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/58236-need-help-with-pin-vice-drill-bits/?hl=pinning#entry1010465

I thought there was an article on pinning in The Craft section of the main website but I don't see it now.

 

On a counter-intuitive note you can also pin after assembly. Assembly the pieces then drill in through the outside particularly useful if you want to bisect a post. Not good when there is a lot of fine detail in the surface area you need to drill through.

Edited by Heisler

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A lot of very good advice given, so unless you need clarification I will stand in the sidelines.

 

Having just drilled a lot of very little "links" for a mecha ammo feed, I will add another pro-tip: to avoid your drilling bit to bind (and sometimes, snap and break), also to drill faster and with less force, first "drill" into a piece of candle. This will lubricate the bit and make the drilling to go smoother.

 

Oil can also be used but I feel that if some oil leaks into the part my own grip will slip, and that doens'st happen with just a bit of candle on the bit.

 

Also, small parts glued firmly in place do not require pinning IMHO... but big multipart models do for solid glueing.

 

I just dropped this guy 1m onto a wooden floor and nothing happened to the big pinned parts... and one of the pinned feet only showed a crack in the interface of putty and metal:

 

2015-02-17.jpg

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Check youtube for pin or pinning miniatures videos.  They are very common.  I like the ones that show how to use poster putty to locate the second hole precisely.  It is a very simple technique where you wet the piece with the first hole, apply the putty to the second piece and press the two parts together.  When you take them apart, the putty sticks to the second piece and the nub of putty made by the hole in the first piece shows where to drill.

 

Veteran hobbyists have posted they like to use a Dremel to drill.  With practice, I'm sure it could be done, but it is generally not necessary.  If I pinned a lot, I might give that a try.  On the other hand, a small drill or cordless screwdriver with the proper chuck attachment spins slower and has more torque, so should be easier to use than a Dremel.  I believe I first saw that recommended in Laszlo's Hot Lead tutorial DVDs.

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