I remember the very first time I sat down to build a Metal Earth model. The immediate problem you face is “How do I get these little pieces off the sheet?”With a bit of trial and error, you eventually figure out a way, but if you speak to more experienced builders you’ll discover that there are some favored methods to remove Metal Earth pieces safely. So let’s get into that …
How do you remove Metal Earth pieces without damaging them? The best method I have found is using a tool called a single lever action sprue cutter. The narrow cutting tips of this modeling tool are purposely designed for getting into very small gaps and removing parts.
Surprisingly, though, a lot of metal kit modelers don’t know about sprue cutters. They use other methods – which, for the most part, work just fine.
So, let me list the 5 most popular methods, and then compare them with my technique using a sprue cutter:
1. The Wiggle Method
Just as the name implies, this method simply involves grabbing the part between your fingers, and wiggling it back and forth until the metal breaks at the point where it’s joined to the sheet.
This sounds like a very unsophisticated beginner method, but it is actually surprisingly effective! When you’re able to use this technique, you’ll find that it usually leaves you with a very clean break, which is exactly what you want.
There are, however, a couple of problems with it …
First, it requires patience. Some of those little Metal Earth parts can be amazingly stubborn and require wiggling for a while. This is especially true when you aren’t able to move the part very freely because of how it’s joined to the sheet. And when you then have to repeat this process over and over with lots of parts for a build, it can get quite tedious.
Second, getting your fingers positioned around a tiny part that’s surrounded by metal, with only small gaps, can be tricky indeed.
But for those times when you can wiggle with ease … do it! It works fine.
2. Wire Clippers
This is the method that the Metal Earth company themselves recommend. Wire clippers are one of three items in their essential tool kit. They’re basically a small set of the kind of cutters that electricians carry.
[If you’d like to see the specific tools I recommend, and the very best sources to get them from, CLICK HERE to check out my “Best Tools” page]
They are sharp and work very well, of course, for snipping through the soft metal found in these kits. The only problem is that they can sometimes be difficult to get into the tight spots on the parts sheet. Which is why I prefer the sprue cutters we’ll talk about shortly.
But a set of wire cutters is certainly one tool you’re going to find handy to have around.
3. Cuticle Cutters
There may well be a pair of these in the bathroom of your home. People use them to snip back the skin around their fingernails during a manicure.
I’ve heard rave reviews about cuticle cutters as a tool to very efficiently remove Metal Earth pieces from their sheets. But I’ll have to take the word of others on this, because I honestly haven’t tried them for myself.
Quick Tip: If you’re going to try cuticle cutters, DON’T “borrow” your wife’s set. They are designed to cut very soft skin and, over time, using them on metal can tend to damage or blunt them. And that’s no way to get the Mrs. on board with your new hobby!
Along the same lines, and from the same bathroom bag …
4. Nail Clippers
Now, these I have tried, and I can vouch for the fact that they will give you a very accurate trim. They’re also an excellent tool for cleaning up any ragged edges on parts that have already been removed by one of the other methods.
Again, however, because of their shape, they are a tool that you’ll find difficult to get into some tight spots. They’re another great tool to have on your bench, but not one that you’ll reach for first.
Quick Tip:Nail clippers usually have a small fold out nail file in them. These will work okay for filing off small metal burrs if you don’t have another fine metal file.
[CLICK HERE to check out my “Best Tools” page]
5. A Hobby Knife
Some kit builders like to stick with this proven and versatile tool that has a thousand uses for all kinds of hobbyists. I’m referring to the Exacto style of knife that uses razor sharp disposable blades. Which is one of the reasons they’re such a popular tool — it’scheap and easy to change out these disposable blades as often as you need to. So you never risk damaging a more expensive tool that then needs to be replaced.
Now, if you want to give this method a try, you will need to get some #10 blades. That’s a rounded blade, and the way you will use them is to “rock” the blade back and forth several times on the joint that you want to cut.
Caution: While a few people are most comfortable with this method, and get to be very good at it, the beginner should know that, of all the methods, it carries the greatest risk of bending and damaging the parts. This is because it requires quite a bit of downward pressure on the metal sheet.
So, if you’re going to try this method, lay the metal sheet on a very hard surface to support it. (And, of course, do be really careful, as these blades are extremely sharp.)
Which brings us to my preferred tool …
6. Sprue Cutters
Specifically, a single lever action sprue cutter.
If you pick up a set of these, the first thing you will notice is that they look quite similar to wire clippers, but with the benefit of smaller, pointier, much narrower cutting edges. They were designed specifically by plastic kit modelers for getting into tight spaces and removing parts from their “sprues” (hence the name).
They were the natural tool of choice for me, because I was so familiar with them. My other passion (before discovering Metal Earth) was years of building model aircraft from plastic kits.
So, how do I use them?
My 3-Step Technique
I use this technique about 90% of the time to remove Metal Earth pieces …
Step 1:I locate the part that I need to remove, and use my sprue cutter to carefully snip it where it is joined to the metal sheet ON ONE SIDE ONLY. This often means one single cut, but sometimes a couple may be required depending on the size of the part and how many joints it has connecting it to the sheet. The goal is to free the part completely on one side.
Step 2:I then use my fingers and “the wiggle method” (see method 1 above) to remove the rest of the part from the sheet. With one side already cut, this becomes much easier to do. The benefit is that the wiggle method really does give you a nice clean separation with minimal extra unwanted material (or “burr”) left on the part.
Step 3:Finally, I use a small, fine metal file to remove any remaining burr that’s left on the part. This is the way to get the nicest finish on your Metal Earth model.
Quick Tip:When using a metal file to remove any burr, file longways down the edge of the part and not across it, causing it to “vibrate”. This will help ensure that you don’t inadvertently bend the part while you’re cleaning it up.
So, there you have it. That’s how to remove Metal Earth pieces safely. I do hope this article has been informative for you, and let me encourage you to maybe give my method a try. If you find that it does work for you, I’d love to hear about it. The things that I’m sharing on this site are those that have increased my enjoyment of building these wonderful kits.
[You might also like to read my article: “5 Essentials for Your Metal Earth Tool Kit (and 7 More It’s Nice to Have)”]
Over to you …
Do you use one of these methods that I’ve mentioned, or do have another way of doing it? Share YOUR tip in the comments below for the benefit of all.
Parts can be more easily removed from the sheet using a pair of clippers. Plan out and understand how the parts will come together. Folding any piece back and forth along a fold line more than 2 times will cause the piece to weaken and/or break. Be sure to use a gentle touch.How do you curve metal earth pieces? ›
For some of them the best way is to twist. Them. The tricky parts tend to look like this attachingHow are metal earth models made? ›
Metal Earth is made from high quality steel sheets. Each model features amazing detail with parts cut from one or more 4” square steel sheets. Easy to follow instructions are included with each kit and NO GLUE OR SOLDER REQUIRED! Simply snip out the pieces and bend the tabs through corresponding connection points.Are metal earth models hard? ›
Metal Earth Legends may appear rather simple, with fewer pieces and fewer tiny pieces, they are not as easy as you might think. In general, you can expect ICONX models to be more challenging, but some of the standard Metal Earth models can be much harder.How do you get rid of metal particles? ›
To remove them effectively it is advisable to use a cleaner specific for the job, known as 'iron contamination removers', or 'fallout removers'. These types of cleaner work to neutralise and shrink the metal particles, causing them to break the bond with the surface and thus allowing them to be safely rinsed away.How do you cut something out of metal? ›
An angle grinder fitted with an abrasive metal-cutting disc works well to cut all kinds of metal, including bolts, angle iron, rebar and even sheet metal. But the discs wear down quickly, cut slowly and shrink in diameter as you use them. Instead, we recommend using a diamond blade that's rated to cut ferrous metal.What is the easiest way to bend metal? ›
How to Bend Thick Metal Without Traditional Tools - Kevin CaronHow do you shape metal? ›
Forging: It's the shaping of metal using compression forces. The force may be applied by hammer, press, or rollers. The metal is usually hot, but some operations are carried out cold. Forging at temperature increases the plasticity of a metal and reduces the forces needed to work it.How long does it take to build metal earth? ›
Perfect for people who are building their first metal earth model. I have build 6 of them and have a lot of experience with them and this is by far the easiest to build. Takes around 30-45 minutes. Make sure you have needle nose pliers or tweezers and a small wire cutter to snip the pieces out.What scale is metal Earth? ›
How can you repair Metal Earth models? The most common method of repair is to use super glue (cyanoacrylate). Bonding two metal pieces back together requires that you apply a thin layer of the glue and hold the pieces together with no gaps for a longer time than you would for other materials. That's the short answer.Why do we use Earth models? ›
Earth system models can help understand and provide critical information on water availability, drought, climate and temperature extremes, ice sheets and sea levels, and land-use change. They help scientists understand how plants, people, animals, and microbes all contribute to and are affected by the Earth's climate.What is the hardest metal earth kit? ›
R2-D2 is the hardest of the set. There are some complex folds and bends which if you don't get right the first time, the metal will break if you try to adjust. As far as tools, the instructions only mention needle nose pliers, if you only use needle nose pliers, your model will look like garbage.What is the biggest metal earth model? ›
MEGA Eiffel Tower – Far and above the largest Metal Earth model available, you will have trouble finding a place to display this beast at roughly 20.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches (about 520 x 190 x 190 mm).How do you stop metal models from chipping? ›
- Clean the model thoroughly before priming — I scrub it with a copper-wire brush, for example.
- Undercoat using an actual primer intended for use on metal, not any old spray paint.
- After the model is painted, spray on a coat of gloss varnish — this is much more durable than matt varnish.
Acids, like lemon or vinegar, usually work best.
You can also use a lint-free cloth soaked in vinegar or lemon juice. Avoid abrasive cleansers and scrubbers, which can scratch the metal and damage the finish. If the metal is really dirty, soak it for a while, then wipe the dirt away.
To clean up metal shavings:
Place a magnet inside a plastic bag. Pass the plastic bag with the magnet inside over the work area so the shavings stick to the outside of the bag. Turn the plastic bag inside out and remove the magnet. Dispose of the bag with the metal shavings inside in the trash.
TIP: Clean your magnets - YouTubeWhat tool can remove metal? ›
Hacksaw. The original metal-cutting tool, the manual hacksaw, is an easy, inexpensive option for cutting through metal (and a slew of other materials). Ideal for small projects and home improvement needs, the hacksaw is typically one of the first tools a homeowner purchases, thanks to its low cost and versatility.How do you cut metal by hand? ›
Using Tin Snips
Your first hand tool-based option when it comes to cutting metal is also among the most accessible and the most affordable – tin snips. This tool both looks and operates like scissors, but their sharp jaws allow you to crimp and pierce sheet metal in a single smooth motion.
An angle grinder or hand grinder is perhaps the most indispensable of all metal cutting tools.Does metal earth come with extra pieces? ›
Often, a model will contain parts that are duplicated, and sometimes used in multiple sections of the instructions. Other times, Metal Earth includes extras of pieces they feel might get broken or lost easily.What is the hardest metal earth model? ›
R2-D2 is the hardest of the set. There are some complex folds and bends which if you don't get right the first time, the metal will break if you try to adjust. As far as tools, the instructions only mention needle nose pliers, if you only use needle nose pliers, your model will look like garbage.How do you use metal model tools? ›
3d Metal Model Tools - What do I use? - YouTubeWhat is the biggest metal earth model? ›
MEGA Eiffel Tower – Far and above the largest Metal Earth model available, you will have trouble finding a place to display this beast at roughly 20.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches (about 520 x 190 x 190 mm).How long does it take to build metal earth? ›
Perfect for people who are building their first metal earth model. I have build 6 of them and have a lot of experience with them and this is by far the easiest to build. Takes around 30-45 minutes. Make sure you have needle nose pliers or tweezers and a small wire cutter to snip the pieces out.What's the softest metal known to man? ›
Cesium is a rare, silver-white, shiny metal with brilliant blue spectral lines; the element's name comes from "caesius," a Latin word meaning "sky blue." It is the softest metal, with a consistency of wax at room temperature.What is the strongest real life metal? ›
Tungsten, which is Swedish for "heavy stone," is the strongest metal in the world. It was identified as a new element in 1781.
Tungsten. Tungsten has the highest tensile strength of any pure metal – up to 500,000 psi at room temperature. Even at very high temperatures over 1,500°C, it has the highest tensile strength. Tungsten is so dense that it resists melting, even under extremely high heat.How do you paint model tools? ›
Painting & Weathering Tools for Model Tanks - YouTube
SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Modeling Approaches - YouTubeWhat scale is metal earth? ›
1:342 Scale.What is the name of earth model? ›
A globe is a spherical model of Earth, of some other celestial body, or of the celestial sphere. Globes serve purposes similar to maps, but unlike maps, they do not distort the surface that they portray except to scale it down. A model globe of Earth is called a terrestrial globe.What is earth scale model? ›
Building scale models of the Earth can help engineers plan the routes and orbits of space flights, or design instruments that help predict earthquakes, or invent robots to travel into the different layers to collect data.