Author Topic: Modelling aids and tips for those with health issues  (Read 1305 times)

Online Dave W

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Modelling aids and tips for those with health issues
« on: July 13, 2021, 06:41:05 PM »
Sadly, quite a few of us are struggling with various health issues which impact on our modelling enjoyment. Our age demographic suggests quite a few mature age modellers are forum members so problems such as declining eyesight, hand nerve damage and so on reduce our ability to get the most out of model making.

This thread is intended to start a discussion on the various aids and tips to help modellers overcome disabilities and keep us active at the bench.

If you have a nifty gadget or idea or tip, please share it here.

For example I find my hands don't have the strength or agility of before thanks to diabetic nerve damage so I rely on more modelling aids.

One I use almost daily is a nut cracker, which cost 50c at a thrift store, which I used to open paint jars.

These nut crackers can be found at kitchen stores but yard sales will yield them for pocket money prices. The grip works on paint jars and glue bottles too.

There are many other modelling aids out there- head magnifiers, vices and so on, so please share with us your favourite modelling aid. Declining health should not stop us enjoying the hobby if there are gadgets we can put into use to help.

Dave Wilson
Gold Coast
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Offline Rookie

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Re: Modelling aids and tips for those with health issues
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2021, 04:42:21 PM »
Good thread Dave!

I agree with you. Discomforts come (mostly) with age and we all have a ways to deal with them.

The nut cracker is a great idea, If you're afraid to damage metal caps, you could line the surfaces of the nutcracker with strips of rubber from an old inside bicycle tire tube.

My biggest discomforts are arthritis in the hands and my poor eye-sight.

To hold a part firmly down to my cutting mat to keep it in place while I cut or sand it, can be painful at times, and sometimes my joints lock, especially in the summer with high humidity. The only thing that helps is to give it a rest for a while.

I wear -3 lenses and use +2.5 reading glasses. To get a better look closer by I also use 2 pair of reading glass at the same time. (I got this from the clockmaker Steve in the BBC series 'The repair shop'). Looks silly, but it works.

I've tried head magnifiers, but my head is big enough as it is. No, just kidding. I tried them, but they just don't work for me.

A while back I got a really priceless birthday present: a loupe-light with 84 leds and an 178 mm 5x magnifying lens.

Whenever I can I make and use templates and jigs to produce parts that are supposed to have the same form or shape.

The rib jig I made really helps to get the ribs straight and evenly spaced. Even for a one-off it pays off. Because of the arthritis, it is hard for me to keep my hands steady. Now I can rest my hands on both sides of the jig on the table. This way I can position the ribs more easy in line with the pencil lines.

Last but not least I use this precision ruler. It has holes for every 0,25 mm and it helps me to measure very accurately. You can use a sharp tipped pencil, a mechanical pencil or even the tip of a sharp no. 11 knife blade to pin-point reference points. Again I can work more precisely than with an ordinary ruler and trembling arthritis hands.

There is also one in inches.


« Last Edit: July 30, 2021, 08:41:25 PM by Rookie »

Offline Alexis

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Re: Modelling aids and tips for those with health issues
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2021, 10:50:31 PM »
Dave , I remember those nut crackers , my Dad always had one beside his chair , he was into beer and nuts . I miss that sound of the nuts cracking , happy memories !

With mobility being lost with my fingers I'm going to have pick one of these up ...I didn't even think of using this for opening jars of paint . Excellent idea .

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Offline lone modeller

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Re: Modelling aids and tips for those with health issues
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2021, 04:54:59 AM »
For those like me who cannot get on too well with an optivisor I use an eye loupe which clips to the side arm of my glasses. It gives x10 magnification but there is a second lens which is different 9Not sure what the magnification is - probably x5). The loupe is light so that it does not hurt the nose when worn for long periods but does allow for precision work. They can be found on the net and prices vary a little but a few is all they cost and I would not be without mine.


Offline Flute

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Re: Modelling aids and tips for those with health issues
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2021, 07:57:45 PM »
Instead of nutcrackers I use one of those thingies that live in kitchens to aid the removal of stuck jam jar lids. They have 3 diameters of grips mounted concentrically, and handles which are longer than those of the average nutcracker, so you get more leverage and can get the paint lid off with less effort. The 3 diametres mean you can choose the one that best matches the lid you're tackling, which improves traction and lessens damage to the lid, although some (like Testors) still need a bit of cushioning with some used masking tape.

I've always been extremely short sighted, so early on got a headband magnifier since I never learned to coordinate while looking through a desktop or hand-held  glass. The type I use have lenses that you can flip up when you don't need them, which for me makes the difference between being too cumbersome and useable, and I couldn't model at all without them.