S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description:
Mission Models Etch
Mate Photo Etch bending fixture
||One 6.5" x 3.5" tool; one
safety razor blade (as folding aid)
local tax and shipping from Mission Models
excellent operation; multiple size folding heads; permits sharp
and precise folds; holds while it folds - parts won't fly to
the awaiting Carpet Monster.
||Highly Recommended for
frequent photo-etch users
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In common with many modellers, I have coped throughout
the years without a photo-etch folding tool. I have used tweezers,
pliers and hobby knives to fold parts. The results have not always
been satisfactory, and an unhappily large number of small parts have
sprung away from my workspace to be consumed by the voracious Carpet
I therefore awaited the arrival of the Etch Mate with
interest. Before the tool arrived I wondered whether, at just 6.5" x
3.5", the Etch Mate would be big enough for all tasks, and whether it
would make a difference to the way that I work with photo-etched
The Etch Mate arrived packed in a sturdy box. The tool
is fully assembled except for four rubber feet for the bottom of the
baseplate. These prevents slippage when the tool is being used.
The base is a plate of anodized, grey-green, satin
finished steel. A shallow triangular folding guide is etched into the
steel in line with the folding head. The folding head is a slightly
brighter green, held in place by a release knob and four additional
guide pins. The folding head features six "fingers" of different
widths to suit most folding jobs. For especially long runs of
photo-etch such as railings, the head can be reversed to use a
full-length folding edge. Having used the tool now, I can see that
6.5" will be quite long enough for the vast majority of folding tasks.
Indeed, most photo-etched frets are less than 6.5" in total length
The Etch Mate feels very sturdy and looks well
designed. Turning the plastic knob raises the folding head smoothly
and evenly. This is a very professional piece of work.
I have been holding off completion of a photo
etch-intensive project until the Etch Mate arrived. I wanted to fold
some small, narrow pieces that would be difficult to bend evenly using
a knife or pliers. The model was a 1/400 scale Mirage Type IXA U-Boat,
and the parts to be folded were very small and delicate:
1. Preparing Etch Mate for Use
The knob was slackened off to lift the folding head
from the surface of the baseplate.
2. Clamping the Photo-Etched
I selected the closest sized folding "finger" and
placed the part underneath. I was careful to precisely centre the fold
line of the part under the finger before twisting the knob back down
to secure the photo-etch. Correct placement of the fold line is
probably the most important element of the job.
3. Folding the Part
A razor blade is supplied to use to actually bend the
clamped part. The blade is slid under the part, all the way to the
folding head. The blade is lifted evenly and firmly, folding the part
as it goes. If the blade is positioned correctly, it should be
pivoting on the triangular folding guide in the base.
4. Releasing the Part
The knob is again turned to release the folded part.
5. What Are You Waiting For?
It is time to glue the part to your model!
In contradiction of the old saying, the Etch Mate is
one new trick that this old dog will be very pleased to learn.
This is the first time that I have used a dedicated
photo-etched folding tool. In the short time that I have used the Etch
Mate, it has proven its value as a simple, precise and reliable way to
fold photo-etched parts. It is far more effective than any of the
methods that I used before. In addition to its value when folding
parts, it also minimises the risk of losing parts as the photo-etched
piece is securely clamped while it is being folded. I am sure
that I will find the tool even more useful as I find different
applications for it over time.
Whether you build ships, aircraft or vehicles, if you
regularly work with photo-etched parts the Etch Mate will become a
regular and helpful companion.
Highly Recommended for frequent photo-etch users
Thanks to Jon Tamkin from
the preview image and information
Etch Mate is available
from Mission Models
Rreview Text and all Images Copyright © 2003 by
This Page Created on 27 January, 2003
24 August, 2003
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