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Filing & Cleaning Metal Miniatures

STAGE#5 - Cutting the Parts.

Now you have cast you first figure you must cut away the sprue and make sure that all the parts are ready to file and glue. This stage can often be overlooked, but that would be a mistake.

Tools you will need when removing parts from the casted sprues: (Fig.1).

  • Flush Snips (Cutters),
  • Blade Saw,
  • Modeller Knives with replaceable blades.
Fig.1 - Cutting Tools
Fig.2 - Bend Protective Sprue away from parts

(Fig.2) Some sprues have a protective frame surrounding the parts. This can now be pulled away from the parts to allow easy access to begin removal of figure parts.

(Fig.3) When cutting with flush snips always turn the flat part of the snips to the part you want. This results in a cleaner cut.

(Fig.4) It is very annoying to find that when cutting away the sprue you have accidentally damaged a piece of the part you want. To avoid this, it is advisable to cut at least 2mm from the part especially when cutting thicker sprues. You will notice that the snips will push towards the part as it cuts so keeping back from the part avoids the danger of damage.
Fig.3 - Use flat of snips against part when cutting.
Fig. 4 - Leave at least 2mm from part when cutting.

(Fig.5) Some sprues connected to more delicate parts can be thinned by scoring with a modeller's knife and twisted off or cut off completely by the blade.

Very thick sprues can be a bit too much for normal snips. However if you score them with a blade were the parts meet sprue and then twist off with the aid if a pliers you can overcome this problem.

Make sure it is well scored before doing this or you could wrap or damage the part itself. Some might prefer to use a bladesaw for a cleaner cut from sprue.

Fig.5 Use blade to score sprue when removing it from delicate parts.
Fig.6 Use blade saw to heavily score large sprues or risk damage to parts.

Tips to remember:

  • Bend protective sprue away from parts.
  • Turn flat part of snips to the part you want.
  • Cut at least 2mm from part.
  • Score sprue with knife to protect delicate parts.
  • Thicker sprues may need additional scoring or even the use of a bladesaw to weaken the sprue and prevent damage to the part.
Next Tutorial we deal with filing the parts.