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Making buttons and buckles

Discussion in 'Sculpting' started by kaz6120, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. kaz6120 A Fixture

    Country:
    Japan
    I am just wondering...how do you guys making buttons on jackets, belt buckles and straps? any scales. If there are any good references please help.
  2. John Long Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Kaz,

    For buttons, I punch them out of copper sheet using a jeweler's setting tool, or roll out a small snake of Duro and slice off sections. I wish I had a good method for making buckles. I usually just mash something together out of Duro or Magic Sculpt. It's something I'd like to improve.
    kaz6120 likes this.
  3. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Historex used to have a punch and die set for making small scale buttons which was expensive but did the job.

    http://www.historexagents.com/shop/tips_punch.php

    Maybe you can find one on E-bay or perhaps someone else makes a similar one. I think I paid about $50 for mine ten years ago. It works great with thin lead sheet. You could also use the back end of small drill bits to punch out buttons in lead.

    I agree with John that buckles in 54mm or smaller is always a challenge.

    For straps and belts I use lead sheet or thin Kneadatite (Duro).
    kaz6120 likes this.
  4. Ulrich A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    For Buttons I use a rubber, a piece of wire in different scales and a tin foil, thats all. I will try to make some photos later on

    Ulrich
    kaz6120 likes this.
  5. housecarl A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    kaz6120 likes this.
  6. gordy Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
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  7. 1969 A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    For buttons buy a set of micro HSS twist drill bits and a pin vise, you can get a set of twenty drill bits from size 0.3 - 1.6mm for about £5 on e-bay. Put the cutting end of the drill into the pin vice and push out the disks from thin lead or foil sheet to create buttons that are all consistent, depending on what size drill bit you use creates the size of button.

    As for buckles I use the same method as Gordy, you can get good results this way.

    Nice tutorial Gordy :)

    Steve
    kaz6120 likes this.
  8. gordy Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks Steve :)

    I use the back end of a drill bit method as well for rivets too -

    Calvin Tan's method is excellent too, I just find it hard to do all that threading ;)

    An art teacher once told me "draw what you see, not what it is" I use that mantra for sculpting as well :D
  9. kaz6120 A Fixture

    Country:
    Japan
    Thank you very much you all!

    I've just tried Steve's "back-end of a drill bit method" now and I got a great result. I didn't know this tips so I'm really glad.:)

    Also, gody's tuts is really good and Calvin Tan method is great too. I think I can get the same result by both ways. Calvin's method is a little bit difficult for me 'cause I don't have similar PE parts, so I will try gordy's next time. ( and I like your art teacher's quote too)

    Gordy, why didn't you put that great tutorial PDF on SBS page? :)
  10. kansas kid Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Jayhawker Sobriquet: Champion of the Obvious

    Well, here I go again. . . stating something that everyone obviously knows.

    But in relation to that slide show tutorial listed in this thread that showed
    making buckles with two part putty. . . OhMa'Gosh. . . another example of
    just how powerful the Internet is. With the putty method it doesn't make any
    difference what size buckle you need. You don't have to find some PE fret to
    canabalize (sp, sorry). This method of fashioning buckles from putty can be
    used for any scale.

    Wow, I've been modeling since 1965 and that simple fact, even though I
    work with Apoxy Sculpt Putty almost every day, never dawned on me. I
    never made the connection.

    I won't forget it now, however. Kaz6120 asked a really good question.

    Yes, indeedy inquiring minds did want to know!! AND there was NEWS at
    Eleven.

    The Miami Jayhawk
  11. JasonB A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    I keep it simple. For buttons I roll a tiny ball of Magic Sculp, then press it flat. Letting it set up a bit so that its firm works best. I just use any sharp,round object to make the holes in the button, if the scale is larger and they could be seen. For straps I roll out MS, let it firm up, then cut it into appropriate width strips, then add them to the fig. Its a fine line between too firm to work with, and not firm enough. Sometime I will just sculpt them on the figures by rolling out some MS into snakes, flattening it where it needs to be on the fig, trimming it with an xacto, then smoothing it out. Repeat as necessary. If it need to be raised off the surface, I just wait until the MS is very firm, and lift it slightly with an xacto blade.
    For belt buckles, I put a firm blob of MS where it need to be on the belt, flatten it out and smooth it, then cut it to shape. Then I use a rounded X-acto knife blade to cut in the inside border/belt part. If I need to, I will wait until that dries, then go back in and add the belt, slight raised to go up over the keeper, push in a couple of holes, and add the prong through one of those holes.
    This is all from working in 1/16th scale or larger, my eyes aren't good enough to do anything much smaller any more.
    Cheers
    Jason
    EDIT
    Holy crap, I just looked at Gordy's method for buckles, and we do it basically the same way. That can't be right, I don't do anything the right way!!!! :)
  12. gordy Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Yes, it is planned for SBS ;)

    Rick, thanks - yep , the " sculpt what you see, not what it is" makes for good shortcuts :)
  13. Ulrich A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    If someone is interested in my method to make buttons I have made some pictures. It was not my idea to make them in such a kind. I have seen that method somewhere but don´t know where.

    But it is easy and you can make buttons in nearly every scale

    Picture one shows one "wire". I drill the wire trough the foil into the rubber. Then, with a knife, I search the buttons in the rubber and pull them out.

    The figure is 75mm, so you can see how small the buttons are

    Ulrich

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  14. gordy Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks Ulrich , good stuff! (y)
  15. Ray Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    My two cents: Making buttons and buckles

    Guys, just thought this might be of interest. To make buttons with a domes center, concave or convex us the method outline in previous responses to punch out buttons from foil-preferably lead-but with a piece of brass tube. The result will be buttons with a domed center that can be turned over for a dished center. Works even on very small buttons provided you can find tube small enough in diameter. Syringe needles with their ends ground flat work perfectly too.

    To make belt buckles square or rectangular brass rod works well. The result is a flat square or rectangle perfectly formed though you still have to sculpt on the belt in the pieces center. Other shapes can be made by shaping the rode with a file to the desired form. To get around having to sculpt that bit of belt use a punch made from square or rectangular brass tube the result is much the same as with buttons punched with tube except that the raised center is the shape of the tube, not round in this case. Tricky enough yet?

    No, okay try this one, with brass channel (square of rectangle with one open side) punch buckles from the very edge of the lead sheet lining up the channel square with the edge, open side pointed out. What you get is a square-ish U shaped buckle with raised belt material in the center rear. Now all you have to do after gluing to your figure is sculpt the actual belt right up to this raised bit of the punched part. Again, other shapes can be made but this time from brass sheet formed to the desired shape with one side open.

    In the larger scales buckles and I believe buttons are best formed from thicker lead sheet (Amazon lists lead sheet at 1/32 inch thick, perfect). The thicker sheet results in raised bits standing more proud of the buckles, button outer rims. If the punch and punched out lead is pushed deeper into the rubber sheet, or firmer rubber than is necessary to simply punch the part out the center raised bits will be crisper and higher too.

    These pictures aren’t very good I admit but hopefully they will give some idea of what I am talking about. The picture with the rule also shows a couple pieces of brass square tube, and a syringe needle filed flat. The smaller round button is about .75mm diameter. Although smaller round buttons can be made forming a domed center really doesn’t work any smaller than this. Any extruded brass can be used to make the forming punch, just file the end flat to end up with sharp edges and brass will cut through lead foil nicely, so you don’t have to have a set of tiny wire gauge drills for the job, though you ought to have a set anyway for other things like drilling holes. If you do use drills for punches be sure and grind the blunt end flat, sharpening stone or wet/dry sand paper work fine for this, otherwise your punched part won’t have clean sharp edges.


    Regards,

    Ray

    Attached Files:

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  16. gordy Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Excellent technique Ray (y) Thanks!

    I've used the tube/button method before, I ran an xacto tip on the inside of the tube to make the edge sharp (for easy punching)
  17. Ray Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Gordy,
    I hope I'm not teaching anyone's grandmother stuff about eggs but, the sharpened tube is great for making domed buttons without the flat rim. The flat rim is only made with a flattened tube end that hasn't had the walls thinned. I neglected to mention the simple domed buttons being hung up on the other kinds and buckles.

    I wonder if there might not be a better way to make buttons and especially buckles. Can't think of one myself but would be pleased to learn any new technique if there's one to offer. I'm convinced for now that the best way to make buckles would be to have them etched but haven't persued it yet not wanting to take the time necessary to create the digital art for etching, maybe oneday.


    Ray
  18. gordy Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Ray,

    Teach away brother! :) There are always new folks that can use this info, it's a great thread. (y)
  19. kaz6120 A Fixture

    Country:
    Japan
    Three WOWs to you, Ray. :)
    That's really a great How-to.

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