Plastic Coatings in Model Making

In this post, we will further look at some of the tools, parts, and assemblies related to plastic coatings in model making and we will see how they are applied in these items. But before we proceed, let us first discuss what plastic coatings are and their general applications.

General Applications and Types of Plastic Coatings

Plastic coatings are commonly used to provide:

  1. Corrosion resistance
  2. Electrical insulation
  3. Cushioning against shock
  4. Non-sticking properties
  5. Decoration

There are several plastics used in coating applications in the market today. The most common plastic coatings include:

  1. Polythene

                A type of plastic coating which is commonly used for dipping. Polyethene can be manufactured in two grades such as low-density polythene and high-density polythene. Both grades are electrically non-conductive and provide good corrosion resistance.

dip coating basic process

2. Penton       

Penton, a trade name for chlorinated polyether, provides excellent resistance to corrosion at high temperatures.

3. Nylon          

An electrically non-conductive and non-toxic plastic coating that is also resistant to several acids, alkalis, solvents, and petroleum compounds.

4. Cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB)                

CAB is best suited for wireworks, where the surface is enveloped. This plastic coating is somehow like nylon, but it does not have the same adhesive properties.

5. Epoxy resin             

Epoxy resin coatings have excellent resistance to electricity. Like nylon, they are also resistant to acids, alkalis, and solvents. Epoxy resins are durable and stable to temperature changes making them suitable for large surfaces.

6. Neoprene

Neoprene has excellent solvent resistance.

7. Fluorocarbons (Emralon, FEP, PTFE, and PTFCE)         

Fluorocarbon coatings are known for their non-sticking properties.

Applications of Plastic Coatings in Model Making

Wirings. Circuits are common model making components that power up your models. For instance, a model railway uses a huge amount of wirings to make the train going and power up miscellaneous model features such as signal changes, lights, sounds, etc.

These wires are typically insulated to cover the metal thereby avoiding any unintentional contact with other conductors. Wire insulations can be classified into two:

  1. Thermoplastic

Thermoplastic materials melt under very high temperatures. They are often selected because they are economical. PVC, polythene, nylon, etc. are some of the most common thermoplastic insulations used nowadays.

2. Thermoset

Unlike thermoplastics, thermoset materials can withstand high temperatures. They are rubbery and do not melt even at elevated temperatures. Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) and chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) are some examples of thermoset insulations.

Tool grips. Hammers, pliers and screwdrivers are some of the beginner’s tools which are crucial for model making or model engineering. Tool grips are typically made from PVC, thermoplastics, or thermoplastic rubbers. The cushioning from plastic and rubber coatings provide comfort to model makers thereby increasing their productivity.

Author: John Hamlin

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