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Cutting Plasticard Advice

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Chris Fellows06/02/2021 21:51:19
991 forum posts
643 photos

From my builds so far I've gotten reasonably competent at building with timber but am now at a stage when I will shortly need to produce the window frames and later some other parts.

I've bought some sheets of Plasticard in 0.5 and 1.00mm thicknesses but apart from knowing I will need something sharp I haven't got a clue!

So an Idiots Guide would be very much appreciated covering the best tools and how to cut the frames out including curves. I assume that it's difficult to cut the frame straight out accurately, particularly the curves, and that some filing will be required? If so what are the best type of files?

The more basic the better.

Thanks, Chris

David Marks 107/02/2021 09:44:35
255 forum posts
44 photos

Chris - For cutting Plasticard you need a straight edge (steel rule) and a SHARP knife of you choice e.g. Swann-Morton. Score the material along the line of the cut which causes a weak point and the snap along the line. Thin Plasticard can be cut with scissors. Internal apertures can be formed by chain drilling and the filing out to size. Depending on the size of the piece files can be from 6 inch in length to needle files. I also used emery/abrasive sticks (nail files) used for trimming finger nails can also be used.

James Hill 507/02/2021 10:21:10
126 forum posts
94 photos

Chris- I agree with what David Marks has said and would add that you get yourself a cutting mat. They come in various sizes ,A4 for example and give you a good surface to cut on.

I`ve used Plasticard a lot when building structures on my railway and find it a very easy material to work with and I intend to use it on the boat I`m trying to build at the moment . The glue I use when gluing plasticard together is Slaters Mek Pak, but there are others,

Best of luck,


Chris Fellows07/02/2021 10:40:43
991 forum posts
643 photos

Thanks for the replies. The scoring and snapping is useful to know. I'll have to get myself a decent set of needle files.


Ray Wood 207/02/2021 11:04:32
2484 forum posts
862 photos

Hi Chris,

I must admit to not liking Plasticard never much as the blade has a habit of skipping off and spoiling the work , as said by David scoring lightly and many passes works fine, Although I have needle files, it's just as easy to make your own with dowel and abrasive paper and contact adhesive, I use P120 & the finer grade P180 Hermes paper made in Austria from Axminster tools.

This probably explains why I love working with ply down to 1/64th

Are you window frames anodised aluminium of chrome plate on the real boats ??

Snowing quite well this morning in Kent

Regards Ray

Edited By Ray Wood 2 on 07/02/2021 11:05:04

David Marks 107/02/2021 11:22:22
255 forum posts
44 photos

Chris - Something to add. As with any cutting process you will end up with "burr" on the cut edge. With Plasticard the removal of the burr is very easy. A piece of metal e.g. the edge of a steel rule just drawn lightly along the edge and the burr just falls away.

Tim Cooper07/02/2021 12:32:44
440 forum posts
212 photos


I have couple of Linex Hobby cutting rulers, bought from Amazon, they have a non slip rubber pad underneath. One side for measuring and the other is thicker for cutting against. This helps to.prevent the knife blade skipping. They work for me. I bought a 50 cm one first, then a 30 cm one which I find easier to use on a work top. I use the cheap snap off blade knives and emery boards for filing the edges. Liquid poly for gluing.


Edited By Tim Cooper on 07/02/2021 12:35:00

Stephen Garrad07/02/2021 14:44:07
14 forum posts
2 photos


The green cutting mats from "The Works", the cheapy book &craft shop are very good at £8-00 for 24"x18" or 600x450 if you prefer, the local Hobbycraft wanted £24 for the same size.

Chris Fellows07/02/2021 17:45:35
991 forum posts
643 photos

Thanks for the further replies and advice, much appreciated.

I've got everything needed, apart from a set of decent needle files, from what I've got for working with timber, so I'll have a bash now.

Ray, I don't know if they are chrome or aluminium but I'm going to try that Guild Lane Silver Chrome paint that the former editor used.


Dave Cooper 608/02/2021 12:14:37
305 forum posts
32 photos

With windows, I always drill /cut under-size then file to final shape. Bitter experience shows it's easier to remove material !

Scalpel blades can be re-sharpened on a grinding wheel /Dremel type tool. Although having a stock of new blades handy is a good policy I think. Buy quality needle files and they'll last for ever....I tend to use the flat, round and 'crescent' shaped ones mostly.

Happy modelling,


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