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The Small Shop's
4" Hold and Fold
Photoetched Parts Bending Machine

By Ray Mehlberger

MSRP: $39.00

If you have ever been frustrated (as I many times have been) with trying to get neat, precise folds into some of the teensy parts that come on some photo-etched parts frets…then The Small Shop has come to all our rescue.

This editor received one of their Hold and Fold machines in the mail this week, and a fine piece of engineering it is!!!

The machine (or fixture) is constructed of aluminum alloy. The base plate is 4" x 3" and has 4 felt feet under it to keep from scratching your work surface up (nice thought there). The top, spring loaded plate, is 4" x 1 ½" in diameter and has 4 cut outs milled into it. These cut outs are spaced at various distances apart to give you a 1 ¼", 1/16", 1/8", ¼", and a ½" folding edge along one side and a full 4" folding surface on the reverse edge. The edges of the upper plate are beveled, so that the modeler can fold P.E. up to 135 degree angles or less. This upper plate is held in place with a spring loaded screw that has a ball head for easy tightening with thumb and forefinger. 2 guide pins slide up in down in the holes that are near each end of the upper plate…to keep things lined up. The instructions say that this upper plate can be fully rotated to have the cut out edge to the side of the base plate, instead of to the middle of it…if need be. How versatile can you get???!!

I have tried this machine on various parts from a Eduard P.E. set and can tell you that this puppy works GREAT!! What comes to my mind is the old expression "Where have you been all my life!" I don't know about the rest of you guys, but with me in tri-focals (the old peepers aren't what they used to be) this machine is a God send for me….and….I am sure it would be for others.

The brochure that comes with the machine lists 3 other products that The Small Shop makes: some extra heads for the 4" Hold and Fold machine that I just got, a 8" model of the Hold and Fold machine…for bigger projects, and a P.E. rolling set..that you can use to make P.E. into cylinders. This last set consists of 8 (what looks to be brass rods) that are 1/16" on up to ½" diameters and a wood rolling table. I assume you use the rods like you would a rolling pin to roll out cookie dough on top of the P.E. parts you want to curve!!

I highly recommend this machine and find it to be invaluable to a modeler if you are going to tackle P.E. parts on your models. Those parts the size of a fly's eyebrow lashes don't intimidate me anymore!

My grateful thanks go out to the folks at The Small Shop for this review sample. I will put it to a lot of use on my armor kits.

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