Dropping Small Parts (tips)

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Jimmer

Well-Known Member
This topic came up on a model building Facebook group and I thought I'd share this and see if possibly anyone had come up with a better alternative to avoid dropping/losing parts (other than being cautious of course).

I'd assume most of us have dropped that tiny part during assembly that seemingly vanishes and takes some hunting for.
I used to use tweezers when handling small parts but after having one "pop" off the tweezers and fly across the room I've given that up.

One useful trick I use when working with very small parts is to work over a cardboard box with a dark bottom and high sidewalls. I've gone so far as to cut a second bottom for the box that I can quickly drop in that is white, for when I'm working with dark colored parts.
That way if I drop the part it falls in the box and is quickly found.
This is probably overkill, but my workroom has hard floors and too many times I've wasted precious building time looking for a dropped part.

On a side note, this is a tip I've found extremely useful:
I know it's a terrible practice, but my work room tends to get far more cluttered than I would like which can lead to lost time looking for a particular tool or product.
Years ago I read a snippet in Popular Science magazine that said using a flashlight to search for an item will help tremendously.

The reason is (and I'm paraphrasing, been years since I read the article) when scanning a room looking for something the human mind tends have trouble narrowing the field of vision to a small area. If you use a flashlight (with a narrow beam) your mind will stay focused on where the light is.
One day I got a call and while walking around my work room chatting I sat down a small bottle of liquid cement I'd been using before the call. When I hung up I couldn't find the bottle anywhere, remembered this trick, grabbed a light and found it almost immediately.
I've used this trick so often that I now keep a small flashlight on my desk for this purpose.
Kind of random tip, I know, but if your space is cluttered (like mine) I highly recomend giving this a try.

If anyone has any ideas to share I'd love to hear.

I realize this is a rookie level thread, but with my large hands and deteriorating eyesight (I'm about to hit the dreaded 50) dropping small parts is a recurring problem.

I lost the round piece that goes on the tail end of a 1/72 Bandai X-Wing cannon (rogue squadron version, but same piece as Red 5's)
and never did find it. I believe it fell off long after assembly but to this day one cannon is missing the back end piece.
I don't cast parts, so if anyone does and would be interested I'd gladly pay for the part, shipping and your time.
I could buy a new kit, but I'd still be left with a complete X-wing minus the one part.
 

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modelcitizen

Sr Member
i understand the fading eyesight and diminishing patience(52). i indeed have been using a flashlight to find missing pieces. i also found shining the light sideways parallel to my linoleum floor makes them stand out.
what i really wanted to post about was your correct usage and spelling of LOSING however. lol
LOOSING drives me up the wall....
 

RedheadKevin

Active Member
I used a magnet to attach a flashlight to the underside of my workbench. It's common enough to drop stuff that it's come in VERY handy. Also, if you have a rug under your workbench, lifting the edge to shake around anything on the rug can be helpful. You won't believe how many times I've only been able to spot a dropped part because it moved when I shook the rug. I've even used the "drop another one" technique, on the assumption that a second part would fall similar to how the first one fell. It works more often than you'd think.
 

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joberg

Master Member
Well, since I have long fingers, dropping (or placing) a small tiny greeblie on a model is not my problem (62 years old now)...but, I've been using, from time to time Katsumi-san's trick of using a small QTip with the double-sided tape when needed.
 

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