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Hobby Project - Miniature Grip Handle for painting


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Years ago, I remember seeing this on a hobby site:



It is a miniature holder for painting and sculpting that was developed by Stephen Rath. He had since refined his design and is in the process of fulfilling his successful Kickstarter.


If you want to check out his new design and completed Kickstarter campaign, click here.


Because I don't paint often, I did not back this campaign. I think what he does is awesome and well worth the money, but I was not compelled to jump in. I now see this as a mistake since I have two active hobby projects that would make good use of this.


I guess I will just need to build one. :)


Between a day off from work (thanks MLK!) and a Home Depot just 3 miles away, I have built my first prototype.


Here is version 1 of my Miniature Grip Handle (MGH):



Here is what I did, and why I did it.


I knew I wanted to find a better way to hold a single pinned miniature for painting. Being pleased with my solution to hold multiple models for priming (a series of binder clips mounted to a board which can be seen here), I thought about mounting a single binder clip to a stubby dowel or PVC. It seemed like a good enough idea, so it was off to Home Depot.


In the very short drive over, I started thinking about the flaws in this plan. I just used the priming rig for the first time earlier today and noticed the models are held well but do shift around some. I think a more stable connection is needed. As I roamed the aisles at Home Depot I remembered the Rath design. The idea of pressure-fitting the pinned legs of the model within a split cork would much more stable. It was time to find a cork!


I figure I had two targets for corks and stoppers, the plumbing section and the hardware section. After striking out with my first choice, the hardware section delivered in a big way. I found corks and rubber stoppers in more than a dozen sizes. I decided that rubber would be a better choice and started grabbing sizes that I thought would work. As my pile began to grow, I started to consider the logic of my actions. It felt like I was buying the bullets before the gun. So I started the process of returning the stoppers to their drawer and directed my excitement to the wonder of the PVC row.


For me, there is no better place in Home Depot for creativity and innovation than the PVC row. I'd like to say I spent 10 minutes or so finding the best pieces for this project, but the truth is closer to spending 20+ minutes orchestrating a full-on fittings orgy. At the end of the process, I had a smile on my face and the 3 pieces needed for this project.

  • 1" x 3/4" male adapter
  • 3/4" female adapter
  • 3/4" x 1/2" reducer bushing

With the right pieces in tow, it was back for the correct size stopper.

  • 1 7/16" x 1 3/16" rubber stopper

My mental design required one more piece:

  • 3/4" cut washer

I was now ready to head home and build!



The tools and additional supplies you will need for this project are:

  • Super Glue Gel
  • Medium grit sandpaper or a coarse file
  • Utility knife

Start by sanding off the lettering on the bottom of the bushing. Having a flat surface will make gluing it to the washer easier.



Once the bushing is flat, place it sanded side up and lay a bead of super glue around the perimeter. Next, set the washer on top of the bushing and wait for it to dry.



Now, take your utility knife and cut the stopper down the middle. Cut from the wider side, and do not cut all the way through.



Cut 50-75% of the way down the stopper. Take you time and use multiple passes with the knife. You will find it easier if you spread the stopper with your fingers as you continue to cut.



Finally, all that is left is assembly.



(Final note: Do not glue any other components together, reason is below)


If you followed along, and have not glued or cut yourself fatally, you should now have a brand new MGH!


Here are a few tips for usage:

  • You will not need a lot of pressure inserting the stopper to securely hold a miniature
  • If you do use too much pressure, simply use a pen to apply pressure from the underside through the hole in the bottom
  • The base can be easily removed to reduce the weight of the holder to reduce fatigue

All of the parts needed for this project (outside of the tools and glue) cost a total of $4.87. I'm sure I could spend less with some frugal online shopping, but getting everything at one place was well worth it. Besides, there are very few places in town where I can have that much fun with PVC and not get arrested. :)

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