Plastic Scale
Modeling page
Adjustable Magnifying Stand

So - I needed to paint a name on the nose of a '109. The name was 0.36 inches long, and the tallest letter was 0.083 inches tall (approx. 11/128"). All the rest of the letters were a whopping 0.052 inches tall (about 1/20"). I did up the name in CorelDraw, scaled it to the correct size, and printed it out to use as a pattern. It was really small!

Now the ideal solution would have been to find somebody that had an ALPS printer and get the name printed out on decal paper (ALPS printers can print white). Unfortunately, my current circle of associates does not include one that owns an ALPS, so the other two options were to either try painting it by hand, or cut out a mask from Tamiya tape, and spray it.

Except I can't see stuff that small any more.

What I needed was a way to magnify the work, so I went on Amazon, and checked out the various options. It seems they fell into one of two distinct and non-overlapping categories:

1) If I could afford it, the reviews were all "DON'T BUY THIS PIECE OF CRAP!,


2) if I couldn't afford it, it didn't matter anyway, because the reviews were all "To use this, you need to be only two inches from what you're working on (no room for a paint brush or a hobby knife).

After pondering those two unappealing options for a bit, I decided I could do just as well for myself, so I decided to make my own.

A couple of days and a couple of pencil sketches later, it looked Like I had a workable solution based around a magnifying glass I'd found in a desk drawer. It would have a rotating arm that was adjustable for height, and it would of course be made from bits and scraps I had laying about.

The stand is pretty basic. The base is three pieces of wood held together by bolts and wing-nuts. The widely separated side pieces allow plenty of room to work, and can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the wing-nuts.

The arm holding the magnifying glass can rotate around the vertical rod so the glass can be moved where it's needed.

The arm is also adjustable for height using a bolt to tighten it in place.

The aluminum arm has a hole tapped for the adjustment bolt.

A hole was drilled near the head of the bolt for a tightening handle, which I made from a bent nail (really!).

Loosening the bolt allows the arm to be raised or lowered on the vertical rod, and when the preferred height is found, the handle is used to tighten the bolt, locking it in place.

The magnifying glass is a press-fit in a rounded slot cushioned with a couple of leather scraps to keep it from getting scratched up.

When not in use, the entire affair can be collapsed (except for the vertical rod) for more convenient storage by loosening the wing-nuts.

Here's a couple more pictures of the magnifying stand.

Another shot of it collapsed for storage.

(except for the non-collapsible
vertical rod) . . .

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