Top Studio Chain!!

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Top Studio Chain!!

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Top Studio Chain!!

Postby Mark » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:07 am

I'm sure some of you have heard of these infamous chain sets. They are widely feared as amongst the most difficult chain sets to assemble. I have a couple in my stash for bike kits that are lined up for future projects. Once I've finished the H2R, I plan to start the Kawasaki ZX-RR.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

I will be adding the Top Studio super detail set, carbon fibre decals, etc., etc. and of course, a chain set. I reckon that the two biggest improvements you can make to a bike are etched brake discs and a real chain. I'm sure we should be able to tempt James to the dark side with all the aftermarket goodies available for some bikes. I'm not starting the kit itself yet, but I decided to spend a couple of hours making the chain.

Now it has to be said, the Hobby Design chain sets are cheaper, easier, and look just as good. However, they don't work. The Top Studio sets do make a fully functioning, and surprisingly robust chain. Given the benefit of hind sight, I'd opt ofr the HD set if it's available.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

In the set, you get an etched jig to assemble the chain.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

Etched links and etched sprockets. There are two different styles of links. A & B which have different sized holes.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

Finally, a bag of pins, nuts and bolts, some lengths of solder and an axle for the small sprocket.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

First, make up the start of the jig. The larger part is 4 pieces of etch plate, sandwiched together, then 'riveted' with 3 pieces of solder, squashed with smooth jawed pliers. I bolted it just for easy handling.
The smaller part is just two pieces of etched super-glued together. Again, bolts to ensure alignment. Scalpel blade for scale.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

Now you take the pins and drop them in each slot, except for the first slot. (This is actually a bad idea, but I'll take you along my voyage of discovery and get to that later.)

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

These are held in place by the top part. I just used a blob of blue Tac to hold it upright.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

Now add the spacer plates which are the same thickness as two rows of links.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

The instructions say to add two rows of links, then add the above spacers. I decided it was better to do it the other way round to save pinging the links off. There is actually an even better way of doing this.
Note that the instructions have the inner link over-hanging the pinning first pin. The last outer link overhangs the last pin (v).

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

Then you fit the rest of the jig.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

First row on links in place.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

Second row of links in place.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

And all buttoned up. You need to do both sides.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

To be continued.....
Cheers
Mark

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Re: Top Studio Chain!!

Postby chill » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:11 am

:o :shock:

Thats ridiculously small.

Is there a premium set where you get an electron microscope to assist you?
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Re: Top Studio Chain!!

Postby casper » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:25 am

wow that is small :o but the chain makes all the difference so I cant wait to watch this come together. Will be watching and taking notes for when I try something similar but simpler ;)
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Re: Top Studio Chain!!

Postby number1 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:35 pm

Great tutorial, always easier for me to see how its done than trying to follow instructions.
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Re: Top Studio Chain!!

Postby Mark » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:01 am

I’ll post the next few steps in the next day or so. I have managed to make a short section, but I’m calling that one a test! It does look good though. Very realistic.
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Re: Top Studio Chain!!

Postby Morris » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:10 am

The chain does make all the difference - awesome
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Re: Top Studio Chain!!

Postby Mark » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:49 am

Now that the chain is securely held in the jig, the next step is to rivet over the ends of the pins. This is done by the very technical approach of hitting it with a hammer! The instructions say to place it on a flat metal surface, like a vice or pair of pliers, and hit it! I happened to have an etched bending tool for forming bends and tubes. Completely useless for that purpose. However, it's just about right for this. I used the smallest of the pins so I could be precise with the hitting, but actually this turned out to be too small and damaged the jig a bit.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

While thumping I noticed that the jig did bulge up a bit. Perhaps starting at one end was a mistake, and starting in the middle may have been better?

After a good thumping, all the pins were flush with the surface of the jig, so I removed the screws and disassembled the jig. As you can see, a couple of the links had jumped out. Grrr!!!!! :angry-banghead: :angry-banghead: Hence, this is called the test piece. The pins had riveted over, and I couldn't get the links back on. I did shorten the chain by removing the faulty section, but I don't think I'll be able to use the section. It looks virtually impossible to join it the way the instructions describe.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

This is the chain section removed. It does look completely realistic, and it's surprisingly robust. A lot less delicate than the Tamiya RC166 chain, although Tamiya's chain is a LOT easier to assemble. This is also a bit stiff. I think I hit it too hard.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

So, lessons learnt? Don't hit it so hard! The pins are quite soft.
Change the way the ends are done. My plan for the next one is to put pins in all the slots. Put the inner links one all the pins, and the outer links not on the first and last pin, if you see what I mean. Then I will be left with end links that have an untouched pin at the end with inner links but no outer link. Then I can hold the ends together, drop an outer link on, and rivet over the pins. It sounds much easier (Oh, the best laid plans.....)
A tip I saw on this Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAzt4Tp15hc&t=59s) was to glue the links on with very dilute PVA. This should hold the links in place and stop the missing link syndrome. Then it's easily washed off after the chain is finished.

Let's see how I get on with the next section. :pray:
Cheers
Mark

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Re: Top Studio Chain!!

Postby casper » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:02 am

I would imagine the jig and its components will spread or move slightly with every tap so starting from the centre to the left and right will stop or reduce any pillowing, I forget the technical term we use in Aircraft manufacturing when the skins are drilled to the structure they start from the centre out....or should do :snooty:
I dont have a jig with my small Hobby design chain set, still challenging but a lot easier than your SC chain
I have been subscribed to Dalrens you tube channel for a while now, he builds some amazing bikes and his videos are very informative. I like his version of the YZF R1M
great tutorial Mark
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