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FROM THE October 2007 ISSUE
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Better braided lines and fittings

Two ways to make engine-bay plumbing easier
RELATED TOPICS: IN-DEPTH TECHNIQUES | HOW-TO
Lift the hood of any race car from the 1950s or later, and you're bound to find one thing: steel braided lines and AN fittings. (AN is a US-military-derived specification stemming from a joint standard agreed upon by the Army and Navy - hence AN. However, some documents say the name is really Air Force/Navy.)

Some modelers are intimidated by the thought of adding these details to their models, but with a little patience, the right supplies, and a bit of guidance, you can add these instantly-recognizable lines to your model.

Follow along as I illustrate a few ways to assemble and install these often- daunting details.
METHOD ONE: PRO TECH SYSTEM
Here are the basic supplies needed to start plumbing your next project. The braided lines and fittings are made by Pro Tech, and this is one of the simplest, most-realistic ways to make AN lines.

When it comes time to start making hoses for a project, I try to do as many as possible. Start by cutting off several pieces of braid longer than you think you will need. A sharp blade is a big help. Make sure the ends are cut clean, and have not frayed.
Move the knife blade in about 1/2 inch from the end one of the previously cut pieces of braid, and gently roll it back and forth across the hose until you get to the copper center core. Try to just cut through the braided part; a light touch is needed.
After the braid is cut to the center, gently slide off the excess, exposing the copper center core.

Strip the braid from the rubber center core of the excess that had been removed. The rubber core will be reused; discard the scrap of braid.

Slide the rubber center core back onto the copper wire core. This will be the basis for the hard line of the fitting. After the rubber core is back on, slide two fittings over the braid. Make sure the first fitting sits right on top of the edge where the braid and rubber core meet; the second fitting will sit right next to it on the braid. A touch of super glue will hold them in place.
Use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to bend the hard line section to the desired angle. Normally a 90-degree fitting is used, but 45 degrees is common as well. I usually bend up several styles at once, just in case.
After the hard line is bent to the proper angle, slide another fitting on the hard line to serve as the pipe fitting. This is held on with a touch of super glue.
With the connection complete, the hard line needs to be painted. Use some chrome silver paint and a fine brush to paint the rubber-coated hard line to match the fittings. This will serve as a base for the anodizing paints.
The fittings can be finished by brush-painting Clear Red and Blue. Tamiya jar paints work well for this, and Sharpies can be used too. I prefer to paint them before they are added to the model.
Good reference material will be needed to show where the lines mount. Drill pilot holes the same size as the hard line. These oil lines will go from the pan to the dry sump pump, to be added later.

Do a dry test-fit first to get an idea of where the lines will go. This will show how long they need to be, and where the other end of the fitting will need to be placed. After the length is determined, use the same steps to do the other end of the hose. Do another test-fit to make sure everything looks right, then apply to the model.
METHOD TWO: DETAIL MASTER SYSTEM
One of the original, still-popular methods of building AN hoses and fittings is made by Detail Master. It truly is a system. It consists of the braid, fittings, and hard lines.
To avoid a lot of frustration, drill out the fitting before you start. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, hold the combination fitting while you run a pin vise bit through the center - just enough to open the center a bit, and give a bit more room to get the braid through.
Here's the bit through the fitting. Do all of these at once, and things will go more smoothly.
Lay out enough supplies to do several hoses at once. Here I have a few pieces of braid cut, and I've cut off a few pieces of the hard line. After the hard line is cut, bend up several angles.
The compression fitting is tapered on one side; the adapter fitting (middle) is the thinnest; the pipe fitting is at right. Roll a new blade in the groove between the pipe and adapter fittings, until they separate.
After all of the combination fittings are separated, glue the pipe fittings to one side of the hard lines, and slide the compression/adapter fittings onto the braids. Here's where reaming out the center pays off.
Slide the braid through the fitting until the end of the braid is at the center of the fitting. Go too far and the fitting will fall off; it needs to be pulled through far enough so there is room for the hard line to fit in there too.
Touch the open end of a piece of hard line into some super glue, and insert it into the open end of the fitting. Give it a minute, then touch the fitting again with some super glue from a toothpick, to give it a bit more strength. Try to make sure as little glue as possible gets on the braid; that will stiffen it, and make it difficult to work with.
Here's the set of hoses, ready for test-fitting. After the length of the hose is determined, follow the same steps for the other side.

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