How to outmanoeuvre the carpet monster

Preventing model making tool and part loss

In the threads of my carpet lives a monster.

He’s grumpy, bad-tempered and loves nothing better than to grab the tiny parts of my models that I occasionally drop and scurry away with them, hiding them so they are never seen again.

Screws, nuts, couplers, lights, soldering iron tips and plastic kit parts have all fallen prey to the little critter.

It’s a hazard all modelers face.

We’re working at our modeling desk or workbench when some tiny part rolls off onto the floor, or we drop something.

That’s it. Gone. Forever. In the worst case, it can mean having to buy a whole new model as the missing part will, of course, be critical to the build but impossible to replicate or replace individually.

Some time ago I was replacing the couplers on my wagons and in the process of fitting them, I lost three of them.  Frustrating, expensive and annoying.

You can imagine my delight when the other day when, while reading posts in the The Grumpy Old Scale Modelers Group, I came across a post by fellow modeler Richard van Kempen on his defense against the floor dwelling beasty.

It’s a long apron that hangs between the neck and workbench and so catches any parts or tools that drop or fall. It denies the carpet monster his prize while saving tiresome crawling around on hands and knees to find missing bits.

Any long apron will do, although I’d glue velcro fasteners to the underside of my workbench and bottom of the apron to allow it to be easily attached and removed.

Thanks, Richard for the wonderful idea.

> Photo reproduced here by kind permission of Richard van Kempen.

  1. When working with small parts I work on a tray about 300mm x 200mm that has a 5mm vertical lip. I’m not sure now where it came from but it is predominantly made of cork. Any dropped screws or rivets are prevented from falling or bouncing on to the floor most of the time.

    • Sounds very useful Tony. I nearly made something similar once from an old tea-tray but the cork to stop things bouncing is a great idea. Andy

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