When it comes to cutting tools, there are various options available, each with their own advantages. The most important factor is that the blade is sharp and precise. If you are new to using sharp blades and cutting tools, it is essential to practice and get used to working with the tool carefully. Blades should be replaced frequently to ensure easy cutting and avoid accidents caused by unnecessary pressure on a blunt blade, which can cause it to slip.
The scalpel is an excellent choice for intricate and detailed cutting, making it a preferred tool for working with models. However, it is vital to handle it with care due to its super-sharp and accurate blade. The X-Acto knife is another popular option for precision cutting and is also easy to get extra blades for.
For a more versatile cutting tool, the Olfa knife is a good choice. It is not as dangerous as the scalpel or X-Acto knife, and the blades can be snapped off when blunt to reveal a sharp new one.
A cutting mat is an essential tool to protect your desk or table from scratches and cuts, as well as to prevent the blade from becoming blunt quickly. A cutting ruler with grooves to protect your fingers is useful for cutting straight lines and is worth investing in, particularly if you tend to be accident-prone.
Different adhesives are available for different materials, and it is crucial to select the correct one. Choosing the wrong adhesive could result in the material not sticking properly, or worse, the glue dissolving some materials. Acrylic resin glue is a fast-acting, strong-bonding adhesive, but it is not suitable for paper or card. Wood glue is a good option for woods and can also work for card, foam, and paper, but it is not suitable for metal or plastic. PVA is an all-purpose glue that works well with card, paper, and foam board, although it is not as strong as wood glue. Clear synthetic resin, like UHU, is ideal for paper, card, and foam, as it dries clear. A glue gun allows for quick drying but can be stringy and messy to use. A glue syringe is useful for precision gluing, especially in intricate areas of the model. Double-sided tape is also handy for bonding pieces while the glue dries, but it may tear away if used with card or paper.
If you have access to a laser cutter, it is worth giving it a try as it allows for very accurate cutting very quickly. The laser cutter can cut various materials such as wood, cardboard, paper, foam, polystyrene, and acrylics. Preparing a 2D CAD drawing to lay out the pieces of the puzzle that will need to be cut out is required before using the laser cutting machine.