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Solvent proof self-healing mat

April 15 2018 at 12:08 PM
Bruce McClain  (Login BAMart)
HyperScale Forums
from IP address

I work on a Hobbico 24x18" Builders Cutting Mat. It is fine for model building as long as I don't spill solvents or glue on the surface. As soon as I try to wipe away the spill it also dissolves the measuring and grid markings. Would it help to first coat the mat with something like Future? Does anyone make an affordable solvent resistant self-healing mat?

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Rcboater Bill
(Login rcboater)
HyperScale Forums

I have the same problem....

April 15 2018, 12:43 PM 

..so I use an older, smaller mat on top as a cutting board when I’m doing cutting or gluing sub-assemblies. The grid on my sacrificial mat is nearly gone, but by big mat only has a few spots....

Following this post with interest- in case someone has a better idea.

- Bill
Webmaster, IPMS Patriot Chapter, Billerica, MA

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Rodney J Williams
(Login f2g1d)
HyperScale Forums

Good ????

April 15 2018, 1:55 PM 

Hi Bruce:

I have used different mat's over the past 30 years and both sides are marked with almost the same grid lines.

ANYWAYS.......super glue and my paint thinner solvents play hell on the mat's finish!

I use one side for measuring, then turn it over for cutting/glueing.

I have one green mat that is completely void of any markings.

Long,long ago, (1987) I bought two metal rulers and one plastic one.

One metal ruler has 1/72nd and 1/48 scale markings and the other one had 1/32 and 1/35 markings.

They were named Murphys Rulers.

My plastic ruler was marked for 1/24 scale.

I bought them at the local hobby shop in San Jose, CA/USA as it was before we got the internet/web system.

You may be able to find these measuring rulers on the web.

BTW: I have never cut through any of my mat's and I have built over 300 models on them since 1984.


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(Login 50sadc)
HyperScale Forums

Got rid of that matt years ago. I started using a 12X16 piece

April 15 2018, 2:39 PM 

of ceramic tile. When it gets too gunky I just scrape it off!

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Max Bryant
(Login takenname1)
HyperScale Forums

I have a couple matts

April 15 2018, 3:10 PM 

The one I used most got schmutzed up pretty good. When I got my hobby room set back up I found a 4'L× 18"W x 1/4" thick piece of retail shelving glass abandonded in a shopping cart at the end of a parking lot. I put it on my desk and now never use the cutting matts, which are sitting here on the floor next to my desk.
When the glass gets mucked up it is windex and a razor blade to scrape off glue and paint...

Max Bryant

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George Campbell
(Login blueangelmodeler)
HyperScale Forums

Nice big sheet of heavy glass here !! Just razor scrape it as needed !! nt

April 15 2018, 4:58 PM 

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Mike Witous
(Login MikeWitous)
HyperScale Forums

Been using a sheet of clear tempered shower door glass for about 30 years.

April 17 2018, 1:04 AM 

Mine is on a 1947 Northrop Aviation drafting board. Scrape it clean with razor scraper, Windex and Lacquer thinner. No dust, no static, no problems.

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Bill Suggs
(Login suggsw)
HyperScale Forums

Not a mat, but ...

April 15 2018, 4:00 PM 

I use a 1-ft square mirror glass section that I bought at a home improvement store many years ago. Makes a great cutting/assembly surface, and when it gets too grimy with superglue, tape adhesive residue, paint, etc, I wipe it down with a rag soaked in lacquer thinner ... good as new!

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Harry Dente
(Login hdente)
HyperScale Forums

The problem with using glass or tile:

April 15 2018, 8:16 PM 

While glass especially, and some tire, are nice and flat for assembly of things that need to be square, they are not kind to any cutting blade. The self healing matts are far less hard on the blades, which is what makes them attractive. You can use your matt for cutting, glass for assembly. Probably the best compromise.

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Mike Witous
(Login MikeWitous)
HyperScale Forums

Exactly right procedure. Although a small piece of acrylic glass is good for cutting

April 17 2018, 1:07 AM 

photo etch. It doesn’t distort the p.e. when cutting.

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James Venables
(Login jvenables)
HyperScale Forums

Cheap alternatives

April 15 2018, 9:07 PM 

In the years before I ever acquired a "proper" cutting mat, I used a couple of dead cheap alternatives.

One was an off-cut of thick, monotone floor vinyl that I obtained from the scrap bin of a flooring & carpet retailer. I managed to get a few large-ish pieces plus some discarded vinyl floor tiles that kept me going for several years. Each time one became too soiled or damaged to use, I just binned it and used another tile or offcut. The vinyl tiles were better, as they were thicker and more rigid... almost identical to a cutting mat, in fact.

The other was an offcut of plastic pond/dam liner. I have no idea what type of plastic it was but I suspect some type of polythene. It was about 1mm thick, matt black (great for modelling), quite rigid and very durable. Over time however, it started to curl up at the sides and formed a slight "bubble" in the middle, which may have been a long term reaction to glue and solvent spills. Although it was an excellent cutting mat, it reached the point where it would not lay flat and I had to bin it.

I have used three different cutting mats over the last decade - a large one that covers the entire work area, a smaller one that I had in my "second home" and an A4 sized one that I used when travelling or at work. Only one of them was a "brand name" mat; the others were cheapies from discount stores that cost only a few dollars. Although there are slight differences in texture and rigidity between them, I have found no significant different in their durability for model making use.

I understand about the grid lines disappearing when spilled glue, paint or thinner is wiped up but I don't bother too much about that. Whilst I occasionally use the grid lines as guidance for cutting or aligning, I don't trust them entirely so their absence is neither here nor there. I just keep a pad of cheap 1mm graph paper close at hand and tape a piece of this to the cutting mat for accurate guidance if needed (eg. cutting regular strips of sheet styrene).

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Tom Booth
(Login bookmark460)
HyperScale Forums

I have a few (diff makes, sizes and colors) but only use them rarely. Most of the time....

April 15 2018, 9:40 PM 

I work on a couple big pieces of 1/4" clear plex sheet that have been elec hand sanded w/ 220. About 2x3 feet and a bigger one about 2x6'. Have used them for 40+ yrs. I like the color, feel, etc, of the sanded clear stuff.

Extruded plex is cheaper (30-40%?) than cast, and for this use, doesn't really make any difference. Extruded smells way worse when sanded tho but that's about it. You can prob get some cheap, as scrap, at a plex shop.

For final assembly, a 'surfacing plate', I have a big piece of 1/2" clear glass that I lay over a piece of matt blk paper.

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Graeme H
(Login qfa_tsv)
HyperScale Forums

Re: Solvent proof self-healing mat

April 16 2018, 3:25 AM 

I actually found a cheap desk mat at a Stationary store that is just impervious to any chemicals, it is translucent, so I put the green mat underneath, so can still use the grid if I want, cost a staggering $10, had it for ten years now, would never use anything else, I always runs some masking tape on a front corner for superglue, filler, paint, replace it maybe once or twice a year, this is just for appearance sake and to keep the mat basically clean, and I clean off overspray every so often with Lacquer thinners.

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Mark Guttag
(Login IPLawyer)
HyperScale Forums

I use several self-healing mats.

April 17 2018, 12:08 AM 

I use a 24" x 36" Hobbico self-healing mat to cover my table and create a general workspace and have spilled paint thinner on it wiping out some of the gridlines.

For cutting pieces, I use smaller self-healing mats with gridlines and rulers that I only cut things on and don't use to glue pieces on or paint pieces on.

This seemed like a practical solution for me.

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