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Retired dentist Young C. Park built this 1/16 scale replica of the classic WWII-era fighter plane mostly from common aluminum roof flashing, of the type sold in big rolls at most hardware stores. Dr. Park spent considerable time and energy developing special methods for working this material, including an annealing technique that’s a real gem:

After much experimentation I found that using a red “Sharpie” permanent marker pen made by Sanford works well as a heat indicator. Draw lines on both sides of the aluminum. Use a brush flame butane torch and slowly head both sides. The lines will turn brown and disappear completely. At that point it is properly annealed. I sometimes see a dark orange glow. The aluminum returns to its original color after it is correctly annealed. If I over anneal a part it is discarded. When correctly done, the soft metal is now easier to form, drill or carve.

The parts are shaped using a his old dental hand-piece, and joined using small wire rivets. There’s a bunch of additional info about Dr. Park’s process, and many more cool pictures of this and other models he’s made, over at The Internet Craftsmanship Museum. [Thanks, Ken!]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


  • http://twitter.com/aeQQue qwerty123

    Absolutely gorgeous work.

  • http://twitter.com/aeQQue qwerty123

    Absolutely gorgeous work.

  • http://twitter.com/aeQQue qwerty123

    Absolutely gorgeous work.

  • http://twitter.com/aeQQue qwerty123

    Absolutely gorgeous work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=634538588 Richard Harris

    Impressive work – Annealing aluminium has always been a pain because it doesn’t go red hot – It just melts!.  In general old timers would rub soap onto the aluminium and heat until the soap turns brown then cool.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, yes, yes, old-timer wisdom good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=634538588 Richard Harris

    Impressive work – Annealing aluminium has always been a pain because it doesn’t go red hot – It just melts!.  In general old timers would rub soap onto the aluminium and heat until the soap turns brown then cool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=634538588 Richard Harris

    Impressive work – Annealing aluminium has always been a pain because it doesn’t go red hot – It just melts!.  In general old timers would rub soap onto the aluminium and heat until the soap turns brown then cool.

  • Anonymous

    Make magazine: I am enjoying your foray into pathologically-crafty aspects of the model making arts.

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