Model Making

Above are a few final images of a model I made at university, next I will be going through the process to make this particular model, hopefully, you will take away something useful!

Total read time : 5 mins

The process :

First I need to model the site -or at least the part of the site I will be making. I used Microstation for this, making a simple scaled 3D model. You can use the 3D program of choice, but its important to note that the exported file will need to be compatible with the hardware you plan to use, I plan to use a CNC mill for cutting the volumes, so I made sure the exported file will match the software on the CNC machine.
Then, using boolean difference I create the pit for my model.
I am putting parts that will be 3d printed on a new, red layer and parts that will be made with CNC on a grey level so it will be easier to distinguish later.
Progress continues, more massing is created. As before, the red will be printed, the rest CNC milled from a solid block.
Here are a few Laser cut parts. These are drawn on autocad and sent to a laser cutter.
These are the first 3D prints being prepared in the workshop. Imported from the 3D software and arranged onto the 3D printing deck.
Glue must be added to the glass base in order for the printout not to stick onto the glass.
My files are getting ready to print on the Ultimaker using PLA filament.
The first Print Begins.
The printer works layer by layer and takes about 24h for this print, so its vital to plan ahead.
I will use this material for the base board. Its workable, and can be modified easily after the main elements are milled down.
The file is readied on the CNC machine.
First prints are finished, I will need to sand down any rough edges, remove any scafolding etc.
sdrCutting in progress…
Cutting completed for the bottom half of base. Due to the nature of this kind of Milling, the 3D model could not have any overhanging pieces (anything more than 90 degrees) as of course it cannot be cut without compromising the parts above. Its important to understand the limitations of the hardware you plan to use and work with/around these limitations.
Example of 3D printed and laser cut pieces coming together.
Base must be sanded to smoothen edges…
Small space created in the foam using a dremel. Using this foam board means that small changes/modifications can be made during the making process, its important to not restrict this creative element as its a really important part of the process. Model making (and drawing) is partly to showcase a final project, but also it is part of the design process itself.
First test with P.38 Filler. Always test on samples before the final model when using techniques or methods not used before!
Newly printed Parts coming together on site base.
Here I use a filler primer to test a colour for the model. Again, a small test piece rather than trying it on the final model and potentially coming up against problems!
More colour testing.
Using P.38 filler to blend the 2 pieces of the base.
Spraying the 3d printed parts with the filler primer. This will result in a smoother finish and will hide some of the layers that can be seen as a result of the 3D printing process as that is not the desired texture.
Using the P.38 filler to smoothen out cracks/rough edges on 3d print.
Blending multiple 3d printed pieces into one monolithic structure. Again using the filler between parts.
Spraying the model with the final colour – Terracotta
Using air-dry clay to blend the 3d printed parts and CNC base together seamlessly. This air dry clay turned out to work even better than expected! its much thicker than the filler and very easy to apply!
More blending… I was going for an earthen build effect, the clay is literally the same as the proposed material of the project, so naturally, it worked perfectly, soon it will be impossible to distinguish between parts.
Model blended with base and sprayed, now I need to stick on the external hanging parts and 3d print final element.
I add small ‘sticks’ coming out of the model using super glue.
Using paperback white oak veneer, I cut and stick to the side of the base. (I actually removed the veneer and covered the side in clay in the end, as I thought it looked better, should have done more experimenting!)
Small clay ‘sacks’ are handmade and stuck onto the laser-cut wheels.
The final pieces are then stuck onto the model using super glue.
The model is complete and ready to bring to my next Crit! The whole process (Design, 3d Modelling, building etc) took about 2 weeks.

Final Model

And we are done! If you have any questions about the process, feel free to get in touch, I am always happy to help!

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