Model makers design and craft scale models for a variety of applications in different industries. Using basic preliminary designs or detailed blueprints, they can create an accurate model to bring the design to life. The materials and processes used by model makers vary a lot, depending on the designs and the applications. Methods like CNC machining are still used a lot but modern techniques like 3D printing and laser scanning have expanded the possibilities and allowed model makers to create more detailed models.
Essentially, model makers are the people that take an initial idea or sketch and then turn it into a physical concept model, which can then be used to develop a finished product. In some cases, model makers also create full-size models for display purposes. Their services are useful in a number of different industries:
When architects are designing a building, they will start with basic concept sketches to demonstrate what the finished product will look like. They will then create blueprints to give a more detailed plan for how the building will be constructed. At this point, model makers will then create realistic scale models of the building so the architect can see their idea brought to life in 3D. Model makers work closely with the architect throughout this process and use a combination of CNC machining, laser cutting, and traditional hand skills to create a model that perfectly realizes the design. Moving forward, the architect will use the model as a base to work from when finalizing their design.
Prototyping is a crucial part of the product design process and model makers have an important role to play here as well. Once the initial designs of the product have been completed, model makers will take them and create a prototype. In some cases, these are small-scale models but they can also be actual size. A range of different techniques and materials will be used, depending on what the product is. Using modern methods allows model makers to finish prototypes in a matter of days so businesses can push the product development process forward.
Model makers create display models for all sorts of reasons. It might be for an exhibition of some kind or maybe an artistic sculpture, for example. Display models can be made in a lot of different sizes, using whatever materials work best for the application. These models are more focused on aesthetics rather than functionality, but they will still be built to the exact specifications set out in the initial designs.
Some applications call for models with working mechanical parts. Things like large educational models in exhibitions, process plant models for operator training, or animated models for promotional purposes can all be created by professional model makers. They can work with a simple sketch and create the mechanical elements themselves, or they can work from CAD designs supplied by the clients.
These are some of the common areas that model makers work in, but they are not limited to these applications. In any situation where initial ideas need to be realized in physical form, model makers can help.