What Do Model Makers Do?

Machine making 3D model

Have you ever wondered what model makers do? They create three-dimensional scale models of objects, from houses and cars to medical equipment and scientific instruments.

This can be for a variety of reasons, such as to help with product design or to create a prototype. The goal is always the same: to create accurate models that meet the customer’s specifications.

Models are used for various purposes, including testing the physical properties of a design, studying its usability, and assessing its marketing potential.  In many ways, model making is the first step in bringing any new product or idea to life.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what a model maker does and how using scale and working models can help your business succeed.

What is a Model Maker?

Professional model makers are responsible for creating three-dimensional representations of designs and concepts. This may involve creating an exact replica of the future design (known as a prototype) or simply constructing a mock-up that captures the general shape or idea.

Model makers use a variety of materials to create their scale models, including wood, metal, plastic and clay. In many cases, model makers also use computer aided design (CAD) software to create their models.

Model making is a highly skilled profession that requires a keen eye for detail and a good understanding of how three-dimensional objects are constructed. As such, a model maker plays an essential role in the product development process.

What it Takes to be a Model Maker

Industrial-Scale-ModelMaking models requires a lot of skill and combines the use of both traditional hand tools and modern computer-controlled machines.

Model makers must be proficient in the use of a variety of machines, including manual lathes, manual mills, Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines, lasers, wire EDM, water jet saws, tig welders, sheet metal fabrication tools and woodworking tools.

In addition to operating these machines, model makers must also be knowledgeable in a variety of fabrication processes, such as powder coating, shearing, punching, plating, folding, forming and anodising.

Some model makers also use increasingly automated processes, such as cutting parts directly with digital data from computer-aided design plans on a CNC mill or creating the parts through rapid prototyping.

Despite the growing reliance on technology in the model making process, hand tools remain an essential part of the trade. A model maker must be able to use an exacto knife, tweezers, sprue cutter, tape, glue, paint and paint brushes with precision and skill.

The type of model required will dictate the materials and methods used. For example, a medical device will need to be made from different materials than a car. Model makers must have a strong understanding of the properties of various materials in order to create models that are both accurate and durable.

Model making skills

A professional model maker will need the following skills in order to succeed:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • patience and meticulous attention to detail
  • knowledge of engineering science and manufacturing production and processes
  • an understanding of the related technology
  • competence using a computer and model making software
  • the ability to work in stressful situations and keep to deadlines
  • creativity in finding new solutions
  • an ability to work well with their hands

Typical tasks required day to day by a model maker

The following are some of the types of tasks a model maker might encounter day to day:

  • discussing briefs with clients or designers
  • illustrating initial concepts using freehand drawing skills or computer aided design (CAD)
  • using a mix of hand tools, machinery and computerised equipment such as 3D printing and computer aided manufacturing tools to create the models
  • applying electronics or mechanical methods to create moving parts in working models
  • applying paint and other finishes to models

Creating a model is not always a straightforward process. A model maker will often have to go through several iterations before the final product is perfect. A variety of different methods may need to be tested in order to find the most suitable one.

Model makers may create a series of prototypes for one brief, each one slightly different from the last, in order to test various design concepts. This trial-and-error approach is necessary in order to create a model that meets all the requirements.

How a Model Maker Can Help Your Business

Whether you are thinking about starting a business, or or are already involved in product development, working with a model maker can be a great way to bring your ideas to life.

Model makers can help you create a prototype of your product. Prototype models are often used for testing physical properties of the design, while others may be used for usability or marketing studies. Architectural models help express the masterplan or design of buildings. Having a physical model is often much more effective than relying on digital renderings or drawings.

If you are interested in learning more about how working with a model maker could help your business, or if you need help bringing your product to life, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss your project with you.