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The issues with scratch building

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, IbuildScaleModels said:

...what the hell is Renshape? I just looked it up and it's like, what, foamcore or something? Like the foam stuff you put fake flowers into?

No. It's a tooling product. Carvable, machinable, available in several densities.

 

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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2 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

No. It's a tooling product. Carvable, machinable, available in several densities.

 

....and be prepared for sticker shock.  It ain't cheap

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2 hours ago, Pete J. said:

....and be prepared for sticker shock.  It ain't cheap

You are correct Pete. I will say when you need it it is the best option. No grain, you can use automotive filler when needed, epoxy or super glue to make it stick. We would even drill and tap it at work when needed. We used a generic brand at work. 

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Renshape. Looks to be a good product probably aimed at prototyping in industry. Would it really be any better than very close grained woods like pear, holly, obeche , apple, jelutong or beech?

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On 5/22/2020 at 12:10 AM, Pete J. said:

....and be prepared for sticker shock.  It ain't cheap

If Renshape isn't cheap, why not just use styrene? Pardon my ignorance.

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2 hours ago, IbuildScaleModels said:

If Renshape isn't cheap, why not just use styrene? Pardon my ignorance.

Because Renshape comes in blocks much thicker that styrene and can either be carved or machined.  It is great for making body bucks and other large three dimensional shapes.  It is a substitute for wood that is easier to carve. 

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10 hours ago, Bugatti Fan said:

Renshape. Looks to be a good product probably aimed at prototyping in industry.

Exactly. In many ways it's much easier to use than any wood, too.

3 minutes ago, Pete J. said:

Because Renshape comes in blocks much thicker that styrene and can either be carved or machined.  It is great for making body bucks and other large three dimensional shapes.  It is a substitute for wood that is easier to carve. 

Again, exactly.

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And it's a great material for quick proofing of designs / operations on the machine........I can machine a teeny part in a fraction of the time it would take in metal to see if something is even feasible.   Glues together great with CA.   Instantly though so if you're working with it for the first time, practice and test it first.   Once bonded, it doesn't come apart.  Dave Sherman shared that tip and he wasn't kidding. 

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3 hours ago, IbuildScaleModels said:

If Renshape isn't cheap, why not just use styrene? Pardon my ignorance.

Read the posts immediately above. Different materials excel for different applications. If you watch the video I posted, you should easily understand why you can do things with Renshape that would be very difficult with styrene.

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Regarding Renshape and similar tooling foams, I've used them extensively over the years prototyping real parts, and for building scale models. The cost for model work was never an issue, as I almost always had scraps left from the business.

BEFORE I started using Renshape, I built this 1/10 scale model using bulkheads and stringers, much as we used to build model airplanes.

20100629203737.websolo1A.jpg      image.jpeg.6e0a78bfd20f7e21d993bb99b7870eb1.jpeg

It had to be built under-size, and laboriously fiberglassed, filled, and sanded to final shape.

It could have been done in a fraction of the time using a tooling foam.

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I found this quite fascinating:

However, I'm not EVEN going to start with that (unless I win the grand prize of the Powerball).

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What a fantastic piece of kit!  It does not stop at the 5axis CNC machine however. Unless already versed in 3D designing for manufacture, be prepared for a steep learning curve on the software and the prohibitive costs for a hobbyist of both machine and software. Pro Engineer Creos, Solid Works, Autodesk Inventor and Solid Edge to name the major players  is very expensive on top of the cost of the machine and computer to run it.

A 3D printer would be a less costly option, but the 3D design software is still the sticking point. Yes I know that there are downloadable parts already programmed for 3D printing,, but unless you get lucky there may not be a part that you want in a program inventory that is readily available.

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6 hours ago, Bugatti Fan said:

What a fantastic piece of kit!  It does not stop at the 5axis CNC machine however. Unless already versed in 3D designing for manufacture, be prepared for a steep learning curve on the software and the prohibitive costs for a hobbyist of both machine and software. Pro Engineer Creos, Solid Works, Autodesk Inventor and Solid Edge to name the major players  is very expensive on top of the cost of the machine and computer to run it.

A 3D printer would be a less costly option, but the 3D design software is still the sticking point. Yes I know that there are downloadable parts already programmed for 3D printing,, but unless you get lucky there may not be a part that you want in a program inventory that is readily available.

I totally agree with you Noel.  Beyond the amazing possibilities of those edge cutting piece of machinery, ther'se an input file that must be drawn on the computer using a 3D software that also require a minimum of experience to be exploited to it's full capabilities.  By the way, I would be curious to see this fancy device carving a piece of aluminum or brass with a tiny end mill... maybe it was not designed to work with these kind of material but only wood or Renshape or its equivalent?

I also think that 3D printing would be a better and cheaper alternative but I must admit that this 5-axis device is pretty amazing to watch working!

Even if it can be still considered as scratch building, I do think that we are now in another territory and close to mass production for business purpose... interesting... lol.

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18 hours ago, blunc said:

I found this quite fascinating:

However, I'm not EVEN going to start with that (unless I win the grand prize of the Powerball).

This thing runs at 6000$ for the base unit. I would love to have this, but then I fell like it takes the fun out of scale modelling. The building it for yourself versus programming a machine to do the impossible tasks you try to do manually. Maybe just me. 

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If you design something from scratch in a CAD program I see that as a scratchbuiling too.  Then instead of shaping raw materials by hand, you have your printer produce the resulting parts.  This especially comes in handy when you need multiples of the same part.

How about resin casting?  Would you also turn your nose up at that?

I also don't understand what I see as snobism that scratchbuildng has to be all done by hand.  If the end result is a model that has never been produced by any kit manufacturer, then to me that is good enough, even if some commercial parts were used to build it (or CAD and 3D printing was involved).  I don't get hung up on the semantics of scratchbuilding, or kit-bashing.  I guess I'm not a scratchbuilding snob or purist.  As far as  fun is concerned, the most fun is finishing the model.

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I don't think that there is actual snobbery regarding whether scratch building is done entirely by hand  skills, machining or using 3D Cad to design a part. It really just comes down to each individual's perception of it, and what way they prefer to work on a model. Cost comes into the equation as well, as I daresay that there are many potential scratch builders who would like more advanced equipment but simply either cannot afford it anyway, or justify the expense out of a tight domestic budget. So cirrcumstances often dictate what road we follow. It matters not what avenues we explore as modellers, as long as we do not lose sight of getting personal enjoyment from what we do and ignore any imagined peer pressures.

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I don't claim snobbery in scratchbuilding, to each his own and to what he/she can afford.  My beef is when I spend a multitude of hours trying to scratchbuild an item from styrene, cardboard, wood or whatever I have available,  It may not be 100% accurate, but it does represent the item well enough to get the point across.  I then take the finished model to a contest and I am placed into the same category as the cars that are built with computer controlled machines and their multitude of machined parts.  I do not necessarily enter contests to win, but a bit of recognition of my work involved is appreciated.

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3 minutes ago, TarheelRick said:I then take the finished model to a contest and I am placed into the same category as the cars that are built with computer controlled machines and their multitude of machined parts.  I do not necessarily enter contests to win, but a bit of recognition of my work involved is appreciated.

Funny thing, remember when the argument was about people who could afford to buy aftermarket stuff like a sheet of photo etch ?

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Posted (edited)

Here's what Renshape can do.  Front fenders are carved from it.  Some rear fenders from the block of porch railing stock shown here.  The latter is not quite as dense and takes a bit more primer to fill but it still works the same. 

2134084909_1020.jpg.66b35bafedb5a154dc703aea0901d800.jpg

The hood, hood sides and fenders are Renshape on this '53 Reo.  I printed out a fender profile, glued it to the Renshape and sanded the profile on a disk sander.  Same for the hood and hood sides.  Hand sanding is a breeze.  Not only that, it carves easily and cleanly.

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I carved the REO letters first on my small drill press using the cross slide to hold the Renshape and a small milling bit.  Then each letter was removed individually with a razor saw and glued in place.

018.JPG.e07779e5bcf6f38aeb0d3aa84d64a8df.JPG

Here is another example of carving for fenders using Renshape.  This time for an International Loadstar.   Same as with the Reo and Maxim.  Fender profile printed out first onto a flat blank of Renshape and rough sanded.  Final shaping with a Dremel, some files and sandpaper.  Be prepared for a lot of dust, though, when using the Dremel, or even when hand sanding.    A minimum of primer/filler prepares the surface for paint.  Really great stuff!

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Edited by Chariots of Fire

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Posted (edited)

Ricky, I can understand where you are coming from with regard to contests. A scratch build going up against (for example) a well built Model Factory Hiro multi medium kit or similar in competition is a difficult one.

Up to about two or three years ago IPMS UK  Scale Modelworld dropped a separate scratch built auto class and grouped it in with highly detailed kits during a class rationalisation exercise. So basically I am not going up against like for like any more either.

However, this has not stopped me from entering the competition no matter how it is judged, as from my point of view my work appears on a top level competition table, and any good modellers viewing it draw their own conclusions about the work in it.

My advice is keep entering and show your work. Don't lose any sleep over any judge's opinion, because that is all it is, an opinion  My philosophy is that your model will be no worse when you take it off the table than when you put it on the table!

Edited by Bugatti Fan

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This discussion has been ongoing at IPMS for some time and here is the rule that resulted.

"Scratch-Built models may incorporate parts from other kits, but these should be generally unrelated to their original identity, except for minor parts such as wheels, guns, etc. Computer-design/programming and 3D-machine printing are not considered as "scratch-building" for defining Scratch-Built entries in our national contests. Models determined to be scratch-built must be entered in the proper scratch-built category."

Please hold your comments about IPMS.  I didn't post it because I felt IPMS is the ultimate authority on the subject but just to add to the converstion.  

Personally I find it interesting that IPMS excludes 3D printing but says nothing about CAD/CAM machining.  In my opinion the skill set to machine aluminum with CAD/CAD machines is very similar to 3D printing we are just working with a differant material.  Why exclude one and not the other?  To me this just creates more questions. 

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2 hours ago, Bugatti Fan said:

However, this has not stopped me from entering the competition no matter how it is judged, as from my point of view my work appears on a top level competition table, and any good modellers viewing it draw their own conclusions about the work in it.

My advice is keep entering and show your work. Don't lose any sleep over any judge's opinion, because that is all it is, an opinion  My philosophy is that your model will be no worse when you take it off the table than when you put it on the table!

I stopped competing many years ago. Now I bring my models to shows to share them with my friends and to support the host club. I go to shows to have fun and see people, and have lunch. I’m very good at lunch. I still win an occasional award but am not that concerned about it.

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On 4/20/2020 at 1:16 PM, IbuildScaleModels said:

So what issues do you run into when you scratch build? What do you do to resolve them? And most importantly how do you keep the costs down? 

Keeping the costs down is my main reason for scratch building, second reason is that the part I need doesn't exist so I have to make it. 

You have created a monster Justin!

Your original question remain hard to answer based on all the interventions and replies from ours fellow members!  Scratch building mean to me build something from zero or adding some details and/or improving some details using basic or more advanced tooling.  That's doesn't mean that basic tooling can't create amazing results, we can see some everywhere on this forum! Based on the huge amount and very diverse opinions expressed on this (very interesting) thread, my own conclusion is that scratch building is a thing and cost is another based on the budget available and the choice of spending for hobbies that is obviously very different for each of us.

Scratch building is fun and rewarding so let's go and make scratch build at our own way...

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Scratch building gets shown, appreciated and respected more on this forum than it would at a show IMHO.  At a show only the result is seen and for a limited time by folks with a thousand other things to see. Here the process is exhibited and can be studied by anyone interested at his own most convenient time.  The "competition" is with the individual builder working to achieve better than his previous best. On this forum I can sense the passion and pride of some very skilled gentlemen enjoying what they do. My hat is off to every one of them.

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38 minutes ago, Flat32 said:

Scratch building gets shown, appreciated and respected more on this forum than it would at a show IMHO.  At a show only the result is seen and for a limited time by folks with a thousand other things to see. Here the process is exhibited and can be studied by anyone interested at his own most convenient time.  The "competition" is with the individual builder working to achieve better than his previous best. On this forum I can sense the passion and pride of some very skilled gentlemen enjoying what they do. My hat is off to every one of them.

Part of the problem at shows is that once scratch building gets painted over and finished, a lot of folks don’t see it. Prior to the internet and digital photos I used to say my favorite category at shows was the primer table since I could see how the model actually went together.

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