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The issues with scratch building

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5 hours ago, Tom Geiger said:

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.

I agree!  Once I build a 40 Ford coupe that I chopped the top, narrowed the entire body(took a strip out of the middle) shortened the nose dramatically and gave it a mid-engine flat head V-8 and centered the driving controls and seat on the center line of the car.  I short, I messed with about everything.  To highlight those changes I took a standard body, glued it up and painted it in gray primer.  I placed it on the table with an explanation that it was there to highlight what I started with. I don't know how many people came up afterwards and commented that it was great to have the primered piece there for reference.  It did win a couple of awards and I suspect it would have done nothing if I hadn't given people a reference. 

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Judging criteria at my club's contests does include the degree of difficulty. Scratchbuild model (with documentation) woudl have have high score in that category (and it counts towards the total number of points given to the model).  But if that model's assembly was sloppy, and paint job was terrible then points in those categories would have low score, so the model would likely not place in the top.

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17 hours ago, Tom Geiger said:

Part of the problem at shows is that once scratch building gets painted over and finished, a lot of folks don’t see it.

I agree. One of the most frustrating things about scratchbuilding, or model building in general, is that the better you do it, the less noticeable your work will be will be.

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I haven't used any actual CAD programs, but I can't be the only one who's found something like Photoshop very handy for resizing plans, taking measurements, laying out instrument panels, or any number of useful things.  Strictly speaking, the computer is still aiding your design, so would admitting this disqualify you?

I'm solidly in the camp that the computer is just another tool. Decent modeling software isn't cheap, but neither is a workshop full of machine tools, and nobody would seriously consider using any of those to be an unfair advantage.  The best tools in the world won't help you if you don't know what you're doing.   IPMS really needs to join the 21st century

 

 

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1 hour ago, Richard Bartrop said:

I haven't used any actual CAD programs, but I can't be the only one who's found something like Photoshop very handy for resizing plans, taking measurements, laying out instrument panels, or any number of useful things.  Strictly speaking, the computer is still aiding your design, so would admitting this disqualify you?

I'm solidly in the camp that the computer is just another tool. Decent modeling software isn't cheap, but neither is a workshop full of machine tools, and nobody would seriously consider using any of those to be an unfair advantage.  The best tools in the world won't help you if you don't know what you're doing.   IPMS really needs to join the 21st century

 

 

Richard, if you are using Photoshop for this, I would suggest using  2017 version of Sketchup Make. https://help.sketchup.com/en/downloading-older-versions.  It is free and easy to learn.  There are some idiosyncrasies to using it, because it is designed to be used architectural CAD program and at sizes under an inch there are some issues.  The work around for parts smaller than an inch, is to design them in foot increments in decimals and treat a foot like and inch.  Once you get use to that, it is really simple.  I especially like it for laying out round object like bolt patterns on rims.  If you try it and have questions, please feel free to contact me.  I'm not an expert, but I play one on TV😆. Seriously, I am self taught but willing to share what I know. 

Before I started using this, I did it the old fashion way with pencil and paper and an old set of drafting tools I had left from college.  This just works quicker and is more accurate for layout.  

As to IPMS, I watched their discussion with interest and it got very heated at times. If I were to summarize what I saw it would be that the scratch building category was all about manual manipulation of raw materials to build a model.  The key word is manual.  I can understand that to some degree.  I have recently seen some amazing 3D printed wire wheels and appreciate all that went into them, but once the file is done, you can print an infinite number of them that are all the same.  Quite a differant set of skills from the person who machines four hubs and rims manually on a lathe and then hand threads them with small wires.  To me it is obvious who is a "craftsman", though others would disagree. 

That is what brought up my question about CAM mills and lathes.  Apparently, that is not the same as 3D printing in the opinion of the people who made the decision at IPMS,  though the distinctions are in a very gray area.   

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I brought up Photohsop, because this is what I have at hand.  I use Lightwave for 3D modeling, and it will let you model anything down to the micrometer level.  Photoshop also has a handy little ruler tool that lets you measure images down to hundrenths of a millimetre

You can also make a mold and cast as many copies as you like.  The  people who can pound out a body out of sheet metal are pretty amazing, and it probably is easier to make one out of resin, but If anyone thinks people who make their own resin bodies aren't "real" craftmen, I've yet to hear it.  Some tools make things easier, but that's kind of the whole point of tools, isn't it?

 

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Posted (edited)

Guys, can we get something straight about IPMS and a previous poster making a blanket statement commenting that they need to be brought into the 21st century. Contrary to many myths IPMS is not a USA only society. The scratch building criteria discussed is referring to IPMS USA rules only.

IPMS is an umbrella name for a world wide hobby society the International Plastic Modellers Society. The IPMS was founded in the UK in London way back in 1963 and gradually many other countries set up their own international branches.  IPMS in each country has autonomy and dictates its own mandate with regard to their own internal affairs including  individual competition rules that will in many cases be very different from each other and those of IPMS USA to put this into perspective.

Putting IPMS to one side, here will always be heated debates about what constitutes scratch building whether everything is fashioned by hand, partly machined on conventional lathes and mills or CNC generation from 3D CAD files. People will have differing views on this ad infinitum, and it is really a case of each to their own, what suits them best, what equipment they can afford (manual or CNC), and if they already have CAD CAM skills that they naturally would want to utilise. So maybe the best way to look at this is that agreeing to differ may be the best option and carry on regardless.

Edited by Bugatti Fan

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On 5/25/2020 at 1:40 PM, AmericanMuscleFan said:

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...

Hahah! Thanks Francis! I wanted a scratch building discussion to see what pops up. What techniques are used. What are the issues that others find they run into. For example, machining for scratch building... materials and tools become an issue because you are always limited to budget. Also, knowledge. Even if you have a tool, if you don't know how to use it, then you are f****d. I also wanted to know the reasons for scratch building for other members on the forum. Sometimes the answer is as simple as "because the part I needed didn't exist." But then when you need to create your own part, you have to figure it out. And what if some one already figured out the answer, then the issue is finding the answer or the person who knows. 

Sometimes, I look at my model and then start modifying it. All of a sudden I say to myself "i can't start putting this much detail into one thing if I don't do the other stuff." It just doesn't make sense to me. Especially if I ever want to enter a contest. Someone will always say "So, you made a moving stick shift... you put that much detail into it, but didnt bother doing the dash guages?" (as an example). So all of a sudden, I start doing more and more. Then I have to build the parts that don't exist.

Like others have said, some issues are related to sourcing materials. Luckily I found a reasonable source for Albion Alloys, which in my mind is THE SOURCE for miniature tubing and rods, made for engineering and hobbyists.

But getting into machining, I need to find another source for metals, I have asked a buddy of mine who is a machinist/tool and die maker if he could source me some stock metal from his work. Luckily he said no problem, just have to pay for it. So now my metal comes in a bit cheaper. But then... the tools... oh man... the tools.

This is the monster that I unleashed by starting this topic of "issues with scratch building."

As for IPMS... yah... no comments on that one. HAHAHAHA

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Posted (edited)

There are still people in this hobby who don’t even own a cell phone. Or have any Internet access or even newspapers!
 

The week of NNL East’s original date, I got a half dozen calls asking if the show was still on!   We had it all over the web, on our website and it was in the news that New Jersey was on lockdown. Makes me wonder if these folks have a TV or even electricity!?!

Edited by Tom Geiger

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1 minute ago, Tom Geiger said:

There are still people in this hobby who don’t even own a cell phone. Or have any Internet access or even newspapers!
 

The week of NNL East’s original date, I got a half dozen calls asking if the show was still on!   We had it all over the web, on our website and it was in the news that New Jersey was on lockdown. Makes me wonder if these folks have a TV or even electricity!?!

What's the point of all that fancy electronimachle stuff? I have scale models and I do stuffs by hand! HAHAH

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Just now, IbuildScaleModels said:

What's the point of all that fancy electronimachle stuff? I have scale models and I do stuffs by hand! HAHAH

Have fun with your balsa wood models... that new fangled plastic stuff will never catch on!  🙂

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2 minutes ago, Tom Geiger said:

Have fun with your balsa wood models... that new fangled plastic stuff will never catch on!  🙂

bah. Plastics? That's for the new fangled kids. Now get off my lawn while i shake my fist at you. D**N Yougin!

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3 minutes ago, Tom Geiger said:

Have fun with your balsa wood models... that new fangled plastic stuff will never catch on!  🙂

Gluing together preformed bits of plastic?  Everyone knows that's not REAL modeling ;)

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2 minutes ago, Richard Bartrop said:

Gluing together preformed bits of plastic?  Everyone knows that's not REAL modeling ;)

let me pull out my pocket knife and start whittling away this piece of balsa... now in a few moments... *POOF* i'll just be putting this Santa Maria in a bottle. Let's see you do that with your fancy plastic kits.

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Posted (edited)

Funnily enough, ship bottling can be done with certain plastic kits. I made a ship in a bottle many years ago using the hull from the little Airfix kit that I still have. I also put the little Airfix Victory in a bottle by buying two kits  and sectioning  the hull into 4 to build  up inside the bottle  So it can be done. Some of the little Heller Cadets ship series would lend themselves to this such as the Gorch   Fock  and their little Pamir.

Edited by Bugatti Fan

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On 5/28/2020 at 2:31 AM, Bugatti Fan said:

Funnily enough, ship bottling can be done with certain plastic kits. I made a ship in a bottle many years ago using the hull from the little Airfix kit that I still have. I also put the little Airfix Victory in a bottle by buying two kits  and sectioning  the hull into 4 to build  up inside the bottle  So it can be done. Some of the little Heller Cadets ship series would lend themselves to this such as the Gorch   Fock  and their little Pamir.

I will eventually get into ships in a bottle. funny enough. even funnier is that we are old guys that have accepted to use technology. we are "advanced" hahaha

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Found this post today whilst looking for something else - a BUNCH of interesting reference material on scratchbuilding:

 

 

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13 hours ago, CabDriver said:

Found this post today whilst looking for something else - a BUNCH of interesting reference material on scratchbuilding:

 

 

Nice! Good references! Thank you very much!

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Jim, those seminars you linked to made interesting reading.      Cheers!

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All scratch builders have different levels of various skills and techniques.I personally take great satisfaction in re-repurposing parts and pieces of completely unrelated things in my scratch built projects. An example currently under way is a model if a 19 foot 1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge travel trailer. Like many trailers of that era it has an arched roof that is difficult for me to replicate. My solution to that has been to use sections of my wife's Anora-Epilta inhaler. She has COPD and this medication is part of her daily treatment. Each container has two shapes that help form the sections I need. I use my Dremel Stylus with a fine tooth rotary saw blade to excise the panels.

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IMHO If it doesn't come in a kit and you have to manufacture it, that's scratch building, plain and simple.  Doesn't matter how you do it or what materials you use.  The extent to which one does scratch building is strictly up to that person.

It was said quite well further up this post that if the work is done sloppily it doesn't matter whether it was scratch built or kit built.  The result is still the same.  Workmanship is what makes the difference.

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Man, making rubber tires... new scratchbuilding territory. 

Have to make a silicone mold, and then use HTV rubber sealant for the tires. Unfortunately forgetting to put a release agent is not fun. Also, need to find a way to harden the rubber a bit. Going to try a bit of CA in the rubber mix and hope it doesn't catalyze too fast. It probably will.. but hey.. that's what this is all about. HAHA

 

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6 hours ago, IbuildScaleModels said:

Man, making rubber tires... new scratchbuilding territory. 

Have to make a silicone mold, and then use HTV rubber sealant for the tires. Unfortunately forgetting to put a release agent is not fun. Also, need to find a way to harden the rubber a bit. Going to try a bit of CA in the rubber mix and hope it doesn't catalyze too fast. It probably will.. but hey.. that's what this is all about. HAHA

 

Couple of observations:

1. Who says that scale model tires have to be soft?  They can be cast form regular hard urethane resin, then painted to  look like rubber.  This is often the way tires in military models are done.  With the right color and sheen, they often look more like rubber than the standard model car sift vinyl  tires.

2. If you really want then soft, Smooth-On has a range of flexible (soft) urethane resins.  Or even cast them using one  of the harder RTV mold-making materials tinted with black dye.

Adding CA to whatever you are using for the tire  material doesn't seem like something I would attempt. I don't know why you would even think that would work.  You are totally mixing chemistries.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, IbuildScaleModels said:

...and then use HTV rubber sealant for the tires. Unfortunately forgetting to put a release agent is not fun. Also, need to find a way to harden the rubber a bit. Going to try a bit of CA in the rubber mix and hope it doesn't catalyze too fast...

I would also caution against trying to reinvent the wheel where chemistry is involved.

Several manufacturers make softer casting resins in a variety of Shore hardnesses, specifically for making things like handle grips, movie special-effects masks and prosthetics, and various kinds of modeling.

Polytek has been my go-to supplier for this kind of stuff for decades, and they also offer a range of dyes that are compatible with their products.

https://www.polytek.com/products/polycolor-dyes

As an industrial supplier, they have a line of instructional videos about using their stuff, their product is always fresher than the re-packaged resellers, and they have knowledgeable technical staff to answer questions.

EDIT: Smooth-On is also an industrial supplier, and has an extensive product line and instructional video library.

https://www.smooth-on.com/

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Ace, will these industrial suppliers sell the smaller quantities needed by us as individual hobbyists?  I know there are many of these companies that do not want to  bypass their retail markets and many require a business license for tax purposes.  What has been your experiences with them?

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