Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Model making material tips for students - Part 3

Plexi 101:

You can by Plexi glass or acrylic sheets at Utretch or Pearl or art supplies stores.. For thicker plexi glass - anything ticker than 1/4 inche, go to Homedepot. If the model / construct is of a very small scale, don't buy very thick ones because they are harder to cut through. And don't buy acetate paper, that doesn't serve the same purpose as Plexi glass.

Scoring (I hope this is the way to spell it)
Scoring is to draw a delicate line on the plexi using a cutting knife. Don't score deep or it will break. Do a matrix scoring so it follows the concept of you model. And make sure to use 3 plexi panels together always, to create encolsed spaces. Do not use plexi as windows. And continuity of the score lines through out all 3 panels was something prof mentioned yesterday as well.

Cutting plexi
You can use a plexi cutter, box cutter or your xato knife for this. Score deep a few times and fold gently at the score line. This will give a clean cut.

Frosting Plexi
Plexi glass planels as it is will be called Transparent elements. If you want to make then translucent (Semi-transparent) you can frost the plexi. You can do one of the 2 things...
  1. Use Glass frosting spray found at the art store or
  2. Use a soft sand paper and sand on both sides to give a nice soft but even frosty look.
Gluing Plexi
You will see once you start using that working with plexi is more difficult than working with other materials we have used so far. You have to use a tiny-tiny bit of glue, the TOXIC glue that is, and glue it in one shot. If you wobble it or move it, it could potentially leave ugly glue marks. And if you have glue allergies like me, good luck... I am still in search of a glue that will bond plexi but will not make me sick.

How to integrate plexi into your model?
Use your Dremel and make 4 tiny holes at the 4 corners or the panel. Slide tiny linear element pieces through the holes. And paste them on to the linear elements or panels near where the plexi planel is supposed to go. (I was going to put an image here but I can't find the cable for my camera. If I find it, I will upload a picture later today)

*Disclaimer - Above info is not the only way in which one make your model. And this is only from my personal experience. So don't hold me to it if it doesn't quite work out :). Try out on a few small pieces before you move into the actual model pieces.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Model making material tips for students - Part 2

These are some of the basic materials used for model making in D 1 & 2 stages and some tips how to use them.


Bass wood is better than Balsa wood. Balsa wood tends to warp and distort when it absorbs humidity and exposed to sunlight. Make a library of various linear (Sticks) and planer elements (Wider sticks). Use Xato knif to cut these. Available in different widths/thicknesses and sizes. Can find at art supply stores and lumber stores for thicker planes or pieces.


Use Xato knif to cut these. Models don't end up looking as nice as when made with wood or museum board. Available in different thicknesses - 1 ply, 2 ply, etc.

Museum Board

Museum boards are available in different colors. White and Grey particularly look clean when a model is complete. Available in different thicknesses - 1 ply, 2 ply, etc.

Plexi Glass

See plexi 1o1 tutorial.


This is a tricky thing. You want a glue that will give a clean finish, doesn't leave glue marks & not messy, that will not take too long to dry and if you have sensitivities to certain fumes like me, you want to find a glue that will not give allergies.

  • For Wood - Tacky Glue, Elmer Glue, TiteBond II, or any other Commercial wood Glue
  • For Chip Board & Museum Board - These get dirty fast and you need to wash your hand periodically when working with these material. Otherwise you will leave nasty finger prints all over the panels. Tacky Glue or Elmer Glue works for these
  • For Plexiglass and Acetates - Glues with Cyanoacrylate - Loctite, Zap-a-gap, EZBond
There are many other variety of materials out there in the market. But this should get you started.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Model making material tips for students - Part 1

Some of the things you need to get started;-

  • Sketch Book
  • Xacto Knife & Refill blades - Trick is to use sharp blades, always. This will give a nice sharp cut and you will less likely to get injured. Believe it or not, blunt blades are known to cause more injuries than the sharp once due to slipping.
Image from : http://lemurking.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/xacto.jpg

  • Self Healing Cutting Mat

Image from : http://salestores.com/stores/images/images_747/GBM3648.jpg
  • Non-slip metal ruler - Has a cork or foam stripe on the reverse side to stop slipping.

Image from : http://www.custom-wholesale.co.uk/upload/upimg1/Printable-Centimeter-Ruler-9041.jpg
  • Mechanical Pencils - 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm & 0.9mm
  • T - Square
Image from : http://www.drawger.com/show.php?show_id=32&image_id=981
  • T Rulers - You can use this to prevent injuries when cutting Wood, Plexi and boards

Image from: http://www.cngoldmonkey.com/images/pro/2009112511716.jpg