Despite the ability of powerful rendering programs (such as V-Ray) which turn these virtual models into realistically rendered images, it is often desirable to have a physical model to show prospective clients or professors. Using software such as Autodesk AutoCAD, these models can be brought into the physical world at any desired scale.
This instructable documents the creation of a physical model for a project I completed for architecture school. The design was developed using traditional drawing media in the very early stages, further designed in AutoCad, and fully realized in 3D using Sketchup. Once the design was completed, stylized renderings were created using V-Ray, a Sketchup plugin to give some realism to the design. However, it was still a requirement to build a physical model.
By measuring the dimensions of the virtual surfaces inside Sketchup and then drawing these surfaces in 2D using AutoCAD, I was able to create a physical object/model from a virtual one using a laser cutter.
Each component of the model (each roof plane, exterior walls, ground plane, columns, beams, etc.) is cut out and becomes like a “puzzle piece.” Each puzzle piece is then assembled and glued to form the final model.
This is technique used by many architects and architecture students to speed up the model making process. Using a laser cutter, several hundred pieces of any shape can be cut at any scale in a matter of minutes.
I see this instructable as an introduction to how physical models can be made from 3D models that can benifit newer architecture students who may be unfamilar with or new to laser cutting, as well as the curious individual interested how us architecture types make models these days. The degree of precision that can be achieved is really quite remarkable.
These images are of the Final Physical Model 3/32" scale. Dimensions are apprx. 28" Long x 18" wide x 4" high
It is not feasible to go into how this was actually modeled in 3D, as this is an entire series of instructables focusing on the use of a single program. Many tutorials can be found online. Just type in Google Sketchup Tutorials and you'll be on your way. It is a very easy program to learn.
This instructable simply documents the process of turning the completed 3D model into a set of 2D drawings and the resulting physical model.
These images are of the 3D model inside of Sketchup, as well as some rendered images created using V-Ray and Photoshop. As nice as these virtual images may be, I still need a model for people to look at and hold in their hands.
I always model and draw at FULL SCALE. That is to say, when I model a wall that in reality would be 8' high if were ever to be made in real life, I draw the wall at 8' in the program. Even if the model is going to be at 1/8" scale, where 1/8" represents 1'.
This way, when I have the drawings at full scale, I can then print/cut the model at any scale I want by changing the plot scale.