Step 4: Design Prototyping
Now that your 3D model is pretty much complete, It’s a good idea to make a quick mockup out of cardboard or foam so you see that the actual size and proportion is going to work in the real world. Sometimes when you model something in the computer, you kind of loose track of any kind of real world scale. Especially when you are making something big like a car or boat etc. When you look at something small on your computer monitor or printed on paper it often looks a little different when it is blown up to full size.
First Step: Mockup
For the guitar, I got some full size prints and spray mounted them to some white foam that I had from some packing material. I taped this to the neck and had a good look at it to see if I was happy with the size and how the shape felt on my leg when sitting etc. If anything’s not right, go back to step 3 and fix it in the model and re-test with another mockup. Once all looks good with the mockup, it’s a good idea to make a rough prototype.
Second Step: Prototype
The prototype can be made out of cheaper materials to what the final object is going to be made of and in my case was a practice run of the way you should make the final. This way, if you make any mistakes, you can learn from that and maybe change the order in which you do things or try to come up with easier ways to make it. I made the the prototype from MDF as it’s fairly cheep, easy to work with, and could use the same tools on it as I would on the hardwood final. I made plenty of mistakes in the prototype and was really happy it wasn’t with the final piece. Learn from those mistakes! You could take this prototype as far as you want. You could take it all the way and paint it, put all the parts in it and make it look real if you want to verify that everything that you designed, including the colors, were right. In my case, I was mostly worried about the order of the cuts and needed some practice with the router and to check that everything fits so I took it to the level of being pretty much finished but not painted. Once you are happy with the design, the mockup and the prototype, It’s time to make it real!