CNC Milling in a Model Shop

The CNC mill is churning out pieces for our latestmodel shop  project. Parts were drawn in AutoCAD or Rhino for a model radar, then processed through VisualMILL. The professional model maker needs to play the role of machinist at times and this program translates rough data about a part, telling the mill how to handle the material. Our vertical mill is digitally automated via computer numerical control (CNC) and while it is capable of 3D cutting, this particular project asked for 2D brass and aluminum parts. This hardier material was used to allow for soldering and screwing parts together, making the model durable enough for repeated trade show use.

 

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Model Shop Furniture – Boring?

KiwiMill’s model shop recently acquired additional office furniture for their expanding needs. Chairs, tables, desks etc… A fairly straightforward approach was used to outfit the office space .

But when it comes to the workshop area, creativity reigns. Why buy a table when a model maker  is capable of making his own? Looking around the shop space, a too large table was not being utilized enough. Solution? Cut it down into two tables, lower the height, reweld it together – and you have two “new” tables that serve a better purpose.

Inventiveness in the model making profession does not always result in highly exciting end projects. Sometimes it’s used to solve everyday, mundane problems.

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Trade Show Display – automating a slot machine

For the final trade show display at CES , our model makers purchased a collection of real casino props to create this vingette of a Las Vegas casino including felt table tops, a working roulette wheel, authentic poker chips and professional card decks. The chips were stacked on a rod and mounted permanently to the display with the playing cards and roulette wheel. The highlight of this display was the refurbished slot machine. The guts of the slot machine were dissembled and  extensive electronic reengineering applied to the interior parts in order to fully automate the game. Details on this rebuild can be found at our how-to tutorialhttp://ammodel.com/Default.aspx?tabid=439&Article=245.

 

 

 

 

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Trade Show Display – lights, music, mixed drinks

Our model makers designed a trade show display that evokes the atmosphere of a night club for the Kodak trade show booth at CES 2011. Laser cut acrylic formed the shelving to hold 3 lava lamps with custom built bases and off-the-shelf bubbling towers. A small turn table rotated a tray of mixed drinks made of hand poured and tinted silicone. A martini glass was constructed from slumped plexiglass with a turned ren board olive. Christmas string lights were rewired and installed underneath a milky plex floor to simulate dancing floor lights. Two custom ipods were installed into a mixing board with moving lights.

 

 

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Cutaway Scale Models Start with Off-the-Shelf Parts

Model maker Mike built these cutaway scale models of  MedClean sanitizing systems. Used as a sales tool, they were created from off-the-shelf Peterbilt trucks. A cutaway design shows the sanitizing components mounted to the trailer floor. The components were made from a rubber molded resin material. Using ready-made models as a basis for a custom job can be appealing to our customers who are looking to save money and/or time with their scale models.

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Server Facility Cooling System- first industrial model of the year

The shop has been busy in the New Year building an industrial model  of a cooling system for a server facility. It will be used as a sales model by our client, APC.

Update: Check out the last 4 pictures.

Rarely will a model be damaged in transit. They are packed with extreme care. While shipping companies vary in their reliability, regardless of using UPS, USPS or Fed Ex, occasionally a model does arrive to the client with problems, no matter how well packed. It’s a frustrating part of the business, but model makers know how to fix their creations. Short of handling the delivery personally, which can be done in some instances, this is just another challenge in a model maker’s day.

Here is the model fixed and shipped out again!

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Display Model Showcases Burton Snowboarding and Kodak

Tasked with creating a sports themed display model for Kodak and Burton Snowboards, KiwiMill model makers sculpted 15 lb foam into a mountain. Off-the-shelf snowboard figures from Freestyle Max were animated using imbedded cams and levers to simulate sliding and twisting motions, as well as chain and gears to create the effect of grinding on a rail. Computer muffin fans were used to blow chrome ribbon in tubes to suggest wind and snow. A small fan placed inside a model of a snow gun provided breeze to blow decorative flags.

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Model Displays For Trade Show Exhibit

KiwiMill created 4 distinct model displays for our client, MSM, designers of the Kodak  trade show exhibit at CES 2011. The purpose of the displays were to highlight the motion capture abilities of newly introduced cameras. Trade show participants could explore highly visual scenes through the camera’s lens while visiting the Kodak booth.

Our model makers were given the task of designing four separate model displays incorporating motion, color,  lights and intriguing visuals. The themes were the following:

  • a realistic miniature scale model of Times Square
  • a vignette of real objects in a Las Vegas casino
  • a stylistic sculpture evoking the atmosphere of a night club
  • a  whimsical display capturing a  snowboarding sports scene

Check out this Kodak video of the 4 models in action at CES 2011:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeSjuggYASI

In the coming weeks we will look at each project more closely as it was assembled in-shop.

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CES 2011- Check out our Display Models

In two days Las Vegas will be descended upon by the biggest names in consumer  technology.  January 6-9 marks the 45th year of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Hosted by CEA, it’s the biggest trade show event of the consumer electronics industry, with companies typically introducing new products and technology over a 4 day period. Past products and technologies debuted at this event include: Blu-Ray discs, HDTV – 3D, DVR, HD radio, Plasma TV, Xbox, NES, DVD,  CD, Camcorder, Laserdisc, and VCR.

KiwiMill made several display models for our client, Mirror Show Management, to be displayed in the Kodak trade show booth at CES this weekend. (Booth 31400, South Hall Upper level). Check back here in the coming weeks for in-shop pictures and tutorials of the models we provided for MSM’s Exhibit Greatness ™.

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Model Making Materials

While plastic is the raw medium of choice in model making, KiwiMill uses a wide variety of materials to construct theirscale models. Depending on the needs of the client – portability, durability, cost, time constraints or ability to reproduce in volume, or the specifics of the project itself – how the model maker visualizes the object being constructed.

Materials may include:

  • Styrene
  • Metal
  • MDF
  • Acetate
  • Foam board
  • Acrylic
  • Wood
  • Tooling Board
  • Plaster
  • Silicone
  • Latex
  • Laminate
  • Fabric

Raw materials for model building

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