Creating a 3D (three-dimensional) digital model that
meant to become a physical one is a
process that requires skills of digital modeler combined
with knowledge and experience of traditional model maker. Today there
are many that learnt how to build 3D digital models.
However a 3D model that meant to be used to build a
physical model has to be designed specifically for this
purpose which can be done by model maker only.
It is also a mistake to use a 3D data of a life size
subject for model making just by scaling it down.
Along with scaling down a subject wall thickness of all
parts and components will be reduced accordingly and
become paper thin. Basics of part break, wall thickness
limitation and durability of materials anticipated for
model's elements have to be included in digital model
from the beginning. A model maker has to design not just
a digital model and not just a model of a subject, but a
future physical scale model, designing it along the
process. Parts break has to ensure a convenience of
parts clean-up, painting and assembly. Connections
between the parts have to be established and a model
maker has to decide whether screws, pins or other
fixtures or connection methods will be used. Vulnerable
thin parts have to be determined and treated in order to
increase their durability. Some of such vulnerable parts
have to be beefed up, some - to have channels to insert
reinforcement rods or profiles, some have to be assigned
to be produced out of more durable material.
A decision which elements will be produced by which
specific rapid prototyping technology also should be
made at a digital modeling stage and parts have to be
designed accordingly to requirements of an assigned
Some parts and components are easier or more cost
effective to fabricate using traditional ways. Such
elements also have to be determined and treated for wall
thickness. These parts and components will still appear
in a 3D model, for presentation purposes, however they
will not be included in digital tooling files.
renderings also should be kept in mind.
Often a parts break include division that is not
relevant for future model yet allows easier application
of textures and colors convenient for generating
renderings. Sometimes 3D model includes parts that will
not be included in digital tooling only to show these
elements on the renderings.
It is also important to keep files lightweight,
therefore in most cases 3D model is being designed in
much smaller scale than a physical model will be. And
only the files of a digital tooling will be of actual
There are many other aspects relevant for a future
physical model, that have to be calculated and
premeditated during digital development stage, otherwise
a digital model will be useless.