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Custom-made computer-designed diorama parts?

May 21 2002 at 11:06 AM
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I know that scratchbuilding some parts can be damn near impossible, and takes forever. I have access to a computer-controlled table router, with a 1/1000th inch tolerance, and I plan to use it to fabricate my own parts for my own model projects. For an example of these machines, do a search on the internet for "CNC routers".

My question is this: do you think that my fellow modelmakers would be interested in hiring the services of such a machine? I know that professional modelling studios who produce models for architecture firms and film productions use similar machines, but I couldn't find anyone doing this for individuals.

What I was thinking of was this: someone could send me a vector graphic file, of, for instance, a sheet of cobblestone street, or wrought-iron fence, or sculpted cornerstones for buildings. I could take this file, and produce it from wood or high-density foam, sheet plastic, or even thin metal sheet.

If I could possibly find a way to make a little money while playing with model parts, I'd love it! I respect the opinions of people on this forum, so I'm asking for feedback. Thanks.

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(Login EricMc)
Missing-Lynx members

Good idea but.......

May 22 2002, 7:03 PM 

I think you would run into problems with the files people would send. What probably would happen is that you (or whoever) would spend a lot of time making the drawings work. There are a lot of talented people in the model community but I am not sure how many would understand how to produce a drawing that would translate work as a computer template.
Just my 2 cents.

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May 28 2002, 8:48 AM 

This sounds like an interesting idea. I think many people would like to see a sample of the work you are capable of, which may involve a simple website with the technical specs you require and a price list. Alternatively, you could make this available by e-mailing a similar document to people when requested, and posting images of sample work with a photo host (like in the Constructive Comments DG). This may create a more accurate "survey" for you to help guage the viability of your project. There's also the copyright issue to deal with - if I sent you Illustrator files to generate fencing, stair handrails, storefront signage brackets and window frame detail I'd want to make sure the files didn't end up somewhere else at a later date. If it takes off for you, you'd acquire a huge amount of files in no time.

Good luck, and be sure to let us know if you go ahead with the idea...

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May 29 2002, 6:12 AM 

You've both raised some good points. I'm going to prepare some samples and familiarize myself with the machine so that I can better understand how much and what kind of information I'd need from customers.

Maybe I could charge less for the service if a customer would agree to submit his/her design to a library, from which other customers could order in the future.


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