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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.
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.
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...
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.