A model maker’s specialism is to create and produce three-dimensional scaled models from two-dimensional drawings. Beyond the required skills of project management, albeit on a small scale, organizational ability and of course being able to see things in 3D, the work requires imaginative flair, good CAD skills, and practical hand skills.
They must also be able to communicate effectively. Most model makers working in the architectural industry are self-employed, and work on a project-by-project basis.
Model makers are responsible for replicating structures in miniature: for example, they may be required to construct a 100mm-high version of the Empire State building or to make miniature representations in timber of large areas of cities. Models are made in a range of materials including wood, plastic, or metal, using a variety of different techniques.
For models with moving parts, model makers may employ basic engineering techniques and, in some cases, for lighting the model buildings, electronics. Using a range of hand, power or machine tools, including computer-assisted equipment, model makers create models that accurately portray the requirements and ideas of architects.
In consultation with an architect, a model maker initially uses freehand drawing skills or computer-aided design (CAD) and sample materials to help visualize the finished product. Once this model is approved, a detailed model will be built and materials and resources will be sought, such as specialist paint, timbers or machinery, three-dime nsional printing resources, or large -sc ale vacuum-formers.
Model makers will also consult with other specific departments or architectural practices such as landscape architects, visualization companies and photographers. Model makers must adhere to strict health and safety guidelines and carry out tasks in a safe work environment, because many of the materials used can be dusty and may produce dangerous fumes.
Model makers must have the imaginative flair to help and realize designs in three dimensions and also have good CAD skills with the ability to read and understand plans and technical drawings. Practical skills with hand and power tools are a must for modelling, as is familiarity with a wide range of materials and the techniques required for working with them.
To be able to work accurately whilst paying close attention to detail is essential, and being able to discuss ideas and concepts with designers and other colleagues, whilst working to tight deadlines.