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Modelling a hypothetical model

New roads for producing better models

Computers form an intermediate step into modelling more complex designs. Thus if you already have drawing for etching or lasercutting then it is only a small step to visualise the entire model.

Warning: Nothing shown here does exist in real life!

This project started out when Gerd asked for a sketch of Ettenbachviadukt. Ettenbachviadukt floats above Wittlensweiler, somewhere in the southern half of Germany. Some useful information was provided by Gerd with a set of books and lots of photos. An initial sketch was drawn up using Corel. This lead to the following presentation:

Sketch with parts made in Corel, to be etched in future plans.

But as you can see this quickly runs into a large design with hundreds of identical items. Thus I thought it would be nice to have a means of checking the fit of all parts before we invest any money in an etch. For other tasks access to some 3D software was necessary anyway thus after checking lots of free or relative cheap software I decided to invest in a version of Turbocad. Wrong choice of course, after investing time to learn the package and even more time and lots of trouble to overcome the numerous errors in that package, this finally resulted in a new sketch that more or less looked like a railway bridge. To me quite clear that professional software was necessary as something like this is already over taxing TC by far, resulting in frequent crashes and huge files and long writing times although the package functions OK for plain items. Thus better directly spend a fortune and learn a new craft. You never know but once you grasp things then it certainly looks a useful craft for earning a living with too. But anyway be sure that playing around with these new tools do bring lots of fun. Also one big advantage is that these models don't take up any space in the loft and you don't need loupes because you can enlarge endlessly. Current results are visualised in Cinema4D, a highly commendable package and utterly stable. The landscape is partly populated with help of Vue d'Esprit, the counterpart in stability, which is a real shame because it really offers superb possibilities. Of course there are still glaring errors, particularly the shading and colouring department needs lots of further study. But even when using the built in material selections you can already create well looking complex scenes that generate appetite into an entire new branch of modelling!

The above paper drawn kit put together using TC

A general impression of a module with a bridge.

The sort of view a modeller would like to see when viewing models running over the bridge

A close-up to get an impression of the bridge itself.

from virtual to practice

The above Corel drawing was fed with some minor changes to a milling machine resulting in about 150 individual pieces of plastic. This exercise allowed to trace some minor anomalies in the drawing which were corrected. Gluing the pieces together lead to a pretty strong construction. The next section gives some photos during construction of the prototype.

To get an idea of the length of the bridge which is 375 mm.

Testing the load carrying properties with a piece of steel of 550 gr. to start with.

But with a bit of track on top it can withstand 0.85 kg without major problems apart from a bit of bending. It is resting only on the last 4 mm of the ends.

date: 13 Dec 2008
extended: 9 Feb 2012