Computer Aided Scratchbuilding

Mark Watson Oct 30, 2009

  1. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Yesterday I built a very quick model of a freight depot from these two (1, 2) pictures I found online.

    First I built the model using polygon planes in Maya, a 3D modeling and animation program most often used for movies.
    [​IMG]



    From that 3d model, I can get a quick map of the planes that make up the walls and roof. I took those maps into Photoshop and arranged them on an 8.5x11 sized document for easy printing.



    Using that template, I easily cut out each piece from styrene, no measuring required!
    [​IMG]


    Now I just start gluing.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2009
  2. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    More gluing.
    [​IMG]

    Until I ended up with this.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    All thats left now is adding windows and doors. I'll probably order those from Grandt Line.

    And there you have it. The worlds easiest scratch-build! :)
     
  3. mikelhh

    mikelhh TrainBoard Member

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    Brilliant, Mark! Thanks for showing this. I must try it myself. I guess Maya is a costly program.

    Mike
     
  4. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark,

    It seems to me that this could also work in Google Sketchup, for those who do not have or do not wish to spend the money for a higher end modeling program (Sketchup being free).

    I don't know the program well enough to know the answer to this. I mostly use AutoCAD at work.
     
  5. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    :thumbs_up: Fantastic!

    Indeed, if I remember correctly, Maya is quite costly.

    But your exercise did give me ideas on using Corel Draw to draw plans and lay out the pieces.
     
  6. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Maya's commercial price tag is $3,500. Thankfully they offer a much cheaper, full featured academic license for students like me.

    Google sketchup can certainly model buildings in 3D, but I am unsure of it's ability to map the planar surface of each polygon. Perhaps someone here has experience with that. It's certainly worth a try.

    I've tried using Photoshop alone to build templates in the past, but that adds the required step of drafting each edge of each piece/plane. It can also be very difficult for many to unfold a 3D structure or element into a planar map, a step which Maya does automatically.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2009
  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Nice work Mark! That's the way to fill up a layout in short order. I'm all for using a computer to make models! :D
     
  8. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Great idea! You have a structure until you build a better one. That's what I did with my station for Silver Creek.
    I printed on paper, glued it to cardboard. This way I can look if this building looks right.

    [​IMG]

    Wolfgang
     
  9. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

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    Nice job Mark, looks great. Now if we could find that in a simple to use affordable software package.
    Thanks for sharing:thumbs_up:
     
  10. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark,

    Nicely done! Since I started working for a CAD company in 1987, I may have a few years up on you. Almost every scratchbuilt building on my layout was drawn with a CAD program, although there was no unwrap feature back then. Many of my buildings are still wrapped with details that I drew with a CAD program (or with scaled photos); someday I'll get to building them properly.
     
  11. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I suppose this is a great way to make temp buildings, however, my goal here is to build a permanent structure from the template. I just finished adding a round of details to the building and I think it added a world of a difference, transforming it from just a temp building to a quality model. What made the most difference is probably the support beams and rain spouts.

    (The white wash from plain styrene leaves some to be desired, bear with me)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    On another thought, perhaps those with out CAD programs would benefit from these templates being distributed through hobby shops and online? Would anybody be interested if that were to happen? Has any sort of simple template like this been distributed in the past?
     
  12. jdetray

    jdetray TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Mark -

    There are quite a few templates available online that are intended for use in making cardstock structures. I imagine those could be used with styrene as well, no?

    But of course, more templates would be very welcome! Your structure that is the subject of this thread would be right at home on many layouts. It's a fine looking building!

    - Jeff
     
  13. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Yes, details make the difference.
    CAD is a great help. I know of friends who use a laser cut machine for their styrene buildings.

    Wolfgang
     
  14. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I would love to be able to have access to a laser cutter for stuff like this. Actually, I think my college has one. I'll have to check into that. [​IMG]

    Here's a new model. Started from blank space in Maya 4 hours ago, and now it's fully assembled and ready for the detail pass. You can see in the first pic I even calculated the styrene thickness to add a higher level of detail by stacking layers.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

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    Mark I think distribution of templates like this would be a plus in the hobby. Not everyone has CAD knowledge or the programs to accomplish this.
    I was thinking just that about you distributing them when I looked for this thread this morning.
    They look great once again

    Glen
     
  16. gary60s

    gary60s TrainBoard Member

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    Excellent build! I've done many scratch builds using sketchup. When you do the walls, if you make a component of each then they can be layed out for cutting. I've done mine by just dimensioning and then measuring and cutting the styrene. A template is a much better idea and I will do that next. Thanks for suggestion!
     
  17. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    A printer that can handle card stock can usually handle styrene. I print on styrene all the time. It will smear, but it works as a guide. My minesweeper was a card stock model that I printed on styrene.
     
  18. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    The details make your first structure look much better, and your second one has class too.

    You've got my idea mill going! :mcool:
     
  19. EricB

    EricB TrainBoard Member

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    I built this little guy using CAD and Photoshop. I drew the structure in CAD then transfered it into Photoshop. There, I put in the siding, roofing, and the lettering in the front. I had the location of the windows blacked out so I wouldnt have to measure out where to cut them. I then printed it out on cardstock, cut out the window and door openings, added some wood trim and that was it. After it was printed, it took me about 20 minutes to finish it.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Excellent build Eric! If you hadn't said you printed that on card stock, I would not have known.

    Here's a preview for the next building I started on. Last step is to put in windows and doors then I'll map the template. I based this loosely off of this image I found online.
    [​IMG]
     

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