How do I make my models...

On this page I want to present my way of scratch building from paper. You can see the making process step by step from a sheet of paper till finished part of the model. As example I've chosen a typical part of a vehicles and machines - a wheel.

1. Collecting of materials

The first step after choosing the type of vehicle or machine to build is collecting of the materials needed for building process. I need a technical drawing with dimensions and a lot of pictures. Dimensions are needed to get the right proportions in scale. Photos and illustrations about details are also very important for designing the parts. The source of these materials can be the internet (web pages of manufacturers, fan pages, galleries or forums) and if there is a chance it's good to take own photos on fairs, presentations or in terrain. Without these materials I cannot start the building, so it's very benefical to collect a lot of materials before the start.

For designing the wheel I use drawings and several photos for details (e.g. rim proportions, tire tread,..)

2. Designing of parts

Using dimensional drawings and pictures of details (see upper) I make some sketches with dimensions in scale.

Following the collected materials I draw some sketches with dimensions by hand

Next, by sketches I draw each part in CAD software where 3D faces are unfolded to 2D objects. It's like the making of real machines from steel plates where every part is cut out from a sheet metal and welded together. In this case my sheet metal is the paper and I "weld" these pieces by glue. When the parts are drawn, I print them out onto a thicker type of paper (usually I use 160 g/m^2 paper). Also I draw and print the scaled plans for shaping the non-paper parts like wires or foils.

View of the parts in CAD and printed out onto paper

3. Cutting out the parts

When the parts are printed out some of them need to gain their thicknesses using cardboard or a "paper-sandwich", glued together from several sheets. Afterwards I cut out each part using cutter or design knife. Cutting edges can be softened using sandpaper of finishing files.

Cutting out the main parts of the tires from a paper-sandwich (paper gained by 1 mm thick cardboard)

4. Shaping the parts

Some of the parts are done after cutting, others need shaping to a 3D object. Before bending sharp edges, I trench them on bending line using a needle. For shaping radiuses I use cylindrical tools (tube, pen,..) and other instruments, sometimes I just shape by fingers. Filleting and shaping of thick parts (i.e. glued onto thicker paper or cardboard) can be done by turning using files or a sandpaper. When it is needed, smaller or weighted pieces can be stronger by cyanoacrylate impregnation what makes paper as hard as plastics

Raw (cut) and shaped sides of the tire

5. Gluing the parts together

From cut and shaped pieces I make bigger sets gluing them together. Before painting I usually make these sets from parts which will have the same colour. For gluing raw paper parts I use dispersion glue (water based) and for special and strong contacts cyanoacrylate or epoxy adhesives.

Cut and shaped parts were glued together, they made the complete tire

6. Painting the parts

Usually I paint the parts and sets using airbrush. For smaller details or corrections I use also brushes, of course. Before spraying the fine coat I treat the parts with base coat (acrylic base color). After drying of the base coat it's usually needed to smooth the surfaces using sandpaper and/or correct them using putty (filler). For fine coat I use several types of paints: acrylic, synthetic, car paints and laquers.

Tires sprayed with base color and acrylic mat black paint

7. Finishing the model

In the last step I compose together the painted pieces and add all another parts and details, labels, etc..

Tires were assembled with wheel rims and finally mounted onto chassis