Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quick-and-Tidy Prototypes

I like building prototypes. I slap an enlarged printout of a surface onto some foamcore, cut it out, trim the edges with my rabbet cutter, glue it and clamp it together with my foamcore clips (in case you haven't guessed, I like specialty tools), and the whole thing comes together in minutes rather than days.  They're really good for helping me visualize what problems might arise in the model-building process. Also, for determining spatial relationships, they can't be beat.

Above are two different styles of water treatment plants found on the Great Northern railway. The prototype on the right is the original 1912 plan, with a very low slope to the roof, and the other is from a specific plant in Des Lac, ND . What is likely to go into the client's layout is something midway between the two -- the 1912 floor plan with a more peaked roof, which is what most of the new plants had by the late 1920s.

I've learned that I can use really cheap supplies for these prototypes. I'm lucky to have an art supply thrift store nearby where I can buy off-cuts of foamcore for pennies on the dollar. I spent less than $2 building that water tower and the two treatment plants.

Here's a cardstock prototype I made to check some proportions. This one is so small, I didn't need to use foamcore. I drew the original on some HO scale graph paper, ran off a copy on my home printer, and built it very quickly.

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