Model Making in Card: An Effective Tool for Design Evaluation.

Model Making in card: An effective tool for Large scale Design Evaluation.

Building card models is one of the most basic starting points for the development of concepts. In this case the task was to evaluate an aircraft business class seating arrangement for London design consultants Tangerine. The purpose was to define layout & the relationship between passenger comfort, usability  & a pre-defined area. Not all Design Consultancies have the time to produce these evaluation models in house, nor do they necessarily have the space to give up or wish to make a mess in the studio. Tangerine are one of the few consultancies that make early concept models in-house, however occassionaly they require something slightly more refined. This is where Solve 3D can offer a high quality and cost effective solution.

Card, a speedy & effective medium for large scale concept models.

The Automotive Industry has clay, a traditional process still the mainstay of automotive styling & useful in its ability to be shaped quickly & easily. Card has similar appeal & certainly puts a traditional spin on rapid prototyping. For a start, the material is cheap, it provides a fairly even & neutral finish, & in the right hands can achieve a clean & precise result in a short space of time.

It starts with MDF

In this case I started by creating four dimensionally acurate structural MDF seats, demonstrating 3 critical positions during flight. To create ‘card’ models that are strong enough to support an adult would have taken too long to engineer & build. These were later clad with foam bolsters & squabs.

Four Structural MDF seats built in a day, demonstrating alternative position.
Four Structural MDF seats built in a day, demonstrating alternative position.

The Card Bit!

Development nets have to be calculated from 2d drawings, plan, elevation & a little mathematics. Model making has always been about understanding the order of construction, brain work & planning 5,10,20 steps ahead. When you have been doing it a few years it becomes instinctive & you can work on the fly.

From 2D drawings & a little mathematics to calculate the development nets.
From 2D drawings & a little mathematics to calculate the development nets, score & cut.

Forming over laser cut templates.

The laser cutter is one piece of technology that is invaluable for creating formers & braces very quickly. By using 6 mm corrugated box card, I utilise the direction of the corrugation to control the structural properties of the model. By double skinning with PVA glue I built the ‘pre formed’ wall thinkness to the correct thickness & forced the card to hold its shape.

Creating card shapes over a quick laser cut former.
Creating card shapes over a quick laser cut former.
Double Skinning holds the shape.
Double Skinning helps to hold the shape.

Joining Sections & Hiding Edges.

I used a combination of 3 methods to hide edges, join sections & build thickness. Matte brown tape, Fast PVA glue & hot melt glue. Carefull application of these adhesives & tapes to keep the model looking good is essential. It is important not to overwork the model.

Chris Neatly Joining sections.
Chris Neatly Joining sections.
Sections Starting to hold their structure and look good.
Sections Starting to hold their structure and look good.

Accurate Form, Structure & Neutral Aesthetics.

Gradually, during the build, the structure became stronger, with each adjacent sub-structure adding strength & creating a robust evaluation tool. Exercising care in construction ensures a neat finish & maintains the neutral aesthetic. In this way the designer can better evaluate the key requirement of space, usability and overall proportion without the eye being drawn to poorly executed details.

Robust Sub-Structures are light weight but strong & hold the form accurately.
Robust Sub-Structures are light weight but strong & hold the form accurately.

Card Structural Model

 

 

 

 

 

Time Efficient Solution & Value for money?

Four seat business class interior space model completed in 7 working days at a cost of £4.75K, including materials.