Hand model making is an art as well as a science. It requires the attention and dedication of people with skills and training, but also people with a design appreciation and approach to their work that draws on experience and sensitivity.

Working from rudimentary drawings isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but often this is where the true extension of the design process takes place. Rapitypes apply hand model making techniques to develop ideas that are more difficult or time consuming to resolve during the formal CAD stage. Ergonomics and human factors are often more easily addressed through physical models, however basic these might be in the first instance. Hand model making allows immediate responses to take place and everyone can gather around a model or pass it from one colleague to another for instant feedback.

With unresolved sculptural shapes hand model making gives the designers freedom to experiment in the round – many of the materials we use can be subtracted and added at will and this further enhances the almost instantaneous scope of the process. This benefit applies to foam models, model board and clay of course. But not all hand model making centres on a monolithic material base. We often combine construction media, using subtractive and additive techniques in the same model, especially if the result has to simulate features with varying degrees of complexity or fragility. Architectural models, which utilise RP parts as well as CNC components and assemblages of all manner of natural and man-made media, are contrasted by automotive models where the surfaces are generally composed of a single material or substrate.

And finally, Hand model making is sometimes the only way to achieve a three dimensional form and is often the process of choice for film and TV props, theme-park features, one-off and bespoke pieces and sculpture of all types and sizes.