As with other facets of model building, product models vary from form studies to fully finished models that closely mimic the manufactured product. Our forte is the accurate simulation of colors and surface patterns and textures which are the hallmarks of current design.
Typically, we produce “looks like” models, rather than working prototypes. But with the increased resolution and quality of rapid produced parts, we are making more functioning prototypes than ever before.
By combining our in-house capabilities and those of our suppliers, we are able to work in most materials, using techniques as varied as hand carving of a bass wood block and 16um resolution "printed" parts. Very often we will combine a range of methods in the production of a single model.
Cell Antennae Full size, Ginko Design Photo Credit: CMD Staff
Hubbel Telescope 1/30th scale
Medical Probe Lunar Design
BIC Pens Julie Christensen
Accuray Cyberknife Full size couch and beam housing
Remote Control Frog Design
Flatware Master-Patterns The Pottery Barn
Achitectural models span a wider descriptive range than any other type. We have experience in styles from simple-massing design studies, through several stages of semi- and more fully detailed studies, to fully detailed marketing models. Typically the detail level will increase as the scale becomes larger; but we have also made very detailed small scale (1/40 inch) models when a client’s needs demanded a “briefcase” model. A fine point in scaling a model is the muting of colors as the scale gets smaller.
We have always felt that the landscaping on a model is of equal importance to the architecture. Again, the level of detail is related to the scale of the model, but we have seen simple models really brought to life by additional site detailing. We will work with the color range of the landscaping and site to unify the model.
The three areas of importance in defining the quality level of an architectural model are its overall craftsmanship, its attention to detail and the way that the project’s materials and colors are simulated. Typically, we will produce a sample section or bay of a project, so that the detail level of the model and its color palette can be approved.
1:2500 Scale topographic model: layered paper
EHDD Architects Photo: CMD Staff
Hills Brothers 1/16th inch Photo: Gerry Ratto
1/16th scale Mid-rise Fisher Friedman Associates
SOM Shenzhen Tower 1:500 scale
Aquarium 1:100 scale EHDD
Proposal for NASDAC headquarters Landor Associates
1/4 inch scale
Guadalupe River Park San Jose Red. Agency / Hargreaves Associates
At 1 inch to 50 feet, this model is 9 by 27 feet. There are over 9000 trees on the model.
San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
Built for the White House display of 50 Great Historical Buildings
1"=40' scale massing model with graphic applied windows
Marin County Day School EHDD Architects
This is almost all in basswood, with some glazing in acrylic. The topography is layered basswood, with laser scored detailing. Scale is 1/16th inch.
Interior Store model 1/2 inch scale Banana Republic
topography made using stacked, printed satellite images
Packaging mock-ups may be as simple as sets of bottle caps painted to match specified colors and textures, or as complex as a blow-molded bottle with full color graphics. When advantageous, we will modify existing packaging rather than starting from scratch. We are able to produce rough studies (typically from a high density foam) as well as presentation quality models for market research and client sign off.
Our capabilities include thermo-forming for blisters and clamshells, creating die lines for folded boxes,
Nivea Line design FuseProject
Beverage Cans Full Size Landor Associates
Snap Case Prototype Lifescan
Vaska dispenser boxes Tomorrow
Painted bottle fades
Planning a seismic upgrade on a large bridge is like planning a major battle. Over the years, we've made staging models of several of the bridges that span the San Francisco Bay. These models, built to scale, allow the engineering company to look at the various phases of deconstruction and construction—where the cranes will be, how much room there is for a given barge, etc.
Or—that annual visit from the CEO. How to explain in 15 minutes what your division has been up to?
Richmond Bridge Pier Jacket Agra Engineering
Thermal patterns in a server system Hewlet Packard
Sealab model NOAA for Congressional Budget Review
Typically, a court room model is used to help explain the event that is at the center of the dispute. As a rule, we will work with the attorney in simplifying the model so that little extraneous data is shown. In this way, it is easier to convey the essence of the situation. We have the capability for on-site measurements and photography as needed to help produce the model. Getting a model accepted as evidence is often easier when the model maker has first hand information. Alan Wolf is an accepted expert witness in California.
Often a measured drawing will be an effective aid in explaining a case. Again, we are able to gather the information for this and produce the drawings needed. We will produce a reduced set of graphics for approval before printing and mounting the final images.
Faulty Switch Drawing
Advertising & Photography
Our work with advertising agencies tends to fall into two categories: props for photography, and packaging mock-ups. From a comp faxed to us to a finished prop often involves several meetings (and/or phone calls) with a good amount of creative thinking tossed in. Our staff includes sculptors and other artist types (actually the most common background for our model makers is a degree in fine arts). Combined with the variety of materials that we work with and our abilities needed to work with industrial designers, architects, and the other specialized fields that we service, we are in an ideal position to produce almost anything imaginable.
Sugary soft drinks for kids? Campaign for
While much of our product work revolves around the personal electronics and communications industries, toys are another of our favorites. Often, we will be asked to produce a model that is used as the quality benchmark for the manufacturer. In doing this, the design team can more easily explain exactly what the finished toy should look like. We will often work with the designers on the packaging of the product, especially when blister or clamshell packaging is desired.
Awards & Signage
When a sign is so unique or unusual that a sign company shies away, try us. Over the years we have produced signs that have moving parts, neon lit sections, and deeply carved bas relief.
Another niche market that has found us is limited production awards. Not the bowler-on-top-of-a-pedestal variety, our awards generally are as unique as the organizations that have requested them. We will work with the designer to develop options that can be produced for a given cost.
Entry Lobby Signage: Your Logo made into a 3D sign
The Annual Liturature to Life Award
Hand sculpted pattern for award cast in Sterling and Resin