Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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1/10 scale building materials

Happy DIYs are here again
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When engaged on DIY projects (which is to say, pretty much permanently), I tend to spend many, many hours in the planning stage, making dozens of sketches, diagrams and calculations so that, in theory, I know exactly how much of everything I'll need, and how the finished article will look. For someone of my limited artistic talents, however, the complexities inherent in 3-dimensions can mean that a construction that I *thought* would work turns out to be geometrically impossible. Also, calculating the number of building blocks required for a wall, for example, is complicated by the mortar, and allowances for half-blocks, and it can be difficult to be sure that a wall will look right.

Stores routinely supply test-pots of paint (at relatively inflated prices) so that customers can check the look of a colour in situ; often the manufacturer gives a discount on the price of a full-size tin on production of a receipt for the test-pot. Perhaps builders' merchants could sell accurate scale-models of commonly-used building items - cement blocks, bricks, timber - so that handymen could make mock-ups of their projects. 1:10 scale seems about right; small enough not to take up too much room, but large enough that a standard house-brick is not too fiddly. Parts could be injection-moulded polystyrene, mortar could be a strip of the correct thickness and width, cut to length as required. Buy a pallet of 72 blocks for £5 (also 1/10 scale), then get a £2 reduction on the real thing.
angel, Jun 18 2003

Modeling Supplies http://www.plastruct.com/
[justadesigner, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Detail from [justadesigner]'s link. http://www.plastruc...tailPriceList.lasso
Enter PS-103 as catalog code. [angel, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Balsa wood sizes http://www.zimsweb....alsawoods/sizes.htm
Just do the math and voilà! [Cr0esus47, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Hate to rain on your parade because this is a very good idea! But unfortunately it's VERY baked! Architects have been building scale models for years and there are plenty of pre-made materials available to them. They are available in pretty much all standard scales. I remember a project i was working on a few years ago at Livermore labs where they fully constructed a 1/4"=1'0" scale model of a new lab building before starting contruction. All major (and even some minor) building systems where constructed so they could find out if there were any conflicts or major problems with the design. Talk about a very expensive way to coordinate between trades!
justadesigner, Jun 18 2003

       [waugs] Sorry about the link, it's kinda what i was looking for as an example, but unfortunately i don't have the time here at work to find exactly the right link. But honestly, trust me...it's all out there! (I know....I don't ever trust anyone that says "trust me" either!) I'll try to find a better link when I have more time, probably after i get home tonight.
justadesigner, Jun 18 2003

       Oh, the irony! A true DIYer would make his/her own scale material...
phoenix, Jun 18 2003

       ...including cutting down hundreds of bonsai trees to make the tiny lumber.
krelnik, Jun 18 2003

       I'd rather see 10x scale popsicle sticks.
rapid transit, Jun 18 2003

       But could you eat the 2Kg popsicle on the end of the stick before it melted?
Cedar Park, Jun 18 2003

       [justadesigner]: I can find nothing in your link to satisfy my need. The simulated 'cement blocks', for example, (shown in detail in my link to the same site) consist of a section of pre-built wall in 1/100 scale, which is fine for making dioramas or model train layouts, but much too small for my purpose. I chose 1/10 scale for a very good reason; it's large enough to enable the individual pieces to be handled satisfactorily, but small enough to be sensible.
[Mr Burns]: Lego blocks are not scale models of actual building blocks.
[mr_imagonna]: Please show me "any model store" which sells 44mm x 21.5mm x 10mm blocks (preferably under the business scheme I cited).
Generally, model-building suppliers sell materials which would enable me to make my own 1/10 scale models, which is rather not the point.
angel, Jun 19 2003

       [edited again]Miniature bricks are widely available enough for you to get many calls of baked. Just google for the term and you'l find lots of people that make 2cm long clay bricks. Thats about 1:10, isn't it?   

       But, you don't want realistic fired clay bricks, do you? You want brick shaped, objects that you can use to cheaply mock up a design. 1:10 placeholders of all the components that might make it into the finished work, and that is something I haven't seen. 1 plastic 1:10 croissant heading in your direction. Do with it what you will.
st3f, Jun 19 2003

       <edited out the rant> inserting baby rantling here: wouldn't it be easier just to do a crude sketch, like draw a rectangle, write in the dimensions, use a calculator for the brick problem? For the structural questions, I highly reccomend the many books on the subject. I've been able to learn how to build just about anything in wood framed residentiol construction out of books. I even drew a set of plans, got a permit, built a garage with knowledge gleaned from books. And I ain't even that smart, compared to the average halfbaker, so I've come to understand.
oxen crossing, Jun 19 2003

       I might draw the line at *working* appliances, but scaled down baths, sinks, etc would certainly be useful, particularly if you're not sure that they would fit through the doors. A prospective purchaser might be prepared to buy the larger (more expensive) bath if he could be sure that it would go round that corner on the landing.
angel, Jun 20 2003

       Don't forget to feed the tiny constructors in tinytown. 1/30 lb. (each) of meat, salad & beans along with 1/15th a bun for individual construction w-w-workers. BYOB.
thumbwax, Jun 20 2003

       It's the grains of sand 1/10th the size of normal grains of sand that I have problems with. Sand's hard enough to get out of stuff as it is.
PeterSilly, Jun 20 2003

       "... it's large enough to enable the individual pieces to be handled satisfactorily, but small enough not to be sensible ..."   

pjd, Jun 20 2003

       What you need is not available. At least I've never seen it.   

       Instead, [phoenix] has a good idea.   

       If you are really 3D-challenged, I suggest you work in full 1:1 scale. That way, you'll see if it really fits.   

       Buy strips, sheets and blocks of expanded styrene sheet. It's cheap, easy to transport and easy to work with. A hotwire cutter, stanley knife, pins and paste is all you need to mock up items really fast.   

       Structural integrity is not so critical because your mockups will be ultra-light weight and don't have to last a lifetime.   

       There are some really innovative techniques you can use. Use thick cardboard guides wherever possible. You can trace around real objects in the stores.   

       You can even make a hand lathe for turning foam (use a fine grain) from a horizontally mounted swivel or a spike.   

       For really complex forms, chicken wire, spray filler foam and putty will do.
FloridaManatee, Jun 20 2003

       [pjd]: Sorry, please remove the "not" from that sentence.
angel, Jun 20 2003

       Doll's House suppliers could be the way to go here, angel. They do all sorts of surprising things to scale. 'taint cheap though!
DrBob, Jun 20 2003

       Well, I know they do ~1:50 scale furniture, but I still haven't found what I'm looking for. (You, too.)
angel, Jun 20 2003

       I've seen stuff in 1:12 scale for fixtures & fittings type stuff but not Bricks and Mortar (the jam)
DrBob, Jun 20 2003

       Completely baked. Just need to change your scale/building materials. I made a 1/16th replica of my father's cottage using balsa wood, wood panelling (for the walls) popsicle sticks & interestingly black sanpaper. The black sandpaper I cut into little tiny rectangles, about 1 inch by 4 inches and used as roofing material. If you need more building tips, just e-mail me at: croesus47@hotmail.com. Don't ask me, however, how to prevent the nick & cuts from working with the materials ;-)
Cr0esus47, Jun 20 2003

       Lots of people are telling me that I could make my own small-scale building parts, and others are offering hints on *representational* models (dolls' houses and such). My requirement is for miniature parts to enable me (and other DIY weekend handymen, not keen model-makers) to mock up the *functional* design, not the appearance. I am also suggesting a business model under which this might be operated.
angel, Jun 20 2003

       I'm not sure how you'll get the 1/10th scale nails, or if you can get the actual wood (pine, oak, etc) cut small enough. If you want materials that function *exactly* like the full scale project, then your scale of 1:10 would be a tad unreasonable. To put it into perspective, your big 10-penny spikes used for contruction at most are 15cm (and I'm being generous here) That means when reduced in size, you'll have a thin needle the width of your thumb to nail into a board no thicker than your finger. That's if you use REALLY BIG nails. Most construction is done with nails approx 8-10 cm long, with boards 10cm wide. reduce in scale, and the nail is 0.8 to 1.0 cm long, nailed to a board 1 cm wide (Metric makes these scale conversions a snap) So if what you're talking about involves just a quick mock-up, you have to be aware that these quick mock-up materials won't have the same physical properties as the full-scale counterparts. It's a compromise between authenticity and practicality. I doubt you'd be acle to get a set of bricks that behave *exactly* to scale because the density would have to be consistent, and I don't think we can reduce the size of grains of cement powder by 90%.
Cr0esus47, Jun 20 2003

       I don't want them to have the same physical properties as the real thing, I just want them to be the same proportions. I'm not planning on mixing little sand with little cement to mortar little bricks together, I just want to be able to build my mock-up wall or whatever to scale, so I can see how many blocks I'll need to make the wall, how the timbers are going to fit, and whether it's going to be practical to put the garbage can there. The "wood" doesn't need to be real wood (in fact, I said up there --^ that the parts could be polystyrene), and I certainly don't need little nails. Building blocks that are 44 x 21.5 x 10 mm, beams that are 0.2" by 0.4" x 9.6", panels that are 244 x 122 x 1.2 mm. I buy some of these, at twice the sensible price, and get half of it refunded when I buy the real blocks, beams and panels.
angel, Jun 20 2003

       //I'm not planning on mixing little sand with little cement to mortar little bricks together// - aw, go on - you know it makes sense.
PeterSilly, Jun 20 2003

       I'm with you angel. I don't know about the exact marketing scheme, but I like the concept. I'm picturing a full scale model of a house in everyone's garage, ready for tinkering before you start messing with the real house.
Worldgineer, Jun 20 2003

       I'm not against the idea of having these products available, far from it. What I'm saying is that if you go into any *decent* hobby or DIY shop these should already be available. For my 1/16th cabin replica, I took the time to actually measure the cabin (life size) and reduce the scale. Doing the reverse is just as simple. Plan the dimensions, do the math, buy the small parts (you'd be amazed how much a 1/8" X 1/4" stick of balsa wood can *look* like a 2" X 4" in the proper scale) then build your project. My replica, although not entirely complete, could very easily be mistaken at a distance for the real thing. I should get some pictures of it...
Cr0esus47, Jun 20 2003

       1:10 scale probably should be the best scale for this, but 1/8"=1'-0" is probably the going norm for those who have not embraced the logic of the metric system.
I was told in school almost 20 years ago that we would be going metric. What happened?
Zimmy, Jun 20 2003

       Fer chrissake man, use a spreadsheet to CALCULATE how much you need- and if you can't use a spreadsheet, spend the money to get a course on excel or similar..
RusNash, Jun 20 2003

       The idea makes total sense, it's useful, and it's not something I've seen to exist in the fashion you suggest. I don't understand the resistance to it.
Tabbyclaw, Jul 09 2004

       I once built a working model of the engine of the Titanic using baked beans
xenzag, Sep 30 2005


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