Elsa Oldendorff

At the start of 2024, we were tasked with making a bulk carrier model for Oldendorff Carriers. The model itself was a replica of the Elsa Oldendorff, and it was to measure 90 centimetres in length, include a base, customised liveries and an acrylic display case. The deal was secured by our digital director, Nathan.

Bulk carriers are models we are highly familiar with, so the process was quick and seamless. The model itself was constructed with ABS plastic, resin, acrylic and timber, and 3D printing was used extensively, as well as laser cutting. It was complete with a full colour scheme, mainly consisting of red and grey, with yellow cranes on the deck and a white bridge.

Upon completion, we were to ship the model to one of their offices in Australia.

Since their inception in 1921, Oldendorff Carriers have established themselves as one of the world’s foremost dry bulk owners and operators. The German-based company specialises in one-stop shipping, and oversee more than 700 bulk carriers. Furthermore, in a bid for sustainability, an incredible 90% of their fleet and the significant majority of their chartered ships are all ECO type.

Every single year, Oldendorff carries out an estimated 380 million tonnes of bulk and other cargo all over the world. In 2023, they functioned in 15,000 port calls across 118 countries, and on average, they operate around 700 chartered and owned ships at any one time.

They have around 4,500 employees based in 60 nations, and so they can easily carry out their work in practically every sector of the world.

The model, designed for 3D printing, was exactly 90 centimetres long, not including the base. It was made entirely from ABS plastic and resin, with a timber base and an acrylic cover.

3D printing is a highly intricate field requiring knowledge in three main areas:

  • The material
  • The printer
  • The methodology for achieving the desired final product

This process is highly specialized. Our off-site 3D-printing expert specializes in two main areas: digitally creating and preparing the model for printing, and then post-processing the printed parts to achieve a professional finish.

Our custom projects always begin with detailed discussions with our clients to ensure we fully understand their vision and can bring it to life exactly as they envision. We strongly advocate for transparency, providing regular updates on the progress of their order, and collaboratively determining delivery times and payment terms.

In working with 3D printing, our process starts by creating a digital version of the model. We use high-quality materials such as photosensitive resin, acrylic, and timber, and employ 3D simulation modelling and laser-cutting for maximum precision.

To ensure smooth operation, we temporarily pause production to allow clients to approve the digital render or provide any feedback. Once they are satisfied, we proceed swiftly to save time and resources.

Preparing the digital render for the 3D printer is one of the more complex steps. We utilise specialised software to break down the render into manageable parts, each representing a section of the model, ensuring everything is properly labelled and organised. Advanced software is then used to verify that these parts are correctly sized, sturdy, and waterproof.

Once the render is ready, we move on to laser-cutting and begin the construction phase. This hands-on stage, known as ‘finishing,’ requires a high level of skill and experience. Typically, we divide the hull into three sections, joining them with glue and allowing them to dry before adding further details. The hull is painted first to ensure structural integrity.

During this process, our 3D expert is busy preparing the smaller components, cleaning and painting them individually.

Throughout the entire process, we keep our clients informed with numerous photos and written updates. Ensuring client satisfaction is paramount, and we welcome any feedback to make necessary adjustments.

As a final touch, we provide the model with a high-quality acrylic display case for protection.

Oldendorff were absolutely thrilled with the end result of the Elsa Bulk Carrier. The building process went off without a hitch, as did the delivery to Australia, and the entire project was completed on time and within the agreed budget.

We provided the client with regular updates through production notes, images and renders to keep them in the loop, and they were impressed throughout.

Premier Ship Models is so proud to be able to add another triumph to our portfolio with this custom ship model project, and most importantly, our client expressed utmost satisfaction with their acquisition!

It was an honour to work in collaboration with a company as prestigious as Oldendorff, and now we eagerly anticipate our future projects!

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