An NDA is in effect on this project, and so we cannot mention the client by name. However, we can talk about the model.
We were tasked with building 405 identical model ships of a bulk carrier. The real-life equivalent was constructed in 2020, and she measures in at an enormous length of 333 metres, with a width of 60 metres. She is capable of carrying 250,000 tonnes worth of deadweight.
The model measures in at a scale of 1:1005
The main dimensions are:
L: 347.86 mms
W: 73.51 mms
H: 83.4 mms
As stated above, this project was conducted on behalf of a private client, and so we cannot go into detail. They have, however, been immensely impressed throughout the entire process, and it has been a pleasure to work with them and help bring their vision to life.
The models were to be 3D printed, and they each measured 34 centimetres in length (not including the base).
3D-printing is an incredibly complex profession. It requires you to understand three main things:
- The material
- The printer
- The methodology of the piece and your desired end result
The entire process is extremely specialist. Our agent in the Far East focuses on two skillsets when constructing models: creating the model in a digital manner and readying it for printing, and the separate skillset to take the parts from the printer and get them to a professionally high-standard.
Our custom projects always start with liaising with the client as closely as possible, to ensure we bring their vision to life. We strive to be as transparent as possible, allowing the client to see the progress of their order. This also includes agreeing on things such as delivery time and payment terms. In this instance, a model production time of three months was scheduled, after which we signed the appropriate NDAs and whatnot.
Since this was such a large order, an initial prototype model was to be made, and then reviewed by the client themselves. If they are happy, it’ll come back to us, and we will simply replicate this however many times is necessary – being 404 more times in this case.
The first model is always the most difficult, as you can imagine, but once the prototype is complete, and the client is satisfied, production for the entire order can begin.
As the models were to be 3D printed, digital renders needed to be made. The models were made of high-density industrial plastics, as well as high-precision photosensitive resin, acrylic and timber, and we utilised 3D simulation modelling, as well as laser-cutting.
For the sake of efficiency, production is temporarily paused, so the client can sign-off on the digital renders. Once this is done, production can continue. This is treated with a great deal of urgency, to save time and resources, and streamline efficiency.
One of the trickiest stages is converting the digital render into a file that is compatible with the 3D-printer, and so certain software has to be used to achieve this. Before this is done, the render itself is split into chunks – which are actual parts of the model (albeit digitalised) – and accordingly named and saved where appropriate. After this, another piece of software is used to ensure the parts are ready to be printed; making sure they’re of the right scale, are sturdy enough and watertight.
When the renders are ready, they can be printed via laser-cutting, and then building can begin. The construction itself is obviously the hands-on section, where specialists are required. It is known as the ‘finishing.’ The hull of any model is normally split into three pieces, and they will each have joints. These joints were glued together and then left to dry, before additional features could be added. However, the hull is painted before any more pieces are added, and this protects the viscosity of the glue, ensuring the model remains rigid and has no chance of falling apart.
Whilst the construction of the hull is happening, our 3D-modeller will also focus on laying out all of the smaller pieces, cleaning them and then painting them individually.
Throughout the entire process, photos and renders were frequently sent to the client to ensure they were happy with the progress, and any feedback was welcomed and subsequently incorporated.
All 405 models were completed on-time, and to an immense degree of quality. 3D printing went smoothly, without any setbacks, and the client was kept informed via production notes, images and renders being frequently sent their way.
Premier Ship Models is so proud of this project in particular, with one main factor being the sheer quantity of models that were built, another being the quality of said models, and finally, how satisfied the client is.
We’re excited to move on to new projects now, and couldn’t be more pleased with how this one turned out!
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