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Making Scale Models

It's not just the distances between planets that are large. There are also huge differences in the size of each planet. Because of this, it can be difficult or even impossible to display both planet size and distance accurately, especially in smaller scale models like an image.

Making scale models

If you are interested in a more accurate way to represent the solar system and have a lot of space (at least half a mile!) to work with, try making a model of the solar system that displays distance and planet size at the same scale. Otherwise, skip this step.

Now it's time to create your model! There are lots of ways you can create and display your scale solar system. With your measurements calculated, choose one of the options below, or come up with your own.

A scale model is a physical model which is geometrically similar to an object (known as the prototype). Scale models are generally smaller than large prototypes such as vehicles, buildings, or people; but may be larger than small prototypes such as anatomical structures or subatomic particles. Models built to the same scale as the prototype are called mockups.

Scale models are used as tools in engineering design and testing, promotion and sales, filmmaking special effects, military strategy, and hobbies such as rail transport modeling, wargaming and racing; and as toys. Model building is also pursued as a hobby for the sake of artisanship.

Scale models are constructed of plastic, wood, or metal. They are usually painted with enamel, lacquer, or acrylics, and decals may be applied for lettering and fine details. They may be built from scratch, or from commercially made kits, either out of the box or modified (known as kitbashing).

Models are built to scale, defined as the ratio of any linear dimension of the model to the equivalent dimension on the full-size subject (called the "prototype"), expressed either as a ratio with a colon (ex. 1:8 scale), or as a fraction with a slash (1/8 scale). This designates that 1 inch (or centimeter) on the model represents 8 such units on the prototype. In English-speaking countries, the scale is sometimes expressed as the number of feet on the prototype corresponding to one inch on the model, e.g. 1:48 scale = "1 inch to 4 feet", 1:96 = "1 inch to 8 feet", etc.

Models are obtained by three different means: kit assembly, scratch building, and collecting pre-assembled models. Scratch building is the only option available to structural engineers, and among hobbyists requires the highest level of skill, craftsmanship, and time; scratch builders tend to be the most concerned with accuracy and detail.[citation needed] Kit assembly is done either "out of the box", or with modifications (known as "kitbashing"). Many kit manufacturers, for various reasons leave something to be desired in terms of accuracy, but using the kit parts as a baseline and adding after-market conversion kits, alternative decal sets, and some scratch building can correct this without the master craftsmanship or time expenditure required by scratch building.

Most hobbyist's models are built for static display, but some have operational features, such as railroad trains that roll, and airplanes and rockets that fly. Flying airplane models may be simple unpowered gliders, or have sophisticated features such as radio control powered by miniature methanol/nitromethane engines.

Cars in 1:24, 1:32, or HO scale are fitted with externally powered electric motors which run on plastic road track fitted with metal rails on slots. The track may or may not be augmented with miniature buildings, trees, and people.

Before the advent of computer-generated imagery (CGI), visual effects of vehicles such as marine ships and space ships were created by filming "miniature" models. These were considerably larger scale than hobby versions to allow inclusion of a high degree of surface detail, and electrical features such as interior lighting and animation. For Star Trek: The Original Series, a 33-inch (0.84 m) pre-production model was created in December 1964, mostly of pine, with Plexiglass and brass details, at a cost of $600.[1] This was followed by a 135.5-inch (3.44 m) production model constructed from plaster, sheet metal, and wood, at ten times the cost of the first.[2][3] As the Enterprise was originally reckoned to be 947 feet (289 m) long, this put the models at 1:344 and 1:83.9 scale respectively. The Polar Lights company sells a large plastic Enterprise model kit essentially the same size as the first TV model, in 1:350 scale (32 inches long). It can be purchased with an optional electronic lighting and animation (rotating engine domes) kit.

Although structural engineering has been a field of study for thousands of years and many of the great problems have been solved using analytical and numerical techniques, many problems are still too complicated to understand in an analytical manner or the current numerical techniques lack real world confirmation. When this is the case, for example a complicated reinforced concrete beam-column-slab interaction problem, scale models can be constructed observing the requirements of similitude to study the problem. Many structural labs exist to test these structural scale models such as the Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory at the University of Illinois, UC.[5]

For structural engineering scale models, it is important for several specific quantities to be scaled according to the theory of similitude. These quantities can be broadly grouped into three categories: loading, geometry, and material properties. A good reference for considering scales for a structural scale model under static loading conditions in the elastic regime is presented in Table 2.2 of the book Structural Modeling and Experimental Techniques.[6]

Structural engineering scale models can use different approaches to satisfy the similitude requirements of scale model fabrication and testing. A practical introduction to scale model design and testing is discussed in the paper "Pseudodynamic Testing of Scaled Models".[7]

Architecture firms usually employ model makers or contract model making firms to make models of projects to sell their designs to builders and investors. These models are traditionally hand-made, but advances in technology have turned the industry into a very high tech process than can involve Class IV laser cutters, five-axis CNC machines as well as rapid prototyping or 3D printing. Typical scales are 1:12, 1:24, 1:48, 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, 1:500, etc.

With elements similar to miniature wargaming, building models and architectural models, a plan-relief is a means of geographical representation in relief as a scale model for military use, to visualize building projects on fortifications or campaigns involving fortifications.

In the first half of the 20th century, navies used hand-made models of warships for identification and instruction in a variety of scales. That of 1:500 was called "teacher scale." Besides models made in 1:1200 and 1:2400 scales, there were also ones made to 1:2000 and 1:5000. Some, made in Britain, were labelled "1 inch to 110 feet", which would be 1:1320 scale, but aren't necessarily accurate.

Many research workers, hydraulics specialists and engineers have used scale models for over a century, in particular in towing tanks. Manned models are small scale models that can carry and be handled by at least one person on an open expanse of water. They must behave just like real ships, giving the shiphandler the same sensations. Physical conditions such as wind, currents, waves, water depths, channels, and berths must be reproduced realistically.

Manned models are used for research (e.g. ship behaviour), engineering (e.g. port layout) and for training in shiphandling (e.g. maritime pilots, masters and officers). They are usually at 1:25 scale.

Enamel paint has classically been used for model making and is generally considered the most durable paint for plastics. It is available in small bottles for brushing and airbrushing, and aerosol spray cans. Disadvantages include toxicity and a strong chemical smell of the paint and its mineral spirit thinner/brush cleaner. Modern enamels are made of alkyd resin to limit toxicity. Popular brands include Testor's in the US and Humbrol (now Hornby) in the UK.

Decals are generally applied to models after painting and assembly, to add details such as lettering, flags, insignia, or other decorations too small to paint. Water transfer (slide-on) decals are generally used, but beginner's kits may use dry transfer stickers instead.

Model railroading (US and Canada; known as railway modeling in UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland) is done in a variety of scales from 1:4 to 1:450 (T scale). Each scale has its own strengths and weaknesses, and fills a different niche in the hobby:

Model railroads originally used the term gauge, which refers to the distance between the rails, just as full-size railroads continue to do. Although model railroads were also built to different gauges, standard gauge in full-size railroads is 4' 8.5". Therefore, a model railroad reduces that standard to scale. An HO scale model railroad runs on track that is 1/87 of 4' 8.5", or 0.649" from rail to rail. Today model railroads are more typically referred to using the term scale instead of "gauge" in most usages.

The most popular scale to go with a given gauge was often arrived at through the following roundabout process: German artisans would take strips of metal of standard metric size to construct their products from blueprints dimensioned in inches. "Four mm to the foot" yielded the 1:76.2 size of the British "OO scale", which is anomalously used on the standard HO/OO scale (16.5 mm gauge from 3.5 mm/foot scale) tracks, because early electric motors weren't available commercially in smaller sizes. Today, most scale sizes are internationally standardized, with the notable exceptions of O scale and N scale. 041b061a72

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