University of Florida (Aaron Plewke)



Jan '05 - Feb '07

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    hand modeling

    Aaron Plewke
    Apr 24, '05 6:27 PM EST

    so, having just looked at the line for the laser cutter on the UPENN blog, I am curious...

    How do you model?

    At UF, we have no fancy modeling machines. Students make models by hand, with very few students scrapping physical models in favor of computer generated models. Hand modeling at every stage of design is a huge part of our instruction here.

    So, what's the word at your school?


    • joe

      hand modeling as well here at SCAD. the few that know maya good enough, like maybe 5 people, do that.

      Apr 24, 05 6:59 pm  · 

      one of our teachers (and former students) Scott Deitz is a professor at SCAD now, have you had him?

      Apr 24, 05 7:02 pm  · 
      bryan boyer

      GSD is a good mix of hand, overzealous laser cutting, and even some 3d printing on the Z-corp. It drives me crazy to see people cutting simple rectangles out of chipboard on the lasers like they've never seen an Xacto!

      Apr 24, 05 9:08 pm  · 

      USC has both hand modelling and computer modelling, but it's always a 'both/and' situation, not an 'either/or' situation. Some of the richer kids laser cut, but it's actually looked down on a little here unless you've got some ridiculously intricate piece that just can't be built by human hands.

      Apr 25, 05 12:51 am  · 
      bryan boyer

      do you have to pay for laser time at usc? At columbia you have to pay for it too... but at the GSD it's free if you can find an open slot.

      Apr 25, 05 12:56 am  · 
      Christopher Daniel

      At the Bartlett school in London it tends to depend on which unit you're in. Some units specialise in CGI (there's even a largely video-based unit, unit 15). Others insist that designs are primarily explored in physical form (unit 23 is known as a "making unit").

      In my unit (22) we're encouraged to do whatever is appropriate for our design. I'm most comfortable working in drawings, but this year my project brief was best served by quite a few varied models. So far I've used foam & plaster, 3D Studio Max, and veneer on a plywood frame.

      The veneer/ply ones are a mixture of hand- and laser-cut. The ply needed to be cut by laser (to save time and ensure an accurate frame) but I cut the veneer with scalpel and ruler.

      I think it's best to allow the brief to determine our working methods. Different projects suit different styles. Sometimes you just have to shell out the £££ (or $$$) to get something that explores your design properly. Obviously, it's nice when it can be done with some grey card and a tube of Uhu.

      By the way, what's a Xacto?! In the UK we have a type of minature multi-purpose power tool called a Dremel. Most people use those for model-making. Is a Xacto something similar?

      Apr 25, 05 3:13 am  · 
      David Cuthbert

      you are kidding right Chris D? You don't know what an Xacto is? its a little blade that looks like a scalpel, the most famous being the No.2 blade - they also make them chisels etc and they are most dangerous and expensive little tool (see the cut in my head)

      but its just a blade - no motors no nothing

      Apr 25, 05 9:20 am  · 
      Christopher Daniel

      Nah, I'm afraid I've never heard of it!

      When I was at Newcastle uni we all used real (non-sterile) scalpels. Always works, always available, always cheap. I've never heard anyone at the Bartlett (where I am now) mention an Xacto, either.

      Are they sold in Europe? Why are they so expensive? Why use one when you can get a regular scalpel for £1.50?!

      I'd be grateful if any of you Yanks can enlighten me!

      (this is a great development in trans-Atlantic architectural communication, I think)

      Apr 25, 05 9:36 am  · 

      xactos are cheaper and more convenient than surgical knives. you can get a pack of 100 blades for around $30. they are sold in europe, but you may have to search.

      Apr 25, 05 9:48 am  · 

      bryan- USC doesn't have an on site laser cutter, we're a bit cramped for space right now (not all the studios even fit on campus). But fortunately they're adding another floor to our building next year, so they're saying we'll get more of these sort of resources then. But for now we have to go the professional route.

      Apr 25, 05 11:33 am  · 

      hey rationalist-
      what year are you at USC Arch? I graduated there in 2001. It wasn't that cramped when I was there. I did an off campus studio once. I didn't enjoy being off campus because I felt too isolated from the school, lectures, other students, etc.

      Apr 25, 05 1:33 pm  · 

      how about in pro-practice? has computer modeling taken priority over hand modeling in your offices? I am still in school, and I have not worked in an office. In fact, the only offices I have visited are abroad.

      In Hong Kong and China offices typically had hand-built models at every stage of design, as well as computer aided stuff. In China, pro model shops do much of the final/pristine model making, mostly by hand.

      In the Netherlands they also seem to rely heavily on hand modeling as an analytical, design and representation tool, although computer stuff seems common there as well.

      I'm sure the same probably goes here, but I am curious to hear what your various experiences are. I will soon be looking for work and I hope that hand model building will be one of my responsibilities...

      Apr 25, 05 2:33 pm  · 

      yeah I have seen scott around. he teaches lower level studios and classes, all of which I am past. I have heard mixed things about him as a professor.

      Apr 25, 05 6:46 pm  · 

      hmm. "mixed things." He's quality, no doubt. A little off the wall, but definitely passionate, devoted and knowledgable. Sorry to hear not everyone there is taking full advantage of what he has to offer...

      Apr 26, 05 12:08 am  · 

      I really hate this "Xacto" word lol

      Apr 26, 05 6:44 am  · 

      Chris, were you at newcastle with louis gadd and tim davies?


      Apr 27, 05 10:49 am  · 
      Christopher Daniel

      The name Tim rings a bell. I can't remember his surname, though.

      I took 2 years out between degrees, so they may have been the year below me at Newcastle.

      Apr 27, 05 11:04 am  · 

      I studied many many years ago at the Uni. Bath in the UK.... the discussion about the Xacto knife reminds me of how i paid for my tuition there... rolls of yellow trace.... used to ship in from home trunks of it... never seen before at Bath.... made a small fortune that I of course pissed away at the campus pub.

      Apr 28, 05 7:45 pm  · 

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