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Model Builder

Model Builder

Model builders construct three-dimensional scale models of landscape, engineering, architectural, and industrial designs. These models are usually created from a set of blueprints, scale drawings, photographs, or a list of specifications. These models illustrate how a project will look before it is constructed. This important component of the design process can save a significant amount of time and money over the length of a project.

Model makers generally work in architectural and engineering firms. They examine drawings and specifications, select materials suitable for the model, cut out and carefully mark parts, and construct models using a variety of adhesives and tools. Model builders need to pay very close attention to detail; they add color to models as well as windows, trim, landscape, and other fine details. Model builders usually communicate with architects, designers, and engineers throughout this process.

During the last ten years, model building has become increasingly sophisticated. For example, computers are routinely used to construct three-dimensional images. A technique called stereolithography uses lasers and computer programs to form three-dimensional objects from a vat of liquid.

Education and Training

In the U.S., model builders may need the following education and training:

  • a two-year associate's degree in industrial design technology, industrial model building, or a related field may be required for most entry-level positions. These programs typically contain a significant art component. Additionally, students are introduced to a variety of equipment and building techniques used by professional model builders.

On the Job

Model builders enjoy spending much of their time with hands-on work. Throughout the building process, model makers are in constant communication and collaboration with other professional designers.

Math on the Job

Model builders need excellent visualization skills to help them translate two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional models. Model builders also use scale and proportion to determine the appropriate size of the model and its components.

Related Careers

  • architectural drafter
  • industrial designer
  • architect
  • engineer