Thoughts about making masters

My process and experience with creating products

Recently we’ve had questions from customers regarding making some of our detail parts available in other scales. In particular, one question that came up was “since you 3D print your details, why not just scale it to a different scale and print it?”. While that is a legitimate question, the answer is that we do not 3D print any of our detail parts or kits. We create our products with the traditional methods whether it be, machining masters or hand sculpting/shaping our parts and kits using many different materials from brass to acrylic to real wood and even paper. When fitting, we do employ our laser to rough cut shapes or engrave details, however, the finished product always involves hand working and finishing to size, shape and texture.  

This Visible Gas Pump Master was hand machined from acrylic and brass. The end product in resin is shown below to illustrate how the master is transformed into an end product.

O Scale Visible Gas Pump
O Scale Visible Gas Pump in Resin

This O Scale Gas Pump began by measuring and photographing a real antique gas pump found at an old gas station near our current home. We used these dimensions to create basic shapes using our laser and then I hand finished the masters to create a highly detailed end product.

O Gas Pump with Globe

Since my early 20’s, I have been a machinist and enjoy hand machining masters and parts. Many of our masters have been created utilizing manual machining methods. Our machine shop equipment ranges from a tiny bench top mill/lathe unit up to a milling machine that weighs about as much as a Suburban. The machining and hand finishing aspect of being a model kit manufacturer has always been one of my greatest pleasures.   

So, here's the short answer. We do try to offer our kits and detail parts in multiple scales, but there are times where it is just not practical. Hopefully this clears up any related questions.   

 Thanks, Jim

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