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Physical Modelling

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bassburner, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    I was wondering if anyone use's a physical modelling technique with something other than wood to plan out the intricacies of the body shape. I'm thinking along the lines of how you see car designer's doing it. The advantages would be getting a real hands on feel for the body shape before you settle on something.

    If so what kind of materials do you use. I was thinking I could fiddle with foam board insulation but that gets quite messy.
  2. Zwieke


    Oct 21, 2005
    You could look for a source of industrial plasticine, thats what the (car) modelmakers / industrial designers use. It allows for sculpting sharp edges as well as organic forms. It also has the benefit that it allows you to not only take away material, but to add material as well. You can even use (some) powertools on it.

    Some arts supplies stores might carry it.
  3. Hi.

    I've used styrofoam and other foam boards.

    Quite a few varities cut nicely with hot-wire tools.
    Some, not so nicely ;).

    Unless one lives in the middle of the Sahara desert or above the tree line, pine and other soft woods are IME impossible to beat though when modeling small objects like an instrument.

    Besides the cost, the only thing restricting the use of MDF, particle board, chip board and plywood is IME the tool dulling resins that eat up the savings in the material cost pretty fast.

    Industrial modeling materials OTOH are IME very hard to get, and cost and arm and a leg.
    And the left nut ;).

  4. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Get yourself some pine, get it where you like it, then make your patterns from that. You can mess with other stuff, but if you just use good cheap wood then you also get the benefit of practicing cutting/routing the shape. If there's one curve you need to go really slowly on, then it's good to find that out with a $10 worth of pine!
  5. IWieldTheSpade


    Mar 15, 2010
    Surfboard foam works nicely, very very easy to shape, but it does get a little messy and I would recommend a dust mask for it. I've taken broken surfboards and stripped the fibreglass to use the foam for body design in the past, heck I've even used it for the body core in a build. Mind you, that was covered in carbon fibre :rolleyes:
  6. bassburner


    Dec 8, 2008
    It sounds like the plasticine is not worth the cost as opposed to a cheaper wood and foam is not worth the trouble.

    I think I'll stick with the pine.