Life in miniature

Among their many expert services Amtech Rapid Prototyping create replica scale models of large equipment they customers have been commissioned to build. Presented in display cases to clients they are superb representations of the full size version. Amtech describe how they approached making a replica of SMD QT1000 trencher, a machine that cuts channels into the seabed.

Based in NE England, Amtech Rapid Prototyping comprises of a team with impressive experience in the rapid prototyping industry, services include all types of prototype production, including 3D printing and vacuum casting. Interestingly Amtech also creates scale replica models of commissioned equipment.

International company Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) commissioned Amtech to make 1:20 scale replicas of their QT1000 trencher, for presentation in display cases to customers. The full-size trencher machine cuts channels into the seabed to lay cables. The data for the QT1000 trencher is scaled down to create a detailed replica of the real machine.

Ian Judd, Director, said 'in real life these machines are 15m long and CAD data supplied had every nut and bolt so we needed to scale down and lose unwanted detail, such as internal features'. Ian explained that SMD sent their full scale 3D CAD data and, working alongside the client, Amtech designers worked to keep a great deal of detail while managing to reduce the overall size of the CAD to give a strong impressive looking model. Where parts were to be painted in different colours they were made separately so they could be easily finish-painted.

Once the scale was approved by the client 3D CAD files were printed in SLA resin and bead blasted, skilled technicians then trial build the parts to make sure of fit and function, before rubbing off the build layer lines and applying the layers of paint. Paint is applied then rubbed back until all imperfections are lost and the top coat applied in a range of colours and finishes. Company logos are made via a dry rub down graphic which is applied to the area needed to give a realistic look.

A perspex presentation case and information plaque is then produced giving the overall effect of a truly miniature version of the real machine. Amtech’s model making is truly impressive.