To model plans legibly

Creativity and time efficiency are highly valued at Studio Revoluzzer. Therefore, the company from Großenlüder has been using the STEPCRAFT D.840 since 2015, enabling them to realize orders in the shortest possible time. This is an indispensable advantage, especially in architectural competitions.

Since January 2014, Thomas Nadler and his company Studio Revoluzzer have been offering services in the 3D field. In addition to model building, this includes visualization and illustration. The combination of these areas allows him to create realistic representations of potential buildings.
CNC Architekturmodellbau mit Stepcraft CNC-Systeme

When cities and municipalities announce architectural competitions, Thomas Nadler is already ready to go. Because for the often non-specialized audience, deciphering a 2D plan is often not easy, impressions need to be conveyed in a different way. ‘You can read everything in a model,’ says Thomas Nadler. When a participating architect then commissions him to create such a model, there is only a tight time window for realization. While this period can be up to a month for environmental models, the deadline for competition models is only two to seven days.

At the beginning of his self-employment, the master carpenter and trained architect had the models produced externally. However, after a short time, he was not satisfied with the quality delivered and also wanted to work more economically. Therefore, the idea of ​​acquiring his own CNC machine that met his needs soon arose. This should mean a significant workload reduction for him since repetitive processes are hardly qualitatively comparable and time-efficient when done manually. ‘If I need the same plate 20 times, it’s not possible manually. With the milling machine, it’s perfect,’ says Thomas Nadler. Through internet research, he came across STEPCRAFT and quickly focused on the STEPCRAFT D.840, as it would be ideal for his large environmental models on a 1:500 scale. However, ordering a machine without seeing it was out of the question for the ‘Revoluzzer.’ ‘It was incredibly important for me that I could just come by and take a look at the machine,’ he recalls, adding, ‘I drove away from STEPCRAFT and knew: I’m buying it.’ In October 2015, the machine made its way to Studio Revoluzzer. Its assembly was straightforward. ‘The included manual is made for people like me because it’s visual,’ says Thomas Nadler. Even though he was initially skeptical about the kit principle, he was soon glad that he had acquired the system in this form. ‘When I had the first problem, I knew how to help myself. Only a small screw had come loose, and I could fix it because I had assembled the machine myself. Thumbs up!’ praises the Revoluzzer. Thus, there were no downtime for him, which is particularly important given the short deadlines his work is subject to. ‘Time is always one of the critical factors here,’ explains Thomas Nadler and continues, ‘When a call comes in, I can start implementation immediately. It goes from the head to the hand.’ In this process, the pre-planning of a model takes about 60%, and the production takes about 40% of his time. However, flexibility is not the only advantage of the D-series, especially with existing fixed dates: ‘I try more now and am better because of it. The machine stimulates creativity,’ says Thomas Nadler excitedly.

He was able to demonstrate this in the new construction project of a school for the city of Filderstadt. After determining the section to be depicted based on aerial images and CAD survey data, it was first necessary to determine what should appear on the model. The city wanted a detailed representation that not only included contour lines but also engraving lines, such as roads and sidewalks, that are easily visible. After completing the pre-planning for the master model and creating a wooden base, Thomas Nadler first cut 1 mm thick polystyrene plates to the size he needed and then used his STEPCRAFT HF spindle on the STEPCRAFT D.840 to add topography and engraving lines. While the former were milled through with a 1 mm cutter, the Revoluzzer used a 0.5 mm cutter to mill the latter. The use of the dust extraction adapter served two purposes for Thomas Nadler: it not only guaranteed the safe extraction of dust particles but also generally had an accuracy function at Studio Revoluzzer. Here, it is utilized that the dust extraction adapter not only extracts the material but also simultaneously sucks it in, which can easily compensate for irregularities in the table or material. Thomas Nadler then stacked the various plates he had made on top of each other, creating layers that could depict the differences in elevation. He then smoothed the edges with a saw and made houses and buildings with a band saw.

CNC Architekturmodellbau mit Stepcraft CNC-Systeme 1
CNC Architekturmodellbau mit Stepcraft CNC-Systeme 2

The finished master model was then sent by Thomas Nadler to a plaster foundry, which created a silicone impression. This was needed to reproduce the model tenfold in plaster. The respective architect could now introduce inserts made of Styrofoam for testing purposes, which he could later have made as inserts from the desired materials. ‘This ensures the best possible design for a construction project,’ explains Thomas Nadler. The last manual step was the attachment of the 2,300 trees to the model, but this too was done in teamwork within eight hours.

True to his revolutionary spirit, Thomas Nadler wanted to find out if and how a complete model could be made with the STEPCRAFT D.840. To increase the level of difficulty and thoroughly test the STEPCRAFT HF spindle, he chose the material acrylic, as it not only allows for excellent transparency but also reveals all errors. Thomas Nadler first created the base, into which he inserted the LED strip. Then he milled a layer of polystyrene and then the individual components from acrylic, using a 3 mm router. ‘Acrylic and light expose everything,’ he says, and he was all the more thrilled when he obtained beautiful edges without horizontal lines as a result. ‘A profession that takes up a large part of one’s life must be enjoyable,’ says Thomas Nadler. His CNC machine contributes exactly to that.