In the manufacturing industry it is important to maintain high product numbers while reducing and keeping costs relatively low. When a new product has been designed by an engineer or product designer the first thing to do is to make a few models of the part or machine. These can be referred to as first production run models. A wide variety of materials are used for the making of these models.
The purpose of each part is taken into careful consideration when choosing a material. Polymers and composite material (plastic like) are light weight and fairly strong (depending on what you chose). However their tolerance to heat is significantly less than say that of steel or aluminum. The plastic parts will most likely be used using the injection mold method that injects the molten material into a die and mold where it is forced inside.
The result is a plastic, molded piece with identical measurements to that of the original models. Another method of model part fabrication can involve metals. Each metal has different properties that can make one more beneficial over the other. Titanium, for example, has high heat tolerance, is extremely dense and hard, but it is hard to machine because of its density and can be very expensive. Other metals, such as alloys and aluminum are ideal for the construction of models big and small. Sometimes models are made to scale, other times they are a fraction of the actual part size. This can be used when saving money and time are the main objectives.
When a part is smaller than the real size, but retains like measurements is called a scale model. Some match box toy cars and kit model airplanes are actually accurate scale models of their larger, real cousins. Architects employ the use if modeling on nearly every project they accept. The idea will begin in his or her head. Next they will put their ideas and designs on paper.
Only then will they make a 3-D scale model of the structure from plastics, metals or the most commonly used woods. Even though a model is designed by product engineers it comes down to the machinist to create the pieces. These skilled machine operators have had hundreds of hours of training and hands on time to make sure they are not only safe but as efficient as possible. Models and mock-ups will continue to develop with the technology and materials used to create them progress.
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