Scale models: what they are, how they are made, techniques, our services

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Scale models, maquettes or mock ups: definition

In the industrial field, scale models mean the 1:1 or reduced scale reproduction of a large product.

Our customers typically use terms like maquette, mock-up, or scale model for requests like this.

The reproduction can also be partial with the aim of highlighting a part or an area of the real object.

Missile Model


These requests are typical for large objects, where it is rather difficult and expensive to move the final product.

For this reason, the most numerous requests are in the sectors:




architectural models;

industrial installation.

The process

The production of the model can have different purposes:

  • Exhibition at the fair;
  • Presentation of the model to a customer;
  • Validation tests in wind tunnel or functional tests;
  • Custom models for awards.

The main elements of a model are the size (or scale), the functionality and the final use.

This element influences the size of the model and consequently the times of realization.

Before starting production it is essential to collect the detailed specifications of the project.

These details will be needed to define feasibility, implementation times and costs.

In relation to the collection of specifications, the typical elements for the creation of a scale model are:

  1. Scale
  2. Level of detail: the product may have accessory parts that are very small especially as a result of scale reduction. It is necessary to share which details must be visible in order to thicken the very thin areas and make them visible on the model;
  3. Moving parts that need to move relative to the model structure.
  4. Surface finishes.
  5. Any constraints on materials or technologies to be used.
  6. Support structure.
  7. Specifications for packaging suitable for transport.

The technologies used

There are many technologies that can be used to produce a mockup.

Obviously, extensive use is made of 3D printing with all the production technologies and materials that are part of it.

For each project all these variables are defined to guarantee the finish, resistance and functioning that the model, and each of its single parts, must have.

1:18 Satellite scale model

As an alternative to 3D printing, machining can be considered, for example on wood, ureol or aluminum to secure the sealing zones.

They are easily workable materials that we usually use also in mechanical prototyping.

Alternatively, plexiglass processing is used for areas with a very simple geometry.

Finally, carpentry and laser cutting works for the parts that lend themselves to this type of work.

A scale model is always made with a mix of technologies and materials that allow you to reach the customer’s goal.

The goal is always to obtain the best result in aesthetic and functional terms.

Our case studies

Model of military electronic defense system on naval platforms.

1:1 Electronic system model

The gray areas were made in ureol and subsequently painted.

La parti trasparenti in stereolitografia.

The specially designed base for supporting the model was produced by laser cutting in plexiglass.

1:50 bridge mock-up for functional tests and leak test. Study for Panaro river water flow.

1:50 scale mock-up

The model was created with a mix of 3D printing technologies and workshop processes.

Before starting the production of the parts we designed all the CAD files of the bridge, footings, pillars and arches.

Our services

In-house we have the ability to follow all productions on plastic and metal materials.

For 3D printing we have the ability to produce aesthetic as well as functional parts.

All mechanical workshop machining is performed with 3 to 5-axis machining centers on all materials that can be worked from plastic and metal sheets.

1:1 Convertiplano model

We have external partners for working on wood, plexiglass and carpentry.

The surface finish of the model can be performed internally or externally, according to the type and level of definition.

Why contact us

To date we have dozens of projects with very different specifications.

In our experience, it is always preferable to entrust project management to a prime contractor to coordinate and follow all the design, production, assembly, finishing and transport activities.

This modus operandi is aimed at ensuring the success of the project which, especially when complex, requires the coordination of numerous figures.

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