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How to use CNC for hobby scale modelling

A 1:64 scale model of a Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier

The Corvair Greenbrier Van Model kit project by DeskProto user Shawn Spradling started as a hobby project for his Corvair-loving brother. The project resulted in a series of nice 1:64 scale models of this van.

Picture of a real Corvair Greenbrier Van
The original Corvair Greenbrier van, picture from Wikipedia

The Corvair is a car produced by Chevrolet between 1959 and 1969, or rather a series of different car types. One of the types was a van, called the Corvair Greenbrier. The design was based on the popular Volkwagen bus: engine in the back, below the cargo floor / passenger seats.

Screenshot of the rendered CAD design
Animated screenshot: from rendering to wireframe
Screenshots of the rendered CAD model in Alias.

Shawn tells: "This project began by modeling a 3D model on my computer of the van using a 3D software package called Alias."

DP screenshot: geometry of the left side
DP screenshot: simulation of the left side model
DeskProto screens: STL geometry and simulation.

"Once I had that 3D model I was able to create a toolpath for my CNC machine. I used a toolpath generator software called DeskProto."

DP screenshot: toolpaths for the left side part
The MaxNC milling machine that has been used
Toolpaths in DeskProto, and the MaxNC CNC milling machine.

"That program created a toolpath file from the 3D model that my desktop MaxNC-10 CNC machine could read and run."

Two machined parts of the left side
Machined part of the back of the model
Two machined parts: left side and back.

"My CNC machine then cut the model out of a polyurethane plastic block. Sides, front back and roof were machined as separate parts, and these were manually combined to one 'master model'. "

Silicone rubber mold for the body part
The five parts in the model kit
Silicone mold and the complete kit.

"I then made silicone rubber molds of the completed model master and made copies or castings of the prototype in polyurethane resin. The black part for the car windows was made by thermoforming."

Body and chassis, primed
Primed body with a dime next to it to show the scale
The model after priming.

"Here's the kit, it's pretty easy to assemble. There are two sets of wheels included in the kit: one with the tires on the wheels and one just the wheels. This allows you to put other tires on those wheels, like low rider tires or slicks."

The resulting Corvair scale model
The resulting model of the Corvair, after assembly and painting.

The result of this project is a model building kit: all parts needed to build your own scale model, that you can finish in any desired colors and with any desired product graphics.