3D hand modeling processes?

Ello, been reading the blog on here for a while and browsing the forums and was looking for some answers I couldn’t really find in other posts, so here’s my first post to the forum.

I am just now exploring the 3D modeling realm, and I have been sketching for a little while now. I am really wanting to start on a camera model I am wanting to build, and I’d really like to get a physical model started. I want something I can use rasps and sanding to get down (reductive modeling is the angle I’m taking), only thing is that I really don’t know where to start. Should I just be heading down to hobbylobby and looking for blocks of balsa to work on or is there an inexpensive route I might be able to take with this. I’ve been reading about RenShape and such, but not really sure what that stuff is/ how to get it for less than 500 bucks a sheet. Just want to be able to model my idea in 3D and no idea where really to start with this.

Any advice is really appreciated. Thanks.

Blue Foam… can grab it at any hardware store.

Blue. Or pink. Super77 will allow you to add form, and the rasp and sanding blocks take it off. Gesso or plain acrylic primer temporarily seal the foam, and make it not pink (or blue) in case you have to show it off. Sales and mktg ppl love to ask “so it’s going to be blue?”

crudman, here’s an old discussion topic that you may find helpful “Blue Foam is Melting?

Yellow foam is actually much nicer to work with and available in larger blocks, but is more difficult to find locally.

And make sure to wear a mask or respirator - the stuff is nasty to inhale and most designers have probably shaved a few years off their lives breathing in the stuff in college.

the stuff is nasty to inhale and most designers have probably shaved a few years off their lives breathing in the stuff in college.


That is touched on on the second page of the linked discussion; links are provided for safety equipment. … please read it!

Thank you for all the prompt replies! I’ll be looking around for the aforementioned foams, but it kind of worries me about the toxicity. I do not have a work space that can really afford that kind of contamination. I live in a two bedroom apt that is smaller than most one bedrooms, and it is not very well ventilated. I was looking for something to work with that I could basically do at home, and not poison my bedroom in the process. I’ll be looking into them though, and seeing if there is something I can do to kind of compromise.

Once again, thanks for the replies!

You can work with it outdoors, but it does make a mess.

Your other option is chavant modelling clay, which is more expensive and a bit more tedious to work with since it requires a delicate balance of heat to soften, but can be ordered online and makes less of a mess.

Your other option is chavant modelling clay …

Chavant makes more than just “hard” styling clays. see: http://www.chavant.com/new_site/files/pdf/products-2006.pdf

Considering you are just heading down this road, there is another option; Plastilene modeling clay would probably suit your purposed quite well. It’s also know as little kid’s modeling clay; it’s non-toxic (I’m told I ate quite a bit of it as a rugrat) dust-free, and is available in various consistencies. As juvenile as it sounds, good ol’ Play-Doh is a really handy material, and it hardens allowing for later carving and sanding.

The American Art Clay Company (AMACO) has quite a few clays availabe too; Ceramic, Self-Hardening, and Air Dry . Any “good” hobby, or art supply shop either stocks them, or can get them.

Chavant style clay is great to work with, as long as not scraping off the surface will be good in a small space. Get the NSP or NS grade as they stand for non sulphur grades, less odor.

I like sculpey for tool handles and harder models. It can be moulded then shaved to shape, baked and sanded then painted. A lot of jewellery designers use it for finished products.