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custom-army-transport-x5 Custom Model Making: Design through Fabrication

Custom Model Making: Design through Fabrication

The origins of are actually digital, I taught myself how to design for CNC machines and sold plans of such models around the world for almost a decade.

You can see the remnants of that site at where I show what I “built” during all those years but no longer sell the digital files for.

Some of these models were dead-easy, while others required glue set-ups that lasted a few intervals, by far the most popular regarding getting me press was my wooden big wheels design that I designed and cut out with my ShopBot Desktop.

If that looks familiar, it’s because it’s that design that I submitted to Make Magazine years ago while I was living in Perth, Australia that you see on the home page.

joninsidemake2 Custom Model Making: Design through Fabrication

Jon in Make Magazine, Volume 40, page 19

Just for fun, when I got my Austrian CNC laser, I actually cut this exact same design at a smaller scale just to show how flexible my design philosophy was, meaning, I don’t use any measurements, everything is relative to material thickness which makes scaling a piece of cake!

Of course, the build video was also made.

The final model looked so great that I gifted it to Trotec Laser which they have in their showroom to this date, as a testament to how amazingly precise and detailed work using their equipment can actually be.

joninsidemake2 Custom Model Making: Design through Fabrication

Above was CNC laser cut, bottom was CNC routed… same model, different scale.

joninsidemake2 Custom Model Making: Design through Fabrication

I really couldn’t have had a better classroom, one in which I was both a student and the teacher, learning how to design without any concept as to what was or wasn’t possible, my only limiting factor was TIME.

joninsidemake2 Custom Model Making: Design through Fabrication

During this time of self-teaching, I also published many books sharing what I learned since both the last volume and what I was planning on doing into the future. was just the evolution of a digital passion into the physical realm and a natural extension from selling digital files around the world to shipping physical models and projects across the globe.

What I’ve always enjoyed throughout my education was the feedback I’d get from other people who learned, themselves, after cutting and building a few of my models, how to make some of their own.

It really isn’t that hard but it does take time and dedication to make something half-decent.

So when you see me show-off a simple Christmas tree like the above model, don’t forget, it’s essentially the same process as making a far more complex one with the only differential being time.

The above custom Eiffel Tower design was given to a client of mine for their showroom, one thing that I discovered early in the process of custom design is that if I kept one of everything I’ve made here in the shop, I’d need another shop just to store them.

So, like all the demos and samples I produce for the blog, they end-up all over the place, given as samples to customers and the like.

I figure the best gift I can give to clients is my time as they have shared with me, and as such, I feel great when clients get the project I spent so much time making for them and they call me back saying how happy they are with the end results.

Whether it’s a “simple” cold rolled steel welding sign that’s enameled and ready to advertise a business like the above steel signage or wooden pyrography of a place that’s paradise on Earth, it’s just fun to make this stuff!

If you are looking for a company and “owner” who’s passionate about what they do and can’t wait to put that passion to work onto your project, contact me at and I’ll make it for you, design through fabrication!