The works buildings have been designed to be laser cut from predominantly 1.5mm thick MDF. Initially I’d created all the brickwork in Sketchup but this soon proved to be unsuitable for many reasons – it not being a vector line based program for starters. A row of bricks would create many more lines and hence cuts on the laser than needed. After learning this the hard way, the solution was to use a program designed for this purpose, such as Inkscape, TurboCAD or in my case Adobe Illustrator. 2D images of each individual layer are exported from Sketchup as DXF’s, then imported into Illustrator for the brickwork to be created and the colour coding applied for cut or etch. Joining my local Hackspace in Brighton gave me access to a laser cutter where a test batch of parts could be cut.
For detailed components such as masonry, the crane and traverser mechanism’s and fittings, I’ve used 3D Printing. It’s early days on this side of things, but I’ve recently invested in my own 3D printer after experimenting with some online 3D Printing bureau’s and attending the 3D printing course at Missenden Abbey. There should be some more progress on this front soon hopefully!