Last month, GM sent out to he several local high schools a gentleman that
does clay modeling to generate interest in students and "sow the seeds" for
future career paths to fil this need at GM.
B. J. Arnold-Feret
From: McMillan, John <john.Mcmillan@aeroquip.com>
To: 'Rapid Prototype Mailing List' <email@example.com>
Date: Monday, April 17, 2000 1:15 PM
Subject: Large model size RP machines?
>I came across the article below over the weekend. Seems to be a need for
>large model size RP machines.
>Clay modelers will still be needed
>Henry J. Holcomb - Knight Ridder
>PHILADELPHIA _ For more than a half-century eccentric artists, working with
>clay and hand-made tools, have played a key role in designing cars of the
>But over the last decade, the big car makers have assumed -- incorrectly,
>turns out -- that these artisans would soon be replaced by computer
>Now with scores of artists hired in the auto industry's design hey-day
>to retire, the automakers have decided that they will need clay modelers
>many more years, if not forever.
>This set off a scramble for clay modelers that has brought the Ford Motor
>to the Art Institute of Philadelphia for help in reviving what was thought
>be a dying art.
>The company has assigned a master modeler to be a mentor at the
>school -- and its affiliate schools in Seattle, Pittsburgh, Denver and Fort
>These artists will make frequent visits to the classroom, to teach and
>interest in the craft.
>The realization that this ancient skill still has a place in the high-tech
>world didn't come easily to an industry that has come to rely heavily on
>computers and automation.
>But car makers gradually discovered computers aren't a good fit in this
>of the creative process. The machines, for example, give unfriendly retorts
>when temperamental designers come up with an ideas that won't work.
>In contrast, "we love what we do ... we know where the company is going and
>we want to help it achieve its goal," said master modeler Bill Harris of
>Ford design center in Dearborn, Mich.
>"We work with designers. We craft models that show why an idea won't work,
>and we help solve problems," Harris said.
>Sometimes this means working long hours, seven or more days at a stretch,
>"and working with deadlines imposed by people who have no idea what we do
>We have our high-stress moments," Harris said.
>Modelers are paid well -- the best earn more than $100,000 a year, plus big
>discounts on new cars and trucks, Harris said.
>In addition to being friendlier to the creative process than computers,
>artisans are faster.
>"If the CEO comes in and says, `I don't like that hood,' a modeler can fix
>in a half day," Harris said, reshaping a clay model in a Philadelphia
>classroom in early February.
>Making a similar change would take weeks using computer-aided design
>software, Harris said.
>In the drive to come up with new shapes of cars and trucks for a hotly
>competitive marketplace, the industry has found that something that you can
>walk around and actually touch, indeed, works better than virtual reality
>The clay models even look very real.
>"We've had senior managers forget they're looking at a clay model, and pull
>handle off trying to open a door," Harris said.
>Some of the artists' work is on concept cars that merely "push people's
>thinking," Harris said. But mostly they work -- using skills it took years
>develop -- on trying out and refining ideas for specific types of cars and
>Harris is now working on the model year 2003 Ford F-150 pickup truck.
>"Most of us are car nuts," Harris told the Art Institute students, adding
>that his current love, a Ford F-350 truck with an oversize cab and a diesel
>engine, is "the best thing I've ever driven."
>Artists such as Harris craft full-scale models of whole car and truck
>exteriors, as well as dashboards and other interior parts.
>Most new cars and trucks take 40 months to get from idea to a dealer
>showroom, and the clay modelers are intimately involved with the first 18
>months of that process, working in huge, top-secret studios.
>For more information about the rp-ml, see http://ltk.hut.fi/rp-ml/
For more information about the rp-ml, see http://ltk.hut.fi/rp-ml/
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jun 05 2001 - 23:03:17 EEST