The aspiring student or architect who aims to build models should have a basic set of high-quality tools, which should be well-maintained and easily accessible. While it’s not necessary to have all of the tools listed below, they can be divided into eight groups to help beginners get started with their architectural model making endeavors. With a simple collection of tools, excellent results can be achieved, particularly in the realm of conceptual or working mock-ups. However, those who view architectural model making as a creative activity, as well as a craft, can expand their collection of tools according to their personal preferences and needs.

Basic Tools:

  • 30cm steel ruler
  • 50cm straight edge
  • 25cm angled ruler
  • Two cutters (one large, one small) with blades
  • Cutter knife for cutting and scoring methacrylate and hard plastic
  • Universal scissors
  • Pliers with flat ends
  • A set of keys
  • Small round table
  • Needles
  • Pins
  • Various adhesives (liquid, roll, and double-sided)
  • Paper knife
  • Small rubber roller
  • Glass sheets of different thicknesses
  • Sharpening stone
  • Toothbrush
  • Different brushes

The above basic set of tools can be supplemented by the following machines:

  • Welding kit with accessories
  • Thermal saw (for topographic and urban layouts)
  • Manual stamping machine
  • Orbital sanders
  • Electric dryer (for bending methacrylate sheets and speeding up paint drying)

The additional set can be divided into eight groups:

  1. For measuring and marking:
  • 50cm and 100cm steel rulers
  • Caliper
  • Flat steel plate
  • Angled ruler
  • Compass
  • Compass with cutting knife
  • Protractor
  1. For cutting and separating:
  • Set of universal knives (cutters)
  • Metal snips with rubber faces
  • Straight and corrugated scissors (never use scissors to cut wire as it will ruin the blades)
  • Punch set
  • Curved blade
  • Saw blade with different blades (including a curved one)
  • Saw for wood and metal
  • Small steel saw
  1. For filing and repairing:
  • Set of fine files (semi-circular and flat round ends for wood and metal)
  • Set of coarse files (flat, semi-circular, and round ends for wood and metal)
  1. For supporting, pressing, and assembling:
  • Needles
  • Patents (clips)
  • Mirror
  • Clamps
  • Some flanges
  • Mechanical clamps
  • Modelling base (PAL board coated with plastic, or better yet, a stone or metal base)
  • Anvil, dice, and roller made of the same material as the base board
  1. For welding:
  • Electric welder with various accessories (though a complete welding set may be more convenient)
  • Alternatives: gas gun, solder, welding paste
  • Welding water and grease (lubricant)
  • Brush for applying welding paste
  1. For painting:
  • Different brushes (flat and round)
  • Small brush (old toothbrushes)
  • Porcelain palette
  • Small containers (bottles, pots)
  • Paint gun and compressor
  • Masking tape for covering surfaces that do not need to be painted
  1. For sharpening:
  • Sharpening stone
  • Sanding disc
  1. General use tools:
  • Several hammers: light (100g) and heavy (500g)
  • Rubber mallet
  • Small wooden hammer
  • Rubber roller for storing and bonding paper, cardboard, sheets, etc.
  • Set of screwdrivers for watches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Several flat and semi-circular pliers

In conclusion, having a good set of tools is essential for anyone interested in architectural model making, whether they are a student or a professional architect. While a basic collection of tools is sufficient for beginners, those who consider model-making as a creative activity may expand their collection to suit their needs and preferences.

It’s important to keep the tools well-maintained and easily accessible, either by hanging them in plain sight or storing them in a drawer. Additionally, there are many machines available that can supplement the basic toolset and make the model-making process even more efficient.

By having the right tools at hand, model-makers can achieve great results and enjoy the creative process of building models.