Continuity in Architecture 1:500 Bollington Site model by Will Priest

Will recently completed this working site model of an area of Bollington made from a CNC routed block of Mahogany. Once the CNC job was completed will spend several hours hand finishing details such as the building footprints and road details.

It’s worth considering this aspect when using the CNC route for a wooden model. Even though the bulk of material is removed with the machine there is usually a considerable amount of finishing to be factored in.

Will Priest CNC (5)

“I required a site model to make massing and programme arrangement decisions in relation to the topography and trees on the site. I chose to use the CNC machine because unlike the laser cutter, it allowed me to get smooth contours at the 1:500 scale and as a result decisions could be made at the smaller scale.

Will Priest CNC (9)

It required considerable sanding to remove the CNC excavation lines. For this is started with a low grit sand paper slow working my way up to a fine grit. I used mahogany because it is a hardwood with an attractive grain which gave the model a material connection to the actual wooded site.

Will Priest CNC (16) Will Priest CNC (17)

The trees were an experiment in process. I wanted to recreate the densely wooded appearance on the site with varied tree types. For this I used a variety of modelling trees, brass wire and pieces of bush.”  Will Priest 2016

will priest2 will priest3

Happy New Year and Welcome Back Updates

Hi All,

Hope you have had a good break and time to recoup for the next few months.

Part of the UoM server went down over the break resulting in our blog going down but thankfully everything is intact and we are back online. Apologies for any inconvenience this caused anyone.

****Workshop Opening Times January/February****

This year we will be hosting one of the 5th year workshops between 25th January and Monday 8th February.

This will mean a shorter working day for these two weeks with the workshop only opening from 11.00 till the normal closing time of 16.30.

New Materials

We have a couple of new additions to our materials stock this term which as usual are subject to availability so be sure to check before beginning your project planning


Anyone who has been inducted this year or last will have been told about this product which 4D Stock. This pulp board has a great range of applications due to its ability to form shapes when wet which are maintained when the board dries. Recommended for sketch and development models but there’s no reason it couldn’t be used for more advanced models as well.


Metal Effect Silver Styrene Sheet

One of the most common questions asked of what can be cut on the laser cutters is metals. Whilst this isn’t possible we have bought in this substitute which is a metallic styrene plastic sheet. This can be laser cut and worked as with other styrene or acrylic sheeting and should serve as a suitable alternative for some cases.


Scale Trees

We have a small selection of high quality brass etched and flocked scale trees. These are available from 4D Modelshop in a much wider range of sizes and styles. Samples of those available from 4D Can be seen in the workshop. We have a small stock of the following:

Medium Green, Copper Beech, Cork, White and Bare Branch

Don’t forget to register for your 10% student discount if you buy anything from them quoting either myself or Jim as your tutor when asked.


New Reference Book

Advanced Mouldmaking and Casting, Nick Brooks, 2011


This book provides a thorough guide with case studies of mouldmaking and casting with a variety of materials. Whilst our facilities of this are limited we hope this book will guide you to approach this method with more confidence as well as see what is possible outside of a workshop environment. As with all our books you are welcome to use as reference within the workshop but please don’t take out.

See you all soon,

Scott and Jim