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How to scale down to model size

Updated February 21, 2017

Building models is a very common project in the architectural field. Many times, architects will need to build a model to give the client a good idea of how their structure will look. People typically from the age of seven and up will use models for school projects, hobbies and for business presentations. In order to scale down an object like a building, for example, you will first need to know the dimensions of the building, and know some basic maths to figure out the scale to which you need to build your model.

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  1. Draw a rough sketch of your object that needs scaled down in order to build the model. For this example, we will use a square-shaped building.

  2. Write the original dimensions of the height and width next to the appropriate sides. Put this number in metres or feet. For this example, the height will be 12 metres (or 40 feet), and the width will be 12 metres (40 feet) in order to simplify the maths. We will create a model scale one tenth of the original size.

  3. Multiply the height by 12 if you're using feet, because 12 inches equals one foot. For the example, the product you should have reached was 480 inches. If you're using metres, you can skip this step because each metre simply equals 100 cm.

  4. Divide the size of the sides of the building by 10. Using 12 m as a building size, the product is 1.2 m, or 120 cm (for inches, 480 divided by 10 is 48). So now we will make a scale model in which the building is 1.2 m (48 inches) high by 1.2 m (48 inches) wide.

  5. Choose your medium and build the model building according to the results of the calculation, 1.2 m (48 inches) high and 1.2 m (48 inches) wide.

  6. Tip

    If you want a smaller scale, you can divide by a larger number. Whatever number you divide it by will be the size of your scale. For example, if you divide 12 m by 20, the scale is now one twentieth of the original structure.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Calculator (optional)

About the Author

Sarah Coennen
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