|How To Build Models|
Step 1: Download and print the net.
Nets are in PDF (which stands for Portable Document Format). You will need to have an application like Adobe Acrobat which can read this type of file.
You can also design your own net. (But if you do, you don't need me to tell you how to build models!)
Step 2: Transfer the net.
The easiest way to transfer a net is to photocopy it onto heavy paper called cardstock. If you're shopping, it's sometimes referred to as "65# paper." Or you can go to your local copy shop. Beware that construction paper is too flimsy.
Another way to transfer a net is to place it on top of your paper and poke holes through the vertices with a compass point or an awl, a woodworking tool which is handy for building models. You can get one for a few dollars at a hardware store. It will last practically forever.
The advantage of this method is that you can use old manila folders or posterboard to build models.
If you transfer the net onto more than one piece of paper this way, be very careful that they don't slip and slide! Using paper clips or stapling the pieces of paper helps keep them together.
Step 3: Score the net.
With your awl and a straightedge, trace over all the dashed lines on the net. This might seem like a lot of work, but believe me, you'll be glad you did it! Scoring makes the folding process much easier.
Be careful not to score too hard, or you'll literally cut the paper. You'll get the hang of it soon enough.
Step 4: Cut out the net.
Now it's finally time to cut out the net! Simply cut along the solid lines (the edges of the tabs).
Since you'll be gluing the tabs together, they'll be inside the finished polyhedron. So your cutting doesn't have to be perfect. That's a great advantage of this method, which is called double tabbing.
Before you begin gluing tabs, though, make sure to crease all folds well. It is easy to miss scoring a tab, and when you're in the middle of putting a model together is not when you want to find out!
Step 5: Start gluing tabs together.
Read the directions which accompany the net to see where to begin. Spread a thin layer of glue on one of the tabs and glue it to the other of the pair. Hold the tabs together for about ten seconds until they are fairly well stuck together. Sometimes tweezers help here.
Elmer's glue works wonderfully. Just be careful not to spread it on too thickly, or it won't dry quickly enough. Glue sticks will also work in the short term, but if you want your model to last, don't use them. They'll begin to fall apart soon enough.
Don't spread the glue on the tabs with your fingers! Try yo keep your hands fairly clean or you'll end up fingerprinting your model.
Another great reason to use double tabs is that if you see you've made a mistake, you can gently pull the tabs apart without ruining your model. Consider yourself fortunate if you don't need to take advantage of this!
Step 6: Finish the model!
Now you're well on your way to completing the model. Don't worry if you have to stop and think for a while to figure out where to glue next. Looking at a picture can help a lot, as can working with someone else.
The last pair of tabs is always hard to get just right. Don't worry that it's not perfect.
Your patience will be amply rewarded. It's such a wonderful experience to hold a well-built model, especially one you've built yourself!
When you've completely finished your model, simply select another and go back to Step 1....
|© 2004-11 vincent j matsko||vmatsko(at)imsa.edu||illinois mathematics and science academy||last modified October 2011|