Model Maker Meet-Ups began in 2020, when APMMers felt even more isolated. Talk about making lemonade! Our pandemic response turned into the Best Thing Ever.

More model Maker Meet-ups (+ links to recordings!):

December 15 Meet-up: What's it like to be a Master Builder at Legoland? 
Model makers cut their teeth on building toys: Erector sets, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, and Legos. We chatted with Joe Nunnink, a former master builder at Legoland Discovery Center Kansas City, who "won" the job that the rest of us only dream of at the 2015 Brick Factor Contest in Crown Center. Before Joe left Legoland in 2020, he built thousands of models over the course of his five years there. Some hallmarks include a remote controlled fully robotic life-size LEGO R2-D2 model, made collaboratively with his assistant, Marcel Karczewski, and a massive expansion of Legoland's "miniland" including models of the Roasterie, Joe's KC BBQ, and the West Bottoms and Boulevard Brewery. Joe currently resides in New York City, focusing on illustration and comedy. Here's a link to our recording of this session.

December 1 Meet-up - What's on your Workbench?
When it comes to custom, handcrafted gift ideas, model makers are uniquely skilled to make whatever their hearts and minds can dream up! This meet-up had our members sharing projects they've made, either with a specific gift in mind, or just playing around with making things to share with others. 

From beautifully crafted boxes and one-of-a-kind bottle openers to 3D printed gadgets and inventive props and ornaments, a wide array of techniques and methods were discussed. We even had our new friends from the International Guild of Miniature Artisans visit! 

November 17 Meet-up - Book Talk: The Architectural Model by Matthew Mindrup - Architectural model maker, and APMM Member, Aaron Williams talked with Sydney-based architect and architectural historian Matthew Mindrup about a newly published book on the origins and implications of architectural models.

For more than five hundred years, architects have employed three-dimensional models as tools to test, refine, and illustrate their ideas. But, as Matthew Mindrup shows, an architectural model can also simulate, instruct, inspire, and generate architectural designs. In his book, The Architectural Model: Histories of the Miniature and the Prototype, the Exemplar and the Muse, Mindrup surveys the history of architectural models by investigating their uses, both theoretical and practical.
Here's a link to the recording.

November 3 Meet-up - Project Moon Hut - This visionary and intriguing topic drew a great audience and many people instantly wanted to be involved. The team at the Project Moon Hut Foundation has been working since 2014 to empower people and organizations to achieve just that through a pragmatic project whose directive is as follows: Establishing a "box with a roof and a door on the Moon" through the accelerated development of an Earth- and space-based ecosystem, which necessitates  innovations and paradigm-shifting thinking that will later be returned back to Earth to improve life on Earth for all species.

Presenter, and key visionary, David Goldsmith says, "We reached out to the APMM because we believe that you have the potential to participate in a key sub-project of Project Moon Hut, specifically to work with us on building the models that would enable us to share our vision and messaging.... Our hope is that you'll learn something, be excited, and potentially lend your skills and strengths through your special talents related to model making."
To contact David, message us at [email protected] and we'll put you in touch.

Watch two videos to learn more about this fascinating project: 
Space Tech Convention Macedonia 18 October 2019  PMH Overview - Moon Hut Mission Lever, and Purpose

October 20 Meet-up - Ghosts of Catalogs... Past and Present - Craig Leese, host of such popular workshops as "20 Benchtop Tips in 30 Minutes", "My Favorite Things", and the emcee of many conference awards ceremonies, guided us through the Science and Art of finding things you wanted and things you didn't know you needed in good ol' paper catalogs. Craig introduced no less than 48 print catalogs for finding anything from sculpting supplies to fake foods.
Check out the Forum for a list of the catalogs Craig reviewed. 

October 6 Meet-up - Metal 3D Printing with MasterGraphics (Fitchburg, WI) - Metal 3D printing has existed for a long time but has mostly been limited to highly specialized applications due to the high part cost, slow processing times, and difficult to use systems. (Think: aerospace or medical implants with low volume and high cost, which made sense for powder bed fusion machines.) New generations of metal 3D printers are beginning to emerge ushering in the era of Additive 2.0, drastically lowering the barrier of entry to get up and running with metal 3D printing while simultaneously allowing for far higher volumes of parts to be produced to actually go to mass production with metal 3D printing. We learned how new generations of equipment allow for these unprecedented levels of accessibility, allowing for everyone to get their hands on metal 3D printing.
Here's a link to the recording.

September 15 Meet-up - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Your Best/Worst Model Making Challenges - Jill Kenik, owner and principal model maker at Acropolis Studios Model Works, Inc., and the President of the APMM's Board of Directors hosted this interactive discussion featuring Your Stories! Perhaps you've participated in a GB&U workshop at a past conference? Maybe the theme song from the 1966 Sergio Leone film is running through your head right now... you know which one: listen here. We're glad you joined us to share your awful anecdotes, triumphant tales and perplexing predicaments! 
September 1 Meet-up Steampunk with Bruce Rosenbaum - Renowned Steam Punk artist/sculptor and professional maker Bruce Rosenbaum talked with us about what inspired him to pursue this unique art and how he has used the "invention" process to conceptualize and create a daring kinetic sculpture featured at the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, DE. Steampunk, Bruce believes, is at the intersection of History + Art + Technology and he used the very-steampunk notion of time travel to create the Velocipede Time Machine using the velocipede cycle idea, governor balls, an electric dynamo, and a dental chair plus numerous salvaged parts and pieces. Bruce talked about Janusian Thinking (his example: a hammer - used to both drive in and extract nails!) and his use of creative problem solving - what a great discussion!
Here's a link to the recording. Use passcode: 6%?6=6me
August 18 Meet-up - Weirdest Things - Show-and-tell the strangest, most curious thing in our shops and work spaces was the theme of this session, but sharing what makes model makers unique was the moral of this story. No two model makers are alike, but it seems that a quirky sense of humor, a desire to innovate, and a willingness to share are definitely common traits. We talked about casts of hands (and other body parts), giant toilets, old-school solutions to today's projects, 3D printed parts that might be straight outta Roswell, and glow-in-the-dark Yodas. The hour flew by with many strange objects and many laughs. Can we really describe what took place at this session?? In a word: NO. Join us next time!

August 4 Meet-up - Social Media: The APMM's Social Media Evangelist (and Technology VP) Joshua Munchow of Formation Design Group (Atlanta, GA) led an in-depth discussion on ways that the APMM can use social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). The group decided to go to the next level by creating a "Social Media Manifesto" for the APMM which defines why we want to do this, and to come up with a strategy roadmap for how to use social media to expand the APMM's visibility, attract new members, share knowledge and encourage future model makers. If you are interested in joining this conversation, please contact us at [email protected].

July 21 Meet-up - Building a Better Workplace through EDI: Aaron Williams from CBT Architects (Boston, MA) led an informative and interactive session on achieving Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within model shops. The APMM hosted this session to begin taking a serious look at what these terms mean and how we can create environments that foster and encourage diversity and inclusion. Joining Aaron were Bruce Williams and Polly Sackett from Accurate Pattern (Butler, WI), and Jennifer Shorb from Monarch-3D (Spring, TX). They discussed how they have been working with their companies to create a better workplace, while sharing their personal journey and how it guides their EDI goals today.

Our June 23 Meet-up took a closer look at a few of our Student Model Making Competition entries. Last year's entries blew us away with their professional-quality finishes, creative use of materials, and astounding project ideas. This year is no different - just more of the same and better. We also discussed what makes an emerging model maker stand apart from the crowd.

June 2 Meet-up - Winners of the 2020 Virtual Model Making Competition: Will Strange, lecturer at the Arts University Bournemouth in UK, led an exploration of the work of last year's recognized students. He discussed what we learned about running the competition online for the first time and how students are learning their craft in schools today.

In our Meditation for Model Makers meet-up on May 19, members Peter Mack and Terry Wellman shared their experiences with meditative practice and how they have found it useful in finding ways to alleviate tension and allowing space for creative thought. They shared apps that are available for guiding meditation.

Many of the members in attendance also contributed their experiences and practices. A recording of the session is available for anyone interested. Please contact [email protected] for a link.

Our Star Wars Day meet-up on May 4 was amazing! Model maker extraordinaire Fon Davis and model maker/APMM co-founder Jeff Hoefer shared anecdotes of their involvement in making moving magic with both the first Star Wars trilogy and the second, as well as juicy behind-the-scenes glimpses of how model makers bring to life the imagineered miniatures (and 'bigatures'!) and fantastical props.

They shared how even in the age of digital effects, miniatures are often relied upon to create settings that are true-to-life. Both Jeff and Fon talked about 'kit-bashing' and using common objects to create unbelievable film moments. Jeff reflected, "Only a model makers brain is wired to envision how to get the best result by using what you have."

With many blockbuster movies to his credit, Fon gave advice about a career in model making for film. "You will have fun," he said with a smile, "but be prepared to work hard!"
Want to make your own Star Wars themed project? Check out this link: Send us pictures of your project - completed or in-progress and we'll feature it here!



We're hosting informal and interactive Zoom Meet-Ups for our members to get together in virtual space - make sure your membership is current and active, then join us! (Members in good standing will receive an email message inviting them to the session, including Zoom meeting details and links. We'll even send you a reminder before the session starts! Some sessions are open to all.)