I saw a guy boasting about his ‘scratch-building.’ He posted pictures. It was of his 3D printing. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this sort of comment, either.
You know, I don’t mean to be rude, but drawing something on your computer is not ‘scratch building.’
Please, don’t get me wrong: I am not trying to take anything away from these guys’ ability to use a CAD program. Heaven knows I can’t do it, but that’s because I don’t want to learn how to do it. I took the old-fashion mechanical drafting classes back in the day, and I was good at it. I have no doubt that, if I wanted to do so, I could learn CAD, too. In fact, many people can. But that does not mean the CAD is ‘scratch building.’
Just as I can’t do the CAD work, the guys who can use CAD are usually doing so because they can’t do what Karl and I do — which is true ‘scratch building.’ CAD doesn’t really make anything but a drawing, and even then, the computer is actually doing most of the work for you. Karl and I take a stack of stock plastic shapes and turn it into the masters which then become the kits you guys use. We actually create with our own hands, and it is very different from drawing on the computer. Tell the computer what to do and it does the work — not you. But Karl and I can’t do that. If we want to make a complex design, it has to come from our own hands. We have to literally bend, mold and shape the materials we use into the form we wish to create. That, folks, is ‘scratch building’ — not drawing on a computer and hitting a print button.
True, 3D printing will probably put an end to what I do — and I’m OK with that. I’m ready to do something new, and different. But it won’t happen today, or even next year, and the reason is simple:
Many people can do what these 3D guys are doing, but only a few of us can do what Karl and I do — and the end product shows! Until people decide they no longer appreciate the difference between the creations of a soulless machine and the craftsmanship of an actual man, Karl and I will have a job and TMD will remain in business.
And, yes! I can tell the difference between a printed master and a hand-made master. When you create with your hands for as long as I have, the differences between an organic and a sterile master just jump out at you. But the 3D stuff is getting better and — like I said — I can finally see the end of the line on the near horizon. But, even after I have gone the way of the horse and buggy industry, the 3D stuff still will not be ‘scratch-built.’ It is and will always be artificially synthesized — period! Folks should learn to accept this and stop presenting their printings as something they are not.