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Repair and maintenance

We use tried and tested, plus new technology and materials to preserve and enhance the Model Town
Example: Model Building Windows

WMT have embarked on a programme of replacing old model building windows, where they need to be replaced, with 3D printed versions.

When the model town was first built all the windows were hand built by craftsmen using materials that were readily at the time, the majority of the windows were made from beech wood with glass glazing.

Over time the majority of these windows have had to be replaced as the wood rotted (bearing in mind that they were first made in the early 1950) or the glass broke.

Numerous methods, using available technology and available skills at the time, have been adopted over the years, examples of which you will see around the model town. These have stood us in good stead, still look good but have some limitation that we have been looking for ways to overcome.


Over the past year or so we have been using 3D technology to print windows, as our experience with them grows and they prove they are a good solution we will gradually replace all the windows that need attention with them.

3D Printed advantages

  • They can be made to look more like real windows; notice how the model sash windows are made with two glazed panes, just like real sash windows

  • The glazing is made from polycarbonate, which remains clear in sunlight, is tough and does not break into sharp shards if broken.

  • The printing material, PLA (PolyLActide), is a bioplastic made from vegetable matter, usually corn starch or a sugarcane by-products.

  • PLA is also biodegradeable, so in the long term it will have minimal impact of the environment.


Progress to far

  • The model Minster “stained glass” windows are now all 3D printed, they were installed during the summer of 2017

  • The model Crown Tap pub, on West Borough,  was the first building we tried out the 3D printing approach, they have been in place since spring 2017.

  • During spring 2018 we installed 3D printed windows in the model Kings Head and Lloyds Bank.

  • During the spring on XXXX we installed new windows in all the buildings on the High Street

  • Many of the bank and pub signs have also been 3D printed and installed in spring 2018.

Method used

The window aperture (hole in building) is measured as best we can, taking into account out of square and skew.


  • A 3D model of the window is developed using a software package called Autodesk Fusion 360.

  • After checking the model is used to create a stereolithography (.stl) file that a 3D printer can understand.

  • These files are sent to Cobnut3D who do all our 3D printing and with whom we’ve built up a great working relationship and who produce excellent results for us.

  • When we received the finished prints from Cobnut 3D we assemble any windows that have been designed in multiple parts and stick them together.

  • All the windows are then primed, undercoated and a finish paint coat applied.

  • Next the glazing is cut to size and glued in place.

  • Any curtains or drapery is now applied.

  • Finally the windows are put in place and sealed in.


If we’re replacing stained glass or obscure glass effects:

  • For the model Minster stained glass, photographs of the windows in the real Minster were taken (from the inside), then corrected with DxO Photolab to produce usable images.

  • The stained and obscure glass designs were completed using the Affinity Photo and Designer software packages and laser printed on to water slide decal paper.

  • The printed images are then floated onto the polycarbonate glazing (just like putting transfers on to model aircraft.

Example: Model Building Windows

At our winter workshop a team of dedicated volunteers spend a great deal of time cleaning, repairing, re-painting, re-furbishing and re-stocking, both inside and out, the many shop fonts in WMT.

Occasionally, for any number of reasons, if will not be possible to adequately repair a shop front so a decision is made to build a replacement.

Since 2016 we have been using a new type of wood and wood composite to build the shop fronts and using 3D printing for doors. All the shop front work is done by hand by skilled craftspersons.

The wood material used is mainly Accoya and Trocoya, both of which are very durable, naturally sourced products, that allow us to ensure the shop fronts retain their unique features while being able to stand up to the rigours of British summer weather.

All the wood is premiered, undercoated and a finish coats applied before the glazing is cut to size and stuck in place.

The interiors are hand crafted and applied directly to the shop front interior or put onto a base board which is slid into the shop before it is installed into its building slot.


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Wimborne Model Town
16 King Street, Wimborne,
Dorset BH21 1DY

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