The superyacht model making process with AllOnScale

In the year 2014, leading marine and superyacht model makers AllOnScale®, met up with young and talented designers, Joost Roes and Bob Van Den Meiracker, who presented their intriguing yacht design and the ideas behind its’ concept.

Together, the idea was born to have the yacht brought to life by the professional scale model builders of AllOnScale®. Below, the Dutch-based model makers explain their journey in to yacht design, model yacht building and new 3D printing techniques on the project known as M/Y Mobius.

Initial thoughts and design goals

Coming from his busy life-on-land, a yacht owner will be longing for serenity and relaxation. The “speed of life” between the life on-land and the lifeon-board is a major contradiction. So it became the goal to create a yacht that aids in slowing down the owner’s life, so he can optimally recharge for his return to the busy working life on land.

The goal became to create a yacht that not only provides the owner with a place to relax, but one that plays an integral role in the owner’s relaxing experience. Where conventional yachts only offer a scene for relaxation, M/Y Mobius offers a relaxing experience.

From idea to concept

By using sloping stairs, the route to relaxation is made explicit in the exterior design. Guests are boarding the yacht from the built-in tender garage and will start their journey by meeting the captain. The winding stairs will guide them towards the other areas on the yacht. From starting with drinks and comfortable canapés in the main lounge, to lounging and partying on the sun deck, the guests are guided in their relaxing experience, facilitated by crew and the arrangement of the yacht.


The pictures above show the unique exterior of the M/Y Mobius. Since the profiles are different on starboard and portside, the yacht is unique from every angle but still clearly caries one design. M/Y Mobius caries a clean design with minimised visual distractions.


Following the clients wishes the interior was kept informal, with a beach-like atmosphere and a contemporary style. The owners’ state room is spacious and open with a lot of window area. A specialty is the gymnasium and wellness area where fitness, massage and hairdressing have been combined into a huge spacious gymnasium-lounge. When the hatch door is opened the gymnasium includes a huge balcony.

From design to CAD

The exterior of Mobius has an asymmetrical starboard and portside profile and thus a challenging exterior design. Combined with a large feature staircase and complex exterior surfaces, it was a perfect showcase for the capabilities of AllOnScale®.

The design was initially received as a concept-study model. Most of the CAD work for the exterior was done in Rhinoceros 3D design software. This however meant that all surface area’s still needed meshing.

Meshing is the process of going from the organic shapes in nature to more mathematical shapes in computer-aided design. Shapes are now rendered by a collection of triangular shapes formed by three interconnecting points. The more complex the form, the more complex mesh is needed to represent it.

Allonscale® was fully responsible for the engineering and construction of the scale model and therefore the design was fully optimised and modelled into great detail by the AllOnScale® team.

3D Printing

AllOnScale® works in close cooperation with clients and therefore initial 3D prints were made to evaluate the detailed concept design. In order to make a CAD design 3D printable, it needs to be a 'solid object'. This means that the model needs to be a volume without any holes or gaps in its mesh. The designers call it making the model watertight.

Secondly they are limited to the minimum thicknesses that the chosen 3D printer can print, making the simplest design becomes a huge task. For example; if we scale down huge ships to a printable size, small thing like railings, tubing or a radar become so small that the printer cannot print them, so CAD work is need to remove or thicken details for printing. For some models, this can become such a time consuming task that companies develop a brand new 3D printable model from scratch rather than just scaling down an existing model.

The third step is to scale the model down to a printable size. Different printers use different building volumes so a selection has to be made to print the model in one part or maybe divide it up in to sections.

Last but not least, the model often needs to be hollowed out and have a hole at the bottom. This hole is used to remove left over build material or support material used while printing.

Scale 1:300

The 65m M/Y Mobius in scale 1:300 would only be 216mm long. In this case, the CAD model of the hull and superstructure is almost directly CNC milled in one or several parts. These parts are then smoothened, adjusted and matched by traditional handcraft. If no CAD model is available the hull and superstructure is completely hand crafted from 2D Drawings, line plans and pictures using wood, sculpting foam and or clay to form an initial hull.

From the initial hull, the final mould is then made and using this mould and a special casting process and resin, the final hull is casted. Large parts like the superstructure are made and casted in a similar way.

Parallel to this, the fine details are developed. Using paper-thin sheets of high quality brass, the details, railings, doors, hatches, etc. are etched out. After bending and sometimes soldered into shape, the details get their coating of paint and are ready for assembly.

When all parts are ready and painted the assembly can start. From conception to completion, the design requires about eight weeks work.

The model then rests on a wooded baseplate. In this case, it is finished by a polished stainless steel underlay that gives it a high quality feel. The stainless steel surface is finished with a colour logo, yacht’s name, technical details and or designer’s names. To keep it dust free, a high quality acrylic cover gives the finishing touch.

Scale 1:100

The larger scale model in scale 1:100 measures 650mm in length. To show the skills of AllOnScale® in fine detail the model was made with complete interior and LED lights. Both the master bedroom and on-board gym were replicated in detail while the other areas where replicated from 2D deck plans.

The process is not much different from the smaller scale model although the hull and superstructure are directly milled and not casted. Larger details are casted and even the skylight is casted in special clear resin.

At the back, the tender bay door is open and a small tender was added showing the arriving owner. On the starboard side, the large front hull hatch is open to show this unique feature of the on-board gym. The central spiral staircase with large skylight was modelled as another key feature of this yacht.

Fine details again are made of sheets of brass but the railings are made from real stainless steel and all decks are paved with real wood.

The interior and lights make the model more complex as lights have to be positioned to give a realistic lightning on-board, while all electrics need to be hidden away. The model rests on a wooden baseplate with a dark blue acrylic sheet to simulate the ocean. LED’s are used to simulate the underwater spots that many luxury yachts use at the moment; it gives them a spectacular view at night. A small tender behind the model gives the finishing touch.

For more information, visit AllOnScale®.

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