Large Scale Central

For those that have carved Sintra

Would you hand carve Sintra into a brick building approximately 2’ x 2’ x 2’?

Or would you use a newer method like 3D printing/laser cutting?

I know Ray has done some large brick structures in the past.

Hey Cliff how much would it take me to convince you to laser cut me some brick and ship it over to the Wet Coast? :wink:

I have done several (nothing quite that large) but if I needed one I wouldn’t hesitate to tackle it.

Here is my Hyampom block, the hotel/cafe (red) and Maggies Place (white) didn’t really take all that long, but then I’m retired :smiley:


Did you score the horizontal mortar lines any differently than the vertical? If I went down this route, I thought it might be an option to score the horizontal lines with my mini table saw.

What effect are you attempting to achieve?
While I HAVE carved Sintra (PVC), I have never done brick. I like the look that “Precision” Product OVER Sintra gives…

I did my corner office this way…

Where my first project was “Precision” brick over clear acrylic.

I’d go with Sintra over acrylic most times now, but I guess it depends on what you are building. The acrylic was nice because it was already cut to the size I wanted.

This is the building I’m working on/modeling. 100% brick. I was digging around in the old posts and found some of your builds.

The only thing that the Precision product makes me lean away from is the 15" size. And the brick pattern on this building has some unique designs. That would certainly be the “easy” way. I might try printing out a few sections on my resin printer and see how they look.

7824 NE Leary Way

Hi Craig, thanks for asking!

The problem with the laser, or at least how I’m doing it, is that engraving those mortar lines would be tough on, say, styrene. The laser has a tendency to slightly mark, or cut all the way thru. But to get visible (broad) lines that are eaten away at a particular depth, well, that has eluded me. The only material I’ve succeeded with that purpose is a kinda expensive, 1/2" thick, high-density foam board.

So… My vote would be for Sintra, or one of its brethren.

Neat looking building!

Well, don’t be too hard on the “Precision” sheets. Sure they’re only 15" and don’t match up side to side, but…Matheson Textiles was done with that and it is 24" x 48".

Looking at your building (7824) , I think I would be very tempted to build up the was with 3mm Sintra, covered with a single layer of the brick sheet, sort of like I did for the corner office. You really can hide the joints. How big will the building be?

However, at the time, I didn’t have a 3d printer, so that idea looks promising as perhaps you CAN make the bricks meet accurately :innocent:!

Good to know. Yes that high density foam board is nice but expensive! I got a quote from a local plastic supplier and he said he’s never sold a single sheet… :astonished: It was something like $500 for a 4x8 sheet. But I got a 1" x 2" sample piece and I can totally see why the TV/Movie Industry uses this stuff.

The building is 60’ x 60 so that’s 2’ x 2’. Working on estimating the height via counting brick courses.

That’s not TOO big!

With those windows, clear acrylic framing may be nice - that way there’s NO glazing!

That’s a possibility. I’m not sure how I’m going to tackle the windows. A tad annoying that the lower store front windows are set flush with the brick while the rest are set back a half course.

I’m really just in the planning stage as I figured with such a huge window opening, I need/want a detailed interior. I’m thinking maybe about a Ray style slide in. That way I can get the initial structure done and outside and then work on sliding a interior in later.

I made a hand tool using a short piece of brass channel the width of the brick “2 inch” and used it as a scribe for the horizontal lines. Once you scribe the first line it is self guiding after that. For the verticals I used a flat blade screwdriver of the correct size and pressed it in.

Sounds time consuming but once set up it goes along pretty fast. For the verticals I used a pencil to scribe the lines to use as a guide.

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That’s similar to how I do it, too. No carving, just scribing.

Thanks everyone for the confidence to try and move forward with this as a possible option. I think I might try 3d printing a couple small sections and see what it looks like.

I’m glad I’ve only got 1 brick structure to worry about. I think I’d go insane trying to do multiple of these. I’m going crazy just drawing the darn thing in CAD.

Please take LOTS of pictures (and post them!) It will be very interesting to follow along.

It might be a while. I’m a slow modeler. The brick work in CAD on one wall is only about 1/4 of the way done because I’m trying to accurately match the brick patterns off the prototype. It’s got some weird patterns of random half bricks.

Here you go Bruce. You too can follow in real time (or just check every few days/weeks/months/years). I’m being really anal about some stuff and getting slightly annoyed as I know the CAD model is probably being built with slightly tighter tolerances than the actual building.

I’m just guessing on the brick size and using a 3.5 x 3.5 x 7.5 size brick. Who knows if that’s the actual size. I had no clue bricks came in so many sizes ( and mortar spacing).

Once I get the building all drawn up, then I’m going to have to go back and tear it down into 3D printable size pieces. :roll_eyes:

It might just be easier to go with Sintra or plaster afterall. :joy:

VERY impressive!
I never got very good at the CAD stuff- I’m a tad dense and nothing seems to want to act like the way I USED to draw in Mechanical Drawing (WAY back when).

It’s fun to experiment, isn’t it? Especially when you might be on to something…

How big of a piece can your printer print?

Nice cadding, Craig! Yeah, you’re putting in lots of work for the bricks to work out in pattern, even spacing, wrapping around the corners… Tough work, but sincere best wishes!

If you did go the Sintra route, the 10’ Rule can be quite handy for guilt abatement purposes. Ask me how I know!


I’m mostly trying to draw it right to figure out the measurements. It’s not fun at times but with literally zero cost at this point I have a great return on my time and money. :joy:

The much easier way would have been to drop the photos into Sketchup and use the photomatch tool to draw and measure everything out. But doing it this way is forcing me to learn Onshape and some shortcuts. I like to take different approaches to drawings for different buildings just to keep myself trying and learning new things.

My printer bed is 128mmx 81mmx 155mm or ~5" x 3" x 6". I haven’t really tried big prints yet but that’s a pretty small surface area for such a large building.