submitted by bruce willey

For our second virtual conference, we trimmed it back to a quick-and-easy day and a half, but still managed to pack in a lot of cool and interesting presentations, tours, and sessions. Here's a recap if you missed it, and some incentive to get you there next time!...




For our second virtual conference, we trimmed it back to a quick-and-easy day and a half, but still managed to pack in a lot of cool and interesting presentations, tours, and sessions. Here's a recap if you missed it, and some incentive to get you there next time!

TOUR: Ekstensive Metal Works in Houston, TX

"Everything is bigger in Texas, including our love of cars and trucks." Jennifer Shorb picked up a camera and walked us through the Ekstensive shop, being very careful not to point the camera at anything that was going to appear on their episodes of Texas Metal, airing on the Motor Trend channel. Still, we got to see some amazing customized cars, and toolboxes the size of cars. 


TOUR: The American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT

The APM was happy to share some highlights of their collection with the APMM! Our video tour included a blend of behind-the-scenes secrets  and on-exhibit favorites. We saw the John Aschauer miniature collection including a 1910 steam factory built when the craftsman was a teenager (pictured), the very first Bridgeport mill - built in 1938, mechanical-motion studies built by Maxfield Parrish Jr, an Etheric Force disintegrator from 1878, the world’s first Supermicrometer, and more. You can check them out at Here's another video about some of the miniatures and models from the collection.


KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Fon Davis of FonCo Creative, Los Angeles, CA

Back by popular demand from our very-well-attended and amazingly fun May the Fourth Star Wars Meet-up in 2021! From Star Wars and Star Trek movies in the '90s, through Interstellar and the not-yet-released movie Gods of Mars, Fon has had a hand in a huge number and variety of films and TV shows. APMM Membership VP Terry Wellman and our Executive Director Samanthi Martinez interviewed Fon for us. He creates educational videos you can find on YouTube and his company FonCo is involved in many good works. Fon Davis - IMDb


FEATURED MODEL MAKER: William Robertson of Robertson Miniatures in Kansas City, MO

APMM Secretary (now President) Michael Scribner, along with Samanthi Martinez, interviewed William in his shop full of fascinating antique tools and equipment. He suggests the title "mécanicien" for what he (and we?) do. It was what they called the people who crafted complex and ornate objects for royalty in previous eras. He presented at our 2012 Kansas City Conference, is a member of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans and contributor to the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City. He told us how he turned his childhood hobby of building and crafting into a lucrative career making objects of great value. William’s website can be found here.  He has a TED talk that can be found here.



In London, back in 1883, John Thorpe opened what is considered the very first "modern" model making company (in that it was independent of other firms, only doing work for clients.) Possibly sensing the importance of his place in history, he and his successors kept and archived EVERYTHING concerning their work - drawings, photos, invoices and more. There are about 65-thousand items in the archive, including 25-thousand photographs, some captured on glass plates by 19th century cameras! APMM Education VP Will Strange interviewed Dr David Lund, who found out that Thorpe's company still had this treasure trove and had it transferred to Arts University Bournemouth for study and preservation.



APMM member Wayne Forsythe returned with his ten-foot-long brake press with 340 tons of squashing power to show us how to design and plan the sequence of operations to create sheet metal profiles - and then bend them safely.



What are two things in every shop that never go well together? That's right - adhesives and dust! Brian Durand and Tod Gregory of Henkel Corp, the parent company of Loctite, informed us about their glues, tapes and coatings. We also heard about Henkel's 3D printer resins. The presentation itself wasn't recorded, but they thoughtfully shared some useful documents from it with us. Go to the VCON2022 LIVE Sessions Links page to download them.

On the dusty side, we had Robert Erwin, an Environmental Science Educator from RE Assurance Safety Consultants, who gave us the OSHA perspective on how to avoid harm from dust and fumes created by 3D printers and other equipment. He warned us that PLA printer filament, while promoted as bio-degradable and environmentally friendly, is not safe as dust or fumes. Nanoparticles of it will actually shellac the insides of your lungs - so mask up and ventilate your equipment!  Some reference materials are available on the VCON2022 LIVE Sessions Links page.


Discussion: FORUM: LIVE!

There were numerous 'casual discussions' during the VCON that evolved into tremendous uploads of knowledge! In between sessions, participants met in the Zoom room known as the "APMM HQ" to catch up, share stories, and exchange ideas. Every single one was amazing! But this particular discussion concerned one of the big benefits of membership - the Forum.

 A major benefit of APMM membership is the Forum. We briefly touched on how it works and what kinds of categories and topics are already set up there, so you can subscribe to any of the ones that interest you and not get notified about posts on the others. We heard about a very recent incident where a member posted questions about Sensable Freeform software and quickly got helpful answers. 

Then the conversation became pretty free-flowing and we heard about how some problem-solver attached their laser to their CNC router because they needed a laser cutter, but it was 30-40 years ago and you couldn't buy one of those yet. Another model maker who worked with what was available talked about going to the nearby airfield and sourcing the Perspex they needed from the cowls of wrecked WWII airplanes. It was a useful and interesting discussion, and there are more like it on the Forum right now! 

If virtual conferences aren't your thing - don't despair! The APMM is returning live and in-person in 2023. Please check out the conference announcement in this newsletter, and stay tuned for further details...