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QuickTip for Scaling Papercraft

Let's say you've finished unfolding a papercraft model, then find out you need to change the model's scale. Can you change the scale without unfolding again? Yes. Let's look at an example.

For this example, we're using an Iron Man Mark VI Helmet (credit to sharkhead7854). You can download it in UPC format here:


This Iron Man Helmet was designed to be printed out to human size proportions. However, one size doesn't fit all. In order to customize it to fit our own head, we need to change the scale of the model. But first, we must figure out what scale we should use.

Measuring Techniques

The traditional method of fitting hat and helmet sizes is typically measuring the circumference of your head with a tape measure, and then using a sizing chart to lookup the measurement. For example, if your head measured 22 inches around, you would need a size 7 hat. The 7 means the diameter of your head is about 7 inches. This number comes from the circle circumference equation, C/pi = d, (22/3.14=7), assuming that your head is perfectly round.

But, we're going to use another method, which we call the profile method. Simply measure the height of the your head (excluding your neck), and add one inch. The one inch is a fudge factor for inner padding. So, for example, if the height of your head is 9 inches, use 10 inches as a scaling guide.

The key difference here, is that we're basing our head size measurements on a frontal profile. This technique may be wildly inaccurate for inner head sizes, but appearance-wise, it should look correct. So, if appearance is more important to you than accurate inner head size, then use this technique instead. In any case, head size can always be adjusted with inner padding.

Scaling Your Model

We got our scale, now let's apply it to our model. In Ultimate Papercraft 3D, we can find out the dimensions of our model, using Info | Scene. For the Iron Man helmet model, we get:


We see that the height of the model is 10.559 inches. If we wanted our model to have a height of exactly 10 inches, we can use the tool, 3D Tools | ScaleTo | Scene:


Set the scaling type to Height, enter 10 inches, and click Apply.

Now, when we click Info | Scene, we see that the model's height is exactly 10 inches tall. All other dimensions have been uniformly scaled to fit our new height:


Fix Your Layout

Lastly, after scaling your model, you should see that your paper layout has also been scaled. However, the paper size should remain the same. Which means you will have to re-organize your parts so they fit within the paper margins again.

That's it! If you have any other questions about scaling papercraft, please let us know.

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