A complete in depth guide into building an underground gold mine in miniature! 1:87th scale to be precise.
Building this diorama took quite a while but I enjoyed every minute of the build, all up I filmed 22 hours of footage over the course of 4 weeks and I managed to edit all of the raw footage into a 30 minute detailed tutorial.
The model measures 58cm tall by 73cm deep and has 40 extremely tiny 0.1mm warm white LED's and over 80 support beams throughout the mine tunnels. Details that have been added are various products from Woodland Scenics and Prieser which are two popular model railroad suppliers.
The main set of tools I used to build this diorama as easily as shown throughout the video was due to the use of the hot wire foam factory tools, they were sent to me to try out and my absolute honest review of these tools is a resounding thumbs up! I will be using these tools for heaps of future projects.
The foam I used is extruded polystyrene, it’s a fantastic material for model builders due to its versatility and strength, my model railroad layout that is currently being constructed is made using this foam.
The buildings on this model were cut using a cheap….ish… laser cutter from China, the model is called the GY-430 and you can find out more information on the laser cutting section of this website, if you want a more detailed look at how it works my previous video on building Moe’s Tavern shows how it’s used and the type of results you can expect.
I’m in the process of fine tuning the drawings I made for the laser cut buildings on this diorama and once I finish I’ll be posting them up on the laser cutting page so you can download the files for free.
I’d like to thank all of the Patron supporters of this website and YouTube channel for helping fund my projects, it makes a huge difference in my ability to be able to film and post videos so once again thank you. If you too would like to help support and fund the channel be sure to check out my Patreon page, there are some addition perks like early access to videos and a box of grass tufts depending the level of support you choose.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the tutorial :-)
As part of the mine shaft tutorial video I’ll be designing and building a whole bunch of mining structures and equipment to populate the mine. For most of these structures I’ll be using Corel DRAW x8 to design the buildings and I’ll then be using the GY430 Laser Cutter to create the necessary parts for assembly.
So far, I haven’t designed a whole lot however I have managed to design and cut the mine elevator structure, it was basically a test as a proof of concept and now I know it works and looks quite good I’ll be refining the design and adding the finer details to make it look even better.
The structure is about 99% laser cut with only a very small amount of styrene rod used to hold the large wheel atop the structure.
A variety of material was used, 3mm MDF makes up the main frame, 1.5mm pine plywood makes up the supports and cross beams, 1.0mm birch plywood makes up the decking on top of the structure and 0.5mm birch plywood makes the wheel at the top.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well the wheel turned out, when I received the 0.5mm plywood I was amazed at how thin it actually was and was concerned about how much structural integrity it would have. It’s so thin that you can cut it with a pair of good scissors! Being able to cut it with scissors actually makes it very easy to work with especially when cutting sections to be placed in the laser cutter. The 0.5mm plywood even though it is very thin it has a good amount of structural integrity and not only that it is very flexible which will make it ideal for curved structures (something I’ll be experimenting with in the near future).
To give you an idea of scale, here is the elevator structure with a HO scale vehicle and a 2cm tall HO scale man standing next to the building.
Those two sheave wheels sitting in the back of the truck were also made on the laser cutter using 0.5mm birch plywood.
I will eventually be making the plans for this building and the smaller sheave wheels available to be downloaded on the laser cutting section of my website, I still plan to make some miner adjustments to the finished design so once they have been made and I’m happy with the final product I’ll make them available.
However, for those interested below are the current drawings so far for the structure: