Made from scratch

The other day on Twitter, the monster 3D printing enthusiast Ivan Miranda asked about the meaning of the phrase “made from scratch”.

Dr Adrian Bowyer, the inventor of the self replicating 3D printer, agreed.

And that was my thought too.

Gier Anders provided a helpful link from Merriam Webster that provided the origins of the phrase. Which gives some examples of a bread maker milling their own flour or a woodworker starting from logs rather than planks or boards.

It comes from running races, a line scratch on the ground. So “from scratch” literally means “from the beginning”.

And the Oxford English Dictionary has a similar definition.

Scratch Built

My definition of the phrase “made from scratch” comes from my youth when I was making models for my HO railway. Scratch built models are those that are made from basic components rather than from a kit. Such as these examples from Lee of LNR Models who makes excellent minature houses and sheds from foam board.

And digging a bit further into the definition, I looked up the rules for competitions that involved scratch built models.

The International Plastic Modellers’ Society (UK) states that models entered into the scratch built section of their competitions must be:

A model constructed where the main body parts (50 percent or more) and/or flying surfaces are home-made or vac-formed plastic, other than of a commercial nature.

IPMS(UK) Scale ModelWorld 2019 Competition Rules

The world table-top wargames also has a rule for entries into their competitions.

Models may NOT contain significant elements of pre-assembled and/or pre-painted models or toys.

Models MUST be consistent with the look and feel of the game system they belong in.

Scratch built models should aesthetically evoke the production-quality models they are intended to represent. For clarity, printed paper models or models constructed from building blocks (Legos, etc.) DO NOT meet this requirement.

Adepticon 2019 Model Policy

What do you think?

Do you think that “made from scratch” should have a zero-tolerance rule where literally every component needs to start from basic materials? How far do you take the definition, is a sheet of glass a basic material or do you need to get some sand and put it in the furnace?

Perhaps taking a more pragmatic approach like the competition judges use is a better approach to deciding if something is made from scratch or not?

So lets see what Ivan was referring to when he asked his question.

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