April 2020

OUR PEOPLE | Len Martin

People really are at the heart of everything we do here at Ogle – and, most importantly, The Ogle Factor. We wanted to take some time out to introduce one of the driving forces behind the Ogle Factor, Len Martin.

Starting at Ogle in 1972 as a former engineering patternmaker, Len is at the helm of driving innovation and ensuring Ogle remains at the forefront of technology.

Given this wealth of experience and industry know-how, we felt it was time to pop the kettle on and have a chat with our Managing Director…

What has been your proudest moment to date?

“It’s hard to choose but probably winning the contract to build a full-size BAE Jetstream 41 marketing mock-up. It was 61-feet long! The team really pulled this one out the bag and showcased what the business can do. I also must mention putting together the management buy-out of Ogle Design which then became Ogle Models and Prototypes.”

What made you choose Ogle?

“I chose Ogle but then Ogle chose me! I’m still excited by Ogle Models which is quite an achievement after 45 years! I believe we remain a leading model making company with a great reputation for quality and service. This is largely because we’re one of the biggest and our breadth of technology and skills is immense. All of those combine to make Ogle so diverse and flexible to client requirements.”

Ogle have been trading for a quite a few years – have you noticed any changes in the industry?

“Where do I start! When I first started making models here – a few years ago – we were given a technical drawing or sketch and then off we went to make the model or prototypes using only the drawing and traditional techniques. This was mostly using hand tools and the model used to end up being an interpretation of the modelmaker, especially when complex forms were involved!”

We had a CNC machine early on, but it was operated by programming a punch tape which was extremely time consuming (we soon sold it on). At this point, there was still no real CAD design abilities. When it did become more widely available, we managed to persuade the company to invest £125,000 to buy the first suite of Alias Software powered by Silicon Graphics. As more and more designers started using the software, we started to see what the future would look like! Or so we thought… when SLA first featured on Tomorrow’s World, we laughed!

“It was clear only a couple of years later that failure to invest in this technology wasn’t an option. That still doesn’t quite bring us to where we are today. CAD was horrendous in the early days and so much of our time was spent correcting and amending files before the parts could be printed.

Nowadays CAD has absolutely transformed the industry and we only use drawings for control purposes. You’d think that the advancements in technology and software would remove the need for skilled humans, but it’s actually increased it. I joked earlier about a modelmakers interpretation with CAD files but everything from analysing the CAD, breaking it down, allowing for paint/trim thicknesses and strategizing the assembly stage are as, if not more, important.”

Industrial 3D printers vs. desktop – is there a place for both?

“Yes, definitely. Desktop printers are great for small, quick models to check things out especially for designers and development houses.”

What advice would you give to someone starting off in model making?

Try your hardest to get an apprenticeship with a business like Ogle where you’ve got a diverse team with skills across multiple sectors and industries. Don’t give up if you get pushed back, try harder!

Finally, tell us something we don’t know about you please?

“If I wasn’t running Ogle Models, I’d probably be a professional windsurfer!”

Enjoyed getting to know our team?

Read Mikael’s story from starting as a part-time cleaner to becoming a key member of the rapid prototyping team.

Want to talk?

For more information about this article or to speak to one of our expert team, call us
on +44 (0) 1462 682 661 or email us at [email protected].