About the SEED B.15 Workshop Facilities

The SEED B.15 Workshop caters for students from the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) – a shared school across the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. We offer facilities and advice for the production of scale development and presentation models for use in student projects. The workshop offers state of the art digital fabrication technology alongside core traditional manufacturing techniques.

We aim to continually develop our facility to remain in line with industry standards and equip our students with a good understanding of contemporary and traditional approaches to making.

As well as our main function toward MSA we offer consultancy work to the wider university and are regularly involved in projects across campus.



Jim Backhouse, Senior Modelmaking Workshop Technician
Scott Miller, Modelmaking Workshop Technician

Short History of B.15

The workshop in its current location has been providing modelmaking advice and facilities to Architecture, Planning and Landscape students since its completion in 1970. Whilst technology has evolved since then, the workshop has always played a key role in the study of Architecture at Manchester. Originally part of the University of Manchester, the school merged with Manchester Metropolitan University Architecture Course in 1996 to form MSA.

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) workshop is located in the basement room B.15 of the Humanities building off Bridgeford Street on the University of Manchester Oxford Road campus.




B.15 Modelmaking Workshop
Humanities Bridgeford Street
University of Manchester
Oxford Road

Telephone: 0161 275 6876 or 0161 275 6853

Please note that due to the nature of our role we are very rarely at a desk to answer phone calls so leave a message and we will try to get back to you. Urgent contact can be made through the university switchboard directly to our workshop but we recommend either of the following e-mail addresses.

Email: Jim.Backhouse@manchester.ac.uk or Scott.Miller@manchester.ac.uk

Please note that CAD bookings can only be made in person although you are welcome to get in touch about machine availability or with and other questions.

Current General Opening Times

Monday: 09.30-13.00 (One hour Lunch Break) 14.00-16.30

Tuesday: 09.30-13.00 (One hour Lunch Break) 14.00-16.30

Wednesday: 09.30-13.00 (One hour Lunch Break) 14.00-16.30

Thursday: 09.30-13.00 (One hour Lunch Break) 14.00-16.30

Friday: 09.30-13.00 (One hour Lunch Break) 14.00-16.30

Saturday/Sunday: Closed

Any workshop users or visitors must first sign in and collect an apron and safety goggles from the coat space to the right of the main entrance.

The workshop can facilitate a maximum of 20 Students at any one time.

Safety glasses and aprons must be worn at ALL times on entering this workshop. If you are unsure of anything regarding the use of Machines or Hand Tools do not hesitate to ask a member of technical staff for assistence. DO NOT attempt to use any machine unless you have completed an induction beforehand.

Workshop Machines and Tools

The Workshop is equipped with the following for use by undergraduate and postgraduate research students:

  • Hand Tools
  • Power Tools such as Drills, Routers and Hand Sanders
  • Two Bandsaws
  • Pillar Drill with Milling Bed
  • Belt Sander
  • Bobbin Sander
  • Two Disc Sanders
  • Fretsaw
  • Strip Wire Heater

CAD driven machinery:

  • CNC Router
  • Two Laser Cutters
  • 3D ABS Resin Printer
  • 3D Powder Printers
  • 3D Resin Printer
  • Flatbed Plotter/Cutter

Should you wish to use any of the above machines please ask a member of technical staff before proceeding as booking an file set up is required.

The following machines are strictly for use by TRAINED STAFF ONLY:

  • Circular Saw
  • Two Compound Mitre Saws
  • Thickness Planer
  • Lathe
  • Polishing Wheel
  • Grinder

Should you wish to use any of the above machines please ask a member of technical staff.

Photographic Studio

B.15 has its own photography facility for documentation of work produced in our workshop and the school. This includes backdrops and LED Lighting. This equipment can only be used after being inducted by one of the workshop staff. It is advised that you check ahead if you wish to use this space and equipment. and follow these simple rules:

Please only use the studio to document your work and not for modelmaking. We are trying to maintain a clean environment for model display here. Any assembly or processes should remain strictly in the workshop space.

Please do not move or touch any work being stored in the room as this is either current project work or part of the University Heritage collection dating back nearly 45 years.

Please do not congregate in groups in the studio as their is little free space in the room and the potential for damage of work is fairly high. 

Once you are finished using the facility please let one of us know so we can ensure it is locked and tidy.


Recent Posts

Welcome to 2018/19 at B.15!

Welcome new and returning students for another year of fun and games in B.15!


This week we have Inductions all day Tuesday to Thursday for our new comers and returning students. If you are scheduled to attend please do so as catch up sessions are difficult to arrange given how busy your timetables are. If you do happen to miss your allocated time/day there will be a limited catch-up session. Make sure you get in touch with your tutor to make them aware that you need to have an induction to find out when the catch up will be.

4D Modelshop will again be available across the 3 days of induction in the ARCHITYPES Exhibition, First Floor HBS as part of each induction. Anyone else who wishes to see some samples of their products is welcome to drop by and find out about the discounts available to you including free postage to B.15 for a limited time.

Materialise Magics Correction Software

After a long time in the pipeline we now have the latest version of Materialise Magics for use with 3D STL models. Magics can be used to identify errors in 3D models that can result in unexpected  print errors with any of our 3D Printers. In addition to this it allows for manual or automatic repairs to parts. This should help us to assist with the various issues that come up throughout the year and hopefully make for a more stream lined process that helps you see where your 3D modelling is going wrong.

Modelmaking reference books now in Katorowich Library

Many of you have asked previously if you can take some of our reference books home. As we don’t allow this with our specialist workshop library we have arranged for a number of the more popular books to be stocked in the Kantorowich Library up on the ground floor of HBS. If these prove well used we can arrange for more to be stocked. 

You can find copies of Architectural Modelmaking, Second Edition by Nick Dunn, Modelling Messages by Karen Moon and Model Making by Megan Werner on row 720-720.92. There are also some older Modelmaking books there that may also prove of use.

Workshop Health and Safety

For those returning and new please remember to sign in and out when you use the workshop. This is important for us to have a record should the workshop need to be evacuated during a fire alarm. Additionally, being able to track who is using the space helps us to monitor use and better plan for the next year.

5th year returning students note, even if you have been inducted here previously, you are still required to complete new inductions at both B.15 and MMU Chatham workshop to qualify for our insurance.

As always we insist that workshop users are made aware of our health and safety policy document. The latest version is available for viewing/download here.

Upcoming Events

We’re currently finalising details for some upcoming events open to MSA Students. Stay tuned to our channels to find out more in the coming weeks.

That’s all for now, see you soon!

Scott & Jim

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