Evolution of Making Architectural Models Using 3D Printing Technology

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The growing competition in the AEC industry (architecture, engineering and construction) has made architects and project developers to create structurally sound and stable architectural model designs. Over the years, the building structures have become more complex due to the constraints on space, environment and other socio-economic factors.

With 2D drawings or designs, architects and engineers are facing several challenges to showcase their conceptual designs. The introduction of 3D printing technology in the model making industry has created a platform to demonstrate and present 2D designs in visually appealing real life models.


You may ask:

“How does 3D printing work in making architectural models?”

3D Printing, otherwise called as additive manufacturing (AM), is a prototyping procedure whereby a three dimensional physical object is created. Based on technology similar to the ink jet printer, with 3D printing it is easy to replicate any kind of complex structure. 3D printing involves building an item by putting down progressive layers of materials- for example, powders, fluids, plastics, metals and earthenware and making them cling to one another. This type of additive assembling begins by making a three-dimensional model utilizing computer-aided-design (CAD).

A virtual model of a three dimensional file, also known as stereolithography (STL File) is created with sliced cross-sections to provide the exact scale size of the model to be printed. The scaled STL file is inserted into the 3D printer to create horizontal layers of the model with appropriate colors. The 3D printed model undergoes a series of post processing procedures in order to make its surface smooth and robust.

Here are some advantages of using 3D printing technology in making architectural models:

Fast and Robust

3D printing has revolutionized the traditional methods of making architectural models by significantly reducing the time taken. Traditional model making requires months of hard work to complete and is prone to errors.

With advanced 3D printing technology, any complex designs can be uploaded in the form of a CAD file to print real life colorful replicas within hours. The printed architectural models are high in precision, elegant and robust in nature compared to traditional models. These features allow them to be displayed in any kind of environment.

Better Visual and informational models

A 2D design idea with the help of drawings cannot communicate the true vision of the architect or project developer. However, with 3D printing, they can visualize a real time final project model, which bridges their design ideas with the reality of the project.

Traditional building models lack detailing and accuracy with several design restrictions such as draft angles, undercuts and tool access. A three dimensional architectural model offers design freedom for clients to produce visually appealing and informational building models.

Mass Production with Short Turnaround Time

Is it possible to produce large complex models within short period of time?


With 3D printing, it is possible!

Owing to the large area of architecture design, clients may require a large number of building blocks to be produced in order to communicate their project designs in a broader scale. With traditional methods, it becomes a tedious task to produce large number of complex designs into physical models within a scheduled time.

A 3D printer uses rapid prototyping process to bring complex geometric designs into reality. This enables users to produce large number of miniature scale models within a short turnaround time.

Less Material Wastage

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing consumes less print material required to produce the model. In traditional methods, the material will be subtracted from the original block to create the required shape of model. The extracted materials will be in the form of shavings which cannot be reused and end up as waste.

In 3D printing, rather than extracting material, it “includes” material layer by layer so that what is required gets utilized. Along these lines, additive assembling can decrease material expenses and waste by as much as 90 percent.

Creative Freedom

3D printing offers a life line to architects and designers to create complex designs and bring their vision to reality without any challenges. It is a user-friendly technology and aids their creative process without any boundaries.

3D printing has reinvented the process of making architectural models with innovative and customized designs. It gives businesses an edge in a competitive market. By adopting this technology, designers can produce professional detailed models, which help them to visualize their designs effectively before submitting the final architectural plan.

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