How Architects Use 3D Printers

In a highly competitive market, architects have to attract the attention of clients with a top notch presentation in order to win their contracts. One means of doing so is through creating an attractive 3D model of the proposed project. 3D printing has greatly enhanced the 3D modeling process for architects.

3D Modeling

Back in the day, hand cutting and pasting together Styrofoam, and various other materials and modeled objects for 3D building project models was common practice. These three-dimensional models provided the client with a scale view of what their finished project would look like. Rendering CAD software replaced these old-school models by presenting a 3D digital image of the future project. However, 3D printers have taken things a step further by returning to the creation of modeled objects from 3D digital renderings.

Benefits of 3D Printing in Architecture

Though someone familiar with 3D digital rendering might smirk at the idea, those old-school scale models are a great tool when it came to selling a firm's design. They allowed clients to place the design on display, which was sometimes necessary for public funded projects or for securing donations. Digital display lacks those tactile qualities that some clients love to get their hands on. 3D printing brings that back into architecture and provides the following benefits: 

  • 3D printing provides tangible and tactile visualizations of a finished design, which is available for display without requiring the client to set up any additional digital equipment.
  • It saves hours (sometimes days or weeks) of work forming a 3D architectural model using the old-school method of cutting and pasting together intricate components.
  • 3D printing allows for greater precision in details and smoother surfaces as compared to older pixilated printing. This allows architects to include the more intricate details into their 3D model, which were much too complicated or too small to add into handcrafted models.
  • A wide variety of 3D printing materials in numerous colors, as well as the ability to create transparent components are available.
  • Makes client changes and editing possible. Instead of having to start from scratch, 3D printing allows the designer to edit the rendering and simply reprint the model, which not only saves time and money, but also enhances the professional image of your firm. 

These are the major architectural benefits of 3D printing, which make it a viable solution in competitive marketplaces, and gives architects a more cost-effective way of providing their clients with physical displays for funding projects.

Digilab's 3D40Flex Option

Digilab's 3D40Flex printer has the capacity to create a wide range of prototypes for various applications, including 3D models for architectural use. It uses Dremel 3D printer filament types, which is available in a variety of color options to create models. The 3D40Flex utilizes intuitive simplicity, making it quick to set up, learn and put into use. Precision resolution printing up to 300 microns is available with high quality resolution printing at 50 microns. 

Digilab has other 3D printer models available to fit the various needs and complexities of architectural modeling. In addition, they assist their clients by supplying filament, 3D printer software and support in order to meet the needs of their architectural customers.

3D printing utilizes digital CAD renderings to create tangible, old-school style, models. It is an asset to architects as a cost-effective solution to winning projects in a highly competitive marketplace, while also providing tactile displays required by clients. 3D printing provides greater accuracy, saves a lot of time building the original model, and allows the designer to edit their design and reprint.

Looking to buy a 3D printer? Contact us for more information about 3D printing applications for architects or to view Digilab's other 3D printing projects on our website.