Inspiration

3D printing is a very useful tool for architects with a lot of advantages

By Site editors - Disclosure - Price update: 22 October 2019 -

Who doesn't know them; maquettes, scaled three-dimensional models, mainly used by architects for their graphic design work. A 3D model allows architects to see for themselves whether everything is as intended and it gives clients a much better impression of how things will look like in reality.

Until recently architects and modelers were dependent among others on shears, saws and cutters for the processing of materials, like cardboard, wood and styrofoam, now they often use a different tool: the 3D printer! And this gives them a lot of advantages...

Types of models
The possibilities of applying 3D printing in architecture are almost limitless. An important number of applications are:

• Early stage models
Why should you wait with showing ideas to the client until everything is almost ready? With 3D printing you can make visualizations at all stages of the design process, so you can optimally incorporate the client in the process from the start in order to ensure proper feedback on how to possibly make improvements.

• City planning
With the right 3D printer it is possible to capture an entire city in a three-dimensional model within hours, in which all visionary ideas and concepts are included to the smallest details. Possible changes to parts can afterwards be easily and quickly made.

• Model variations
With 3D printing it is possible to print many variations of a model quickly and cheaply, and having them assessed for usability. In this manner it becomes easy to develop the perfect, definite design.

Sweco
A nice example of this is a project of Sweco. The largest architectural and engineering office of Europe uses Ultimaker 3D printers for the design of a new city area in Sri Lanka:

An extensive story about this particular project can be found on the website of Ultimaker.

The future
What all may be possible with 3D printing is difficult to assess. What is certain is that development is progressing quickly. For example, what do you think of the project of DUS Architects from Amsterdam? The architectural firm managed to produce a fully 3D printed country house. The so called Urban Cabin is part of the study into compact and sustainable housing solutions in urban areas.

The house has a surface of 12.400 in2 (8 m2) and in the design, room has been made for a mini-veranda and a couch in the interior space that can be converted to a double bed. It is entirely printed in bioplastic and if desired it can be completely shredded, recycled and reprinted.

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