Communicate your design concepts early using tangible models which allows testing early on, allowing the right ideas to be taken forward.
Examine form, fit and function prior to final production using a process which can achieve true product realism. Real ABS engineering polymer is used to properly simulate the thermal, chemical and mechanical properties of similar end use parts such as those produced using injection moulding. The end result provides tough components making them versatile for many types of testing.
These types of models traditionally are made using techniques requiring extensive experience and expertise using materials such as wood or foam board, which has limitations compared with 3D printing these models. Most importantly 3D printing can reduce the number of design iterations, improve design lead time and retain fine details of an architecture plan. Scale models can be digitally fabricated directly from existing and transforming CAD models throughout the design process in order allowing architects to see their ideas in a tangible way in physical space so problems can be rectified early. This allows concepts, scale, proportions, space, form and structure to be explored more thoroughly.
3D printing becomes desirable for producing architectural models particularly when:
- Challenging characteristics such as thin walls or internal cavities care present
- Design changes are likely - Expensive manual labour isn't wasted and lower cost models can be produced at each design stage
- Reducing lead times and cost when compared with traditional fabrication techniques
- Model stability and durability is required - 3D printed models do not distort over time as there are fewer joints, making them more suitable for transportation
- Fine feature details such as railing or textures are present
Our 3D printing technology produces detailed, high-quality architectural models which can be exported directly from CAD models without a need for engineering drawings. This allows models to be produced at the necessary design stages when a scale model is required. Sectioned views can be added to view internal features, alternatively interlocking features can be added to split the model into sections for demonstration purposes or transportation, for example separating the floors of a building into stacks. For large models it is necessary to split the model into sections allowing it to fit within the 3D printer's build area, these parts can then be slotted or bonded together afterwards to make it look as if it was one piece. The material used to produce these models are extremely versatile allowing for a range of post processing techniques should they be desired.
The ability to physically produce a prototype which users can hold is the main advantage of 3D printing for this application. It is possible for more design iterations to be completed in order to optimise the ergonomics of a product as tangible models can quickly be produced for users to test. Reliable ergonomic testing can be achieve by using prototypes which nearly perfectly simulate the properties of the final product. This is especially useful when prototyping injection moulded parts as the split lines, clearances and mechanisms can be tested accurately.
Our 3D printed models can be sanded, painted or even chrome plated to match the appearance of the final product. By utilising real ABS the durability and feel is also represented in an accurate way.