How 3D Printing Changed the Game for Architecture Planning

It wasn’t that long ago that 3D printing seemed like a fanciful fad, and not a real, authentic vision of what the future could hold for us. In recent years though it has improved in its accuracy and efficiency and has now become a genuine help not hindrance in many areas of industry. One area where there has been a shift to utilise 3D printing and to make processes much smoother and more efficient is within architecture, design and planning. The architecture world has been quick to embrace the new technology, and it is no surprise as architects are constantly on the look out for innovative ways to improve design and to make the planning stages much easier to comprehend for clients and construction teams alike.

Traditionally for scale models of architecture plans architects use foam and wood to create intricate and detailed models to demonstrate how a project will look when completed. With the innovation of 3D printing however, there could be a dramatic change in this entire process, and it could lead to a much better delivery and higher quality of projects on the whole as a result.

First, it is important to understand that there is a very good reason for architects to create small, scaled versions of projects for planners, builders, and most importantly clients, to view during the initial stages of a project. It gives a client a real and tangible design. Something that they can see clearly in 3D form, something they can touch and see exactly where things will appear once built. This sort of fine detail helps to bring a project alive and brings it from a pure concept to a reality and clear possibility. With models of structures and buildings it can be much easier for an architect to have dialogue with a client and to iron out any kinks prior to construction taking place. A 3D model is for the planning stage, once theory and guesswork are out of the way.

The problem that is regularly encountered with this style of model though is the sheer amount of time that it takes to create. Once it has been viewed by a client, there is likely to be little tweaks and changes that they wish to make, and it can extremely time consuming to go back and make changes to a model when it is so intricate and detailed. With 3D model printing the game has changed. Initially the precise data that an architect inputs into the printer will create the model in a much faster time, allowing the architect to continue with other important tasks related to the project. Once the client has viewed the model, any changes required can be taken back and 3D printed in the same fast timeframe. This dramatically cuts down on cost and time, making for a smoother project all round for both architect and client. There is also no longer any need to worry about the quality of 3D printing, as technological advancement ensures that the quality continues to improve.

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