3D Printing In Architecture

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3D Printing In Architecture
3D Printing In Architecture

Video: 3D Printing In Architecture

Video: 3D Printing In Architecture
Video: Architecture 3d Printing 2023, March

Digital 3D modeling (BIM) is used today by half of the world's architectural companies, and few argue with the fact that the emergence of BIM has made a real revolution. Architects finally got a reliable way to quickly, clearly, clearly and accurately convey their ideas to the client.

It's time to master the innovative technology of the physical model presentation. The physical model is much more complete than the picture on the monitor, allowing the customer to understand and feel the architectural concept. Both models are needed by the architect: a digital 3D model is required to analyze the components of the project, and a physical model is required to efficiently evaluate parts and scale. More importantly, the physical model allows architects to speak in a language that the customer understands - even the most distant from architecture. The client gets the opportunity to evaluate the project on an emotional level, to perceive it taking into account all the subtleties.

The art of handcrafting architectural models certainly deserves every respect, but it is so laborious that the creation of such a model in itself turns into a separate project. First, the architectural drawings are handed over to the model manufacturer, who embodies the overall concept in the material. This takes two to four weeks. If the project has successfully passed the approval, the layout is finalized without significant changes. If not, the architect has to make changes to the project and submit a new version of the model to the customer for approval. It happens that the process of making a physical model stretches for months, misses the deadline and jeopardizes the fate of the entire project.

In the fast-paced world of digital modeling, relying on hand-made approximations is old-fashioned and too expensive. What if making a model were faster, more inexpensive, and more accurate? Just imagine what opportunities are opening up! The same 3D model could be directly used in the workflow … 3D printers from the Z Corporation make these dreams a reality.


Visual embodiment

When Z Corporation's first 3D printer, which could print 3D physics models, hit the market, it brought with it a ton of new possibilities. No longer constrained by the high cost and size of prototyping machines, designers were suddenly able to regularly use visual 3D mockups at the earliest stages of a project.

Accustomed to working only with the most modern technologies, Morphosis, the winner of the Tom Main Architecture Award, was among the first to introduce 3D printing. Morphosis CIO Marty Doscher describes the company's headquarters in Eugene, Oregon: “We have two 3D printers here, and every project goes 3D from day one.”

Tom may be doing a couple of sketches on paper, but the rest of the work is done in 3D space, and many 3D prints are made all the way through.


Defending Ideas, Winning Business

“The human brain works in three dimensions, not two,” explains the owner of the architectural bureau iKix R. “Parta” Partasarati. “Architects and contractors have relied on 2D blueprints for centuries. But no matter how accurate these drawings are, there is always the danger that the customer will misinterpret them."

As an example, he cites the recent history of a residential complex of hundreds of buildings. The client was quite happy with the drawings, but as soon as he saw the 3D model, he immediately became concerned about the too dense placement of buildings. To dilute this jumble, the architect had to place a swimming pool and a fitness room in the center of the complex. One can only guess how much it would have cost the customer a belated solution to this problem - say, when half of the complex would have already been built … The presence of a 3D model saved the architect a lot of time, and the customer saved him from huge expenses for changes in the complex already under construction …

Jerde Partnership purchased ZPrinter 310 Plus printers and now uses them in the development of any project - from a skyscraper to a kiosk. The ability to 3D print in an office environment allows you to produce layouts very quickly, and, in addition, to create such models that would be simply impractical to make by hand.

Just a week after the acquisition, the ZPrinter 310 Plus helped win the competition for which the Jerde Partnership submitted a waterfront design in San Diego. The detailed physics model showed how Jerde enhances the contours of the landscape while maintaining its overall style. Al Waas, deputy vice president and chief designer of the project, says creating the same mockup by hand would take weeks of effort by an entire team of specialists. And with the ZPrinter 310 Plus, the layout was printed in just half a day. “The more detailed the project is, the more complex it is, the more benefits 3D printing provides,” notes Vaas. And he adds that the use of 3D printers gives an approximately twofold increase in productivity.


How it works?

Z Corporation's 3D printers work with BIM file formats to create 3D physical layouts from gypsum plaster of paris.

A model obtained from programs such as Autodesk Revit or Autodesk 3ds Max is cut into thousands of horizontal layers by Z Corp. The printer's print head then makes thousands of passes through the powder, leaving a liquid binder at the intersection points. Where this substance comes into contact with the powder, it quickly solidifies. Thus, printing at a vertical speed of about one inch per hour, the printer applies material layer by layer and creates a finished layout from the powdered gypsum.

Z Corp 3D printers are unique: only they can make models in color. No other technology for creating 3D mock-ups offers this possibility. In addition, graphics and photographs can be applied to the model to further enhance the resemblance to the original.

Z Corp software allows you to go beyond the size of the plot area. The building model can be divided into parts, and the ZEdit Pro program will automatically add pins and holes to them for subsequent assembly almost flush.



While the price of a hand-made mockup can run up to several thousand dollars, the price of the same mock-up printed on a 3D printer from Z Corporation is only $ 2-3 per cubic inch.

“For medium to large projects, the cost of making a layout pays off almost immediately,” said Scott Harmon, vice president of development at Z Corporation. - Often, the device itself pays off very quickly: if, for example, at the very early stage of the project, thanks to the model, it was possible to find a serious mistake or the company won the tender, presenting its project in the most advantageous light. Despite the fact that the production of building layouts on 3D printers is a relatively new direction, most of our clients are architects: they are the ones who get the return from the printer from the very first day of work."


Speed and scalability

Where a mid-sized model took weeks to produce, a 3D printer can handle it in less than 12 hours. Z Corporation's 3D inkjet printers do not smoke, produce minimal waste, and the material left unused during the printing process is suitable for further use. Printers print at resolutions up to 600 dpi, scrupulously reproducing the finest surface details.

The Z Corp line includes the ZPrinter 310 Plus black and white printer and three color devices: the ZPrinter 450, Spectrum Z510 and the high-resolution ZPrinter 650.

“Machines offered by other manufacturers do not allow for multiple layouts at the same time: it is impossible to print models one on top of the other,” says Scott Harmon. "Z Corp printers allow you to print as many layouts as physically fit in the build area, thanks to the thin layer of powder between them."

Not so long ago, the Realization Group was once again convinced of the benefits of mass printing on Z Corp printers. When its Coral Gables, Florida office ordered 100 copies for marketing purposes, Realization Group was able to complete the order in just two days - solely by being able to print multiple copies at once without sacrificing accuracy, quality and reliability.

Along with the advantages in terms of speed and affordability, a 3D printer is of particular value to aspiring architects. Using 3D printing early in the design phase allows you to quickly gain valuable experience, protecting both the architect and the client from costly mistakes caused by a lack of experience.

Thanks to 3D printers from Z Corporation, which create architectural layouts at an order of magnitude cheaper and faster than manual method, 3D printing can now be applied in the early design stages, which increases the efficiency of the entire process. Just as BIM digital modeling makes design cheaper and more efficient, so 3D mock-ups created at the stage of project development help to better understand its concept, avoid mistakes and provide business opportunities that were previously only dreamed of.


Building a house: 3D printing as a project engine

Throughout twenty years of work in the field of computer design R. "Parta" Partasarati meets a new client with the same question: "What problem can we solve for you?"

The usual answer is: "Accelerate the promotion of our product to market."

When applied to architecture, Partasarati found that the two main reasons for delays boil down to insufficient theoretical design and poor communication. Two years ago, he discovered 3D printing, a completely new technology that significantly reduces design time. It allows you to make an accurate three-dimensional physical model of a building and make it an important part of every designer's work. Parta saw this as a great opportunity to improve mutual understanding between everyone involved in the project, increase efficiency and eliminate ruinous mistakes. This is how iKix (www.ikix.in) was born, India's first architectural 3D printing service bureau.

Before, all building layouts were made by hand. Since this process takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money, architects make the layout only at the final stage of the project, just before the public presentation.

“Bureau iKix prints a 3D model on average in six to ten days, which is much faster than the month it takes to make a similar model by hand,” says Parta. golf and so on - we can make in six weeks versus five months by hand. Time and financial savings become even more noticeable when plans change and the layout has to be adjusted on the fly."

iKix uses Z Corp.'s color Spectrum Z510. The capabilities of this printer allow the architect and project manager to quickly obtain multiple copies of the layout - one each for the architect, client, general contractor, subcontractor, and civil authorities. “A 3D printer is more than just a prototyping machine,” says Parta. - It really became one of the developer's tools. 3D printing is a breakthrough that I believe will shape the future of technical information exchange for the next two hundred years. Every project has to be presented in 3D, and soon it will. I am sincerely convinced that all architects will work in 3D. IKix customers come here to embody more and more projects in three-dimensional models. The benefits are undeniable."

Parta believes that infrastructure facilities also need physical models. For example, when the authorities decided to build a highway interchange, it is necessary to plan road traffic in all modes of its operation. The presence of a physical 3D model simplifies the solution of this problem as well.


Visibility: 3D printing in the civilian sector

The Scandinavian consulting company Ramboll Group's (www.ramboll.com) has a track record of refurbished architectural monuments, stunning bridges, excellent roads and reliable utilities. Nevertheless, each new tender requires not only bright ideas, but also their bright presentation - this is the only way to count on success. This is one of the reasons why Ramboll has adopted 3D printing technology.

Ramboll operates in a highly competitive international market, offering a full range of consulting services in the fields of infrastructure, telecommunications, architecture, healthcare, oil and gas, energy, environmental protection, information technology and management.

Ramboll is justifiably proud of the already implemented project findings, while prospective clients are more interested in proposals for possible future orders. The company is looking for ways to best represent its ideas, and in this area, the possibilities of 3D printing are difficult to overestimate.

From the very beginning, color printing has been an absolute requirement of Ramboll. This predetermined the choice: Ramboll purchased the Z Corporation Spectrum Z510 3D printer - the only high-resolution color printer to date.

Spectrum Z510 quickly generates 3D architectural and engineering layouts - in less time and usually much cheaper than traditional manual method. With crisp color detailing, layouts better convey project ideas. And the Spectrum Z510's ability to apply textures to the surface makes layouts realistic and spectacular, which is especially important for infrastructure projects. For example, Ramboll engineers can apply a brickwork texture to the surface of a wall, and a real-life photograph of it from a bird's eye view on a terrain model.

The new features have greatly improved the chances of Ramboll. Shortly after acquiring the Spectrum Z510, the company won a tender to design a large bridge at its home in Denmark.

The layout faithfully displayed the special V-shaped stops that took up less space and required less material than their classic counterparts. He perfectly conveyed the zest of the concept.

“This is just one example where color 3D printing helped win the tender,” says Jita Monchizadeh, CAD developer for Ramboll's Transportation and Infrastructure Division. - And we already have a lot of such examples. 3D printing, like nothing else, helps the customer to feel the uniqueness of our projects, not to miss any of the ideas embedded in them. We create presentations that represent Ramboll in color and clarity. Color, clarity and texture - right down to the masonry pattern on the wall - it really makes a lasting impression."

Plus, 3D printing saves money for Ramboll. For example, recently, when a company needed a layout for a 12-story residential building, it was calculated that it would be three times cheaper to print a color model on a 3D printer than a manual order.

“Printing a color physical model is virtually effortless - provided the scale is right,” continues Jita Monchizadeh. - If the project is executed in a program for three-dimensional design, this is quite enough to form a 3D model. Sometimes the model has to be slightly optimized to scale it to fit the printer's resolution, but this is usually not difficult. Problems are more likely to arise when making a model by hand - when, for example, a single small detail takes up a lot of time! In other words, 3D printing encourages creativity and spatial thinking. At different stages of the project, you can easily make printouts of the layout and compare them."


Zest: Using 3D Layouts in Presentations

For Robin Lockhart, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Operations Manager at OBM International (www.obmi.com), design projects that used to take many hours of discussion and require a lot of trial and error solutions have now become a catalyst for driving the overall momentum.

The thing is that not so long ago the company integrated 3D printing into its production processes.

One of the very important projects is the construction of the new OBM International headquarters in Coral Gables. Using a 3D printer purchased from Z Corporation, “I made a mock up of a four-seat workbench with a breakdown of the components so that they could then be assembled in different configurations,” says Robin Lockhart. - The design team came up with solutions that can be combined by swapping components. This saved us from unnecessary debates, saved a lot of time and effort, and most importantly allowed us to quickly and dynamically come to the desired solution. In addition, the search process itself turned out to be extremely exciting."

OBM International acquired the Z Corp Spectrum Z510 3D Printer in December 2007. “We are now using the Z Corp Spectrum Z510 with all options, including an automatic powder residue cleaning module. In fact, we have here a whole set of devices for working with layouts, which gradually developed around the main printer."

Lockhart noted that 3D printing had the best impact on the nature of OBM International's business: “Our level of understanding with the customer is amazing. The general mood of the presentation instantly changes for the better as soon as we present the layout to the customer. Clients can now conduct discussions in a plane that they understand well, the model consistently makes a good impression, and customer gratitude is ensured."

Previously, OBM International used traditional 2D drawings, color projections and videos for presentations. Designers used tracing paper, hand sketches, CAD, 3D visualization and modeling. “All this was in our arsenal and all this imposes certain restrictions. When we make a presentation for a customer who is not quite familiar with the nuances of this format, the information content decreases, and this can negatively affect the decision. " According to Robin Lockhart, OBM International makes 3D models for its own needs: for the purpose of critical analysis and project evaluation.

“Our workflow is focused on the ubiquitous use of physical layouts,” says Lockhart. “With more and more active use of a 3D printer, we can hope that the quality of our projects will only improve. Plus, this device really became the highlight of all our architectural presentations."


Export from Autodesk Revit

The increasing share of 3D printing in architectural design has resulted in a tool that allowed users to download STL files imported from Autodesk Revit directly to a Z Corp. 3D printer. Not so long ago, Autodesk announced the release of a new STL Exporter utility for the Autodesk Revit 2009 (BIM) platform. Previously, when converting Revit files to STL format, third-party software was required.

This development underscores Autodesk's confidence in the future of 3D printing and its growing adoption as the process becomes more economical and efficient.

“3D physical models are becoming a significant part of the design process, offering visibility into the design and improved communication between designer and customer,” said Emil Kfouri, senior line manager at Autodesk AEC Solutions. - 3D models are necessary for our clients throughout the entire life cycle of the product, but above all during the search for a conceptual solution. The STL Exporter for the Revit platform has full support for Z Corporation devices, which make 3D printing not only incredibly fast and high quality, but also truly affordable. We are developing other interesting solutions for printing physical layouts on Z Corporation printers."

Kfowry also said he is confident in a bright future for 3D printing. “Most of the 3D models are printed so far only at the stage of conceptual development - during the study and design of the outlines of the future building. In addition, the physical layout appears at the final stage, when the project is presented to the public. In the future, I see 3D printing at all stages, when even the smallest changes are reflected in a separate layout and studied to make sure they are needed. I expect that color and textures will be more and more in demand in layouts - they make the model extremely visual."

The STL Exporter converter, which generates an STL file from a model created in Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Revit Structure and Autodesk Revit MEP products, is available for download on the Autodesk website (www.autodesk.ru).

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