HOW TO GET THE BEST 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL MODELS

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HOW TO GET THE BEST 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL MODELS

On a regular basis we have people and companies from around Australia approach us to 3D print scale models of their buildings, developments and projects. The results are very impressive and we often get positive feedback from our clients including hotel developers in Brisbane pitching to investors, apartment planners in Sydney looking to better understand their space and an Architect in Melbourne who uses 3D Printing to show clients his plans and drawings. However there is usually more preparation that goes into these models than most but done properly you’ll be wowing your audience and giving them a real foundation to see the projects potential .

Below we’ll run through common issues and how to get a well priced robust model from your current full scale (1:1) CAD models.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR ADDITIVE MANUFACTURE

COST

The first step taken is usually for you to internally decide on a budget, as downstream this will affect the size of the models and therefore to what degree the files may need to be adjusted to account for small details.

As a guideline on 3D Printing costs:

  • A building printed at a size of 360 x 300 x 300mm will cost between $2,400 to $8,900 + GST
  • A building printed at a size 0f 250 x 200 x 200mm will cost between $1,200 to $2,700 + GST
  • A building printed at a size 0f 150 x 100 x 100mm will cost between $180 and $420 + GST

The reason for the variation in cost depends mainly on how much material your part will use, how much machine space it occupies and how risky it is to print. The larger the part the more this has an effect.

You can optimise the cost with the following techniques :

  • Hollow your building and any other thick enclosed parts out and remove the base, so you end up with a ‘shell’ of the buildings. This significantly reduces the amount of material used and therefore the cost.
  • Nest parts of the building in your file if possible.
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Large ISO
Large ISO Shell

SIZE/SCALE

With a budget in mind we can work out how to get the largest scale for your structure whilst coming in at/under cost. The size is one of the most important factors and is influenced by price, however other considerations are detail sizes, maximum printable size, orientation and likeliness to warp/deform due to thermal stress.

Min. Detail Sizes

In almost all architectural jobs we’ve done the original files need to be modified to account for details that become too small to print when scaled down from the full size. Anything under 1mm at printed size has a risk of being broken during the cleaning of the parts, so if something is 10mm thick full scale then at 1:10 scale it will be 1mm which is fine, though at 1:20, 1:100, 1:200 etc scale then this becomes undersize. The common workarounds to this are either to remove it all-together if they are ‘nice to have’ but not ‘need to have’ details, or to thicken/exaggerate the details at full size so that when they are scaled down they are thick enough to print.

Particular features to keep an eye on are stairs, balustrades and railings, pipes, windows etc.

Max. Printable Size

The largest we can print in one go is 340 x 340 x 580mm so the model will either need to be smaller than that or split into sections. If you are wanting to do a development for example try splitting it into lots.

 

SECTIONING AND SHELLING BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES

If a part is too large to print in one piece it’ll need to be sectioned into smaller pieces which can be printed and assembled afterwards.

It’s best to try avoid cutting the part on a uniform section where a join line will be obvious, aim to cut it somewhere more obscure or somewhere that will be covered by something else.

Shelling a model is an important step in aiding it’s printability, it will also help reduce cost. The idea of shelling something is basically to preserve the outward appearance of the building etc, though inside is completely hollow and featureless. If you do want interior detail like rooms, fittings, furniture etc then you can include this and an alternative is to have the roof separate so that you are not trapping large quantities of loose powder inside.

House Seperated

formZ Subd surfaces and 3D Printing

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formZ Subd surfaces and 3D Printing make a difference

 

formZ Subd surfaces and 3D Printing

Below is a webinar that demonstrates the power of formZ Subd surfaces and 3D Printing capabilities by walking you through a series of actual 3D printed projects modeled exclusively with subdivision tools and features. formZ is a unique 3D modelling tool with support for solid, surface, NURBS suffices and now Subd’s. It also offers an easy to use toolset and display that is available for both Mac OSX 7+ and Windows 7 /8 computers.

In this session you’ll experience:
• Powerful subdivision modeling and how it can be used in your project workflow.
• Seamless conversion of subdivision models to NURBS or Quad Meshes.
• How the inherent quad mesh personality of subdivision objects lends itself perfectly to 3D Printing.
• How converting your subdivision models to NURBS adds an additional layer of flexibility to your design capabilites.
• The advantage of minimal time involved with analyzing and prepping the model for 3D printing due to the subdivision personality.

 

formZ Pro 8 is available now from Smarttec or call +61 (0)2 9939 4000

 

 

 

 

Subdivision modelling and 3D printing

Google Sketchup Pro Competitor!

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bonzai3D powerful 3D modelling
bonzai3D powerful 3D modelling

Bonzai3d can be best described as SketchUp on steroids.  It takes the Google program and enhances it to the next level.  Bonzai3d is not a polygon based modeller, but has the ability to use surface NURBS (the organic form modelling).  It also has the ability to create renders, build complex NURB shapes, deformations (bulge, taper, twist, bend surfaces), smart interfacing, thicken surfaces (even if curved), print 3d models (this is uber cool), push/pull and has intelligent guides.

Google SketchUp’s advantage is that it has huge user coverage with its ability to load up models into a warehouse and onto GoogleEarth.  AutoDesSys have programmed their software to make advantage of this social library.  Bonzai3d can import and export skp files (SketchUp’s file extension) meaning the designer has complete accessibilty to the SketchUp warehouse.

Bonzai3d was released in July 2009 and probably slipped under the radar of most users and for its power and ease of use should be used more widely.  The push/pull tool is exactly the same as Google’s but has the added bonus to creating more complex shapes by using a thicken tool and then it can render realistically!  The great thing is if you are a SketchUp user in the past then learning Bonzai3d is a very easy cross-over.  You can attend webinars or can sign-up to or watch a replay online.  These webinars are a great way to pick up tips and tricks from the makers of the program and ask them questions.

Download the trial version onto your Mac or PC  and see what you think.  Once you have trialled Bonzai3d after downloading it for FREE  for up to 30 days  we are sure you’ll want to keep it.

As such we are offering a special Purchase discount  coupon (B3DWP) that can be used for a 15% discount off all new bonzai3D purchases online  here at Smarttec.com.au.

I would love to know what you think, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me.

Top 10 reasons to purchase:

1. bonzai3d offers EASY SCULPTING
2. bonzai3d offers a FLUID, POWERFUL and SMART INTERFACE
3. bonzai3d offers CLASSIC MODELLING TOOLS with REAL TIME DYNAMIC EDITING
4. bonzai3d offers DEFORMATIONS that work on any solid or surface
5. bonzai3d offers SPECIALTY TOOLS peppered throughout the application
6. bonzai3d offers an expandable CONTENT LIBRARY able to import .skp models
7. bonzai3d PLAYS WELL WITH OTHER programs 16 import file formats & 13 export file formats
8. bonzai3d offers ADVANCED REAL-TIME RENDERING
9. bonzai3d offers the MATCH VIEW TOOL
10. bonzai3d offers NURBS based ORGANIC FORM modelling
Bonzai3d also includes FREE EMBEDDED VIDEO TUTORIALS making learning easy!

3D UP Printer

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UP! 3D Printer  can print Amazingly accurate ( 0.2mm tolerance ) and strong 3D models directly from your Windows or Mac computer models using 3D UP Printer in ABS plastic in sizes up to 135mm x 135mm x 125mm.

These parts have 30% the strength of injection moulded objects but done easily by DIY. Learn to design and test with our easy to use 3D packages such as formZ and bonzai3D as this printer we can supply comes with it’s own control software for windows or mac that imports any well formed .stl file format models.

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