Architects often use physical models of proposed developments to get the idea and concept across to various stakeholders including investors, planning departments and local residents. These models though are usually supplemented by a 3D model shown on screen with a video made directly from CAD files though. The reason for this is simply that though a 3D model takes a lot of time and expense to be made by usually a rapid prototyping service the level of detail is always limited and to really get the idea across and allow the detail of a design to be seen it needs to be shown on screen.
The 3D CAD files though already exist for these developments and contain all the detail needed and this combined with the latest 3D printers used by rapid prototyping service companies means that highly accurate models can now be printed directly from these files.
The level of detail on the 3D printed models of developments is incredible as the printers build up material by around a millimeter at a time. This level of detail if done by hand would be almost impossible for even the most skilled model makers. Even if the level of detail was possible following a 3D design perfectly is even more difficult with measurements of microns at a time being necessary to get everything in exactly the right position relative to each other.
With an arena project in Stockholm, Sweden there were of course a massive number of stakeholders involved. Even once the project had its go ahead it was necessary for the developers to market the arena as a venue and to attract sponsors and people to use the arena for events. For this a highly accurate model was needed to really give people an idea of what the arena would be like and a rapid prototyping service based on 3D printing was used.
The Arena model is to be used as the centerpiece for an information pavilion and at 1.2 meters square is will give visitors a chance to see the design up close and really view the details. The model included entirely accurate 4mm wide seats and showed accurately the structure of the arena including the roofing over the seating made to be column free.
Those working on the information pavilion project went to the rapid prototyping services and creative studio company WE DO where they worked with industrial designer Patrik Lindberg. Lindberg found that in order to deliver this level of detail 3D printing based rapid prototyping services were the only option and using the successful Z Printers made further sense. The Z Printer used was the 450 and its features meant that the model could be made quickly in color and for a price that compares very well to a hand made model. Although WE DO don’t only serve architecture firms they have found increasingly they are getting business from architects for models of both large and small developments and architects are rediscovering the power of a 3D model.