Applications of 3D Printing in Architecture

Introduction

3D printing is having a transformative effect in the way that we explore our imagination with regard to architectural designs. The fact that we can create anything that we design instantaneously gives architects extreme prototyping capability.

Picture Depicts — A 3D generated model of a building

3D printing is used to design house lay outs, building structures, town and city planning. Bridges and Dams that would need a scaled down functional validation can be done with the help of 3d Printing as well.
3D printing has just begun to explore the possibilities in Architecture and we at Oxygen to Innovation (O2i Technologies) feel privileged in making this technology accessible to Architects and Civil Engineers.

Benefits of 3D Printing over existing technologies

As with any technology adoption, cost and convenience is a key factor and that’s where 3D printing scores above existing technologies. 3D printing can be used to produce a wide range of architectural models with high complexity which would have been impossible to visualize otherwise.

  1. Cost
    3D printing enables architects and designers to create low-cost 3D architectural models with a high level of precision.

2. Time
 
3D printing saves time in the early design and creation phases by reducing
 the lead-time for architectural model production and allowing quick tests 
 of concepts and iterations. Since you save time on building the model by
 hand, you can spend more time on developing different concepts of the
 model.

3. Ease of Use
 
The ease with which sketches can be transformed into models makes 3d
 Printing technology adoption extremely smooth.

4. Scale of Use
 
The best part is that no project is too large or too small; from developments,
 cityscapes, and commercial buildings, to homes interiors, and swimming
 pools.

5. Versatility

The Methodology

Step 1 — Cad Designing
Architectural CAD programs including AutoCAD, Revit and Sketchup have the capability of producing 3D compatible models. Once the 3D cad model is created it sliced in the form of layers where the accuracy and other parameters are defined.

Picture Depicts — With a 3D Printer it is a matter of having a good digital model and a slicing software that creates a .STL file and no design is impossible to create.

Step 2 — Printing
The next step is to print the object with the help of a 3D Printer depending on the application. For mock ups and scaled down versions, FDM based desktop printers are the appropriate choice. In case of functional testing SLS based printers are the preferred choice.
Depending upon the size and complexity of the model, it can take from minutes to hours in printing the whole model.

Step 3 — Post Processing
The final step is the post processing and finishing. Assembling, 
re-arrangement and color combination add life to the lay outs.

Our Contribution

We bring forward to you some of the projects that we have executed that would highlight our capability. It has been discussed out here for the benefit of the reader to explore more options in the field of Architecture and 3d Printing.

Oxygen To Innovation — Bringing ideas to life

Smart Urbanization Project

Picture Depicts — CAD designing done by the team at O2i Technologies

This project was handed to us by the Andhra Pradesh government, so that they can visualize the feasibility of houses that could be built on the uneven land of Andhra Pradesh.

We designed and 3D printed the scaled down models of these houses in order to determine the perfect sizes that would be appropriate for every plot. Also, the interiors of the house were thoroughly designed and 3D printed for realization. The purpose of 3D printing the interiors were to capture the perfect space utilization and also figure out the structure of the houses so the interiors could be completely optimized.

Picture Depicts — 3D Printed model of a plot made at O2i Technologies workstation
Picture Depicts — 3D Printer generated models of house interiors

Sharda University — Sector Planning Project

This ambitious project handed to us by Sharda university. They wanted to visualize an entire sector (small city) so that they can plan it in a optimum way, from determining the places fit for residential areas to planning where the roads would fit perfectly as well as planning of the traffic lights.

In order to make it appealing we made a scaled down version of the envisioned project.

Picture Depicts : A 3D model of a complete sector
Picture Depicts — Images of a 3D generated models of the Sharda University Project at O2i Technologies

Bridges

A bridge is a functional piece of civil construction and requires many functional tests. For a new comer in the field, mistakes can be very costly. Hence building functional scaled down version is necessary for investigating the functional capability of a structure. We have built many scaled down versions of Dams, Bridges and Skyscrapers for scaled down functional tests.

Conclusion
Oxygen To Innovation — Bringing ideas to life

On the whole at O2i Technologies we believe, 3D printing technology is a useful realization tool in architecture. We look forward to working with architects in sharing our knowledge, collaborating and executing projects.

We provide a range of services from conversion of 2D elevations into 3D CAD models and subsequently making them 3D Print Compatible. In case you have the 3D CAD data in Revit or AutoCad we can make them 3D Print compatible. Apart from providing the Visualization services we specialize in providing the 3D prints based on your requirements.

We look forward to discussing your application and your project. We are based in New Delhi ( India ) and provide cost effective services across the globe.