Is Additive manufacturing helping the architectural industry? If so, then how? This article may clear some doubts you may be having pertaining to 3D printing and its impact on the architectural sector.
Before additive manufacturing, architects used a variety of methods to display prototypes of their creative designs, doing their best to embrace and encompass the gamut of details for each component. The result, while relatively accurate, was often a parade of exhausted workers.
There’s no question as to why prototypes are a necessity — they not only help visualize the construction more easily, but also make it seem like a tangible reality. Prototypes are often in the forms of painstakingly complex blueprints. Whilst it is wonderful to have an understanding of the layout of the structure, details of factors such as exteriors, interiors, urban settings, etc. are frequently lost within the endless maze of lines. There have been and still are physical prototypes made of thermocol or matte cardboard. In this case, some details may still be retained, but the extensive design components tend to be missed. Not to mention the several hundred hours that architects slave over one prototype, from creating individual shells to piecing them all together to achieve the required result.
Of course, visual prototypes have made a significant dent in this industry as well. The ease with which one can create structures, inclusive of a range of details as well as the joint bonus of the ability to edit them as you please, design softwares have undoubtedly made an architect’s life more at ease. However, even this has proven to be insufficient. When a consumer looks at the prototype, they want the widespread range of details, the visible, easily comprehensible layout, and most importantly, tangible structure to aid in smooth visualization. In fact, isn’t this why prototypes were produced in the first place?
3D printing, the latest technology, has managed to achieve all of that and more. Enabling the magic of 3D design softwares, architects now have the endless freedom to create as they wish, without sweating over details and factors that they previously couldn’t erase or change. With softwares and a printer (machine) that creates the components for you, the design capabilities and liberation is almost boundless, allowing full creative control over the project aiding in translating a nebulous concept into a palpable construction. The time that was previously spent preoccupied over the minutiae of fabricating the prototype can now be spent creating or editing, or even better, doing nothing at all! The combined power of the software and printer will leave you with very little to do, allowing for more free time in investing your energy elsewhere.
Speaking of the printer, this technology produces high quality products as well as gives you control over a multitude of materials, each suiting a different need. But most importantly, to reiterate, the most salient advantage of the 3D printing in architecture is: One can easily edit, re-edit and print miniature models in multiple numbers with great precision, quality and within shorter lead-times.