- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 17 Aug 2017
Printing 3D models of buildings
Professions such as architects, landscape designers and other property experts used to rely on time-consuming, sometimes cumbersome techniques to create small-scale models of buildings. Now there is a more efficient option: the 3D printer. These devices can rapidly create accurate, fully-functional models of any almost any aspect of the built environment.
To get the best results, these simple steps should be followed.
 Consider the building qualities
Before beginning printing, it is important to think about the characteristics of the structure that will be replicated. In particular consideration should be given to:
- The required size of the model.
- Important external features.
- Visual details of the interior.
- Important colours and patterns.
It is only by recording as many of the significant details as possible, that the final 3D model will accurately represent the original vision.
- The dimensions will be more accurate.
- It is possible to make adjustments more easily.
- The image can be viewed from all angles.
There are printing specialists that can help with this if necessary. Being involved in this stage can make their own job easier in the long run.
 Find a suitable printing specialist
- A fully-equipped, modern workshop.
- Prototyping, engineering and design capabilities.
- An experienced, professional team.
- A keen eye for detail on all projects.
It is important to research which 3D printing specialists will be able to take on the project in a rapid, efficient and affordable way, producing an accurate scale model that properly replicates all the characteristics of the property.
 Choose an appropriate method
Lastly, it is necessary to work with the chosen 3D printing specialist to determine exactly how to create the model. While they will certainly use the 3D printers they have in their workshops, they may also suggest the following techniques for certain parts:
- Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining.
- Hand crafting.
It is also important to think about how to finish the model. For example, what colours will be used, will it be necessary to sand or polish the model and so on.
--Blueprint4d 03:21, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 3D concrete printer.
- 3D printed bridge.
- 3D printing
- Building information modelling.
- Computer aided design.
- Computer aided manufacturing.
- How can drones transform construction processes?
- Modular buildings.
- Off-site prefabrication of buildings: A guide to connection choices.
- Rapid prototyping.
Featured articles and news
New BRE book considers the progression from project-based knowledge creation to whole-life urban knowledge management.
This CIOB article explores the concept of value in building design and construction.
BREEAM and Measurabl announce integration to improve the financial performance of commercial real estate.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' release new images of soon-to-open 3WTC tower in New York.
A document can be called a bond or a guarantee. Does the name matter and what is the difference between them?
New briefing note is launched focusing on increasing knowledge of housing that promotes health and wellbeing.
Arbitration is a private, contractual form of dispute resolution used in the construction industry.
The European Parliament has approved a revised Energy Performance of Buildings directive.
One in six MPs supports the ring-fencing of retentions as proposed in the 'Aldous Bill'.
A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in the process or outcome of a construction project.
BRE launches online self-assessment tool for ethical labour sourcing.