• 3D Printing In Architecture: Design Of The Future

    3D printing in Architecture has become an important technology in recent years. Architects were habituated to making models manually to visually convey the design. This process of manual model-making was consuming both time and energy. Thus, with the evolution of technology over the years, there are technologies such as 3D printing in architecture that are used for better detailing and presenting the design. 3D printing in architecture has proven to be the fastest technology to produce design ideas within no time with better precision and details. One can even mass produce various elements of the design within hours with the collaboration of softwares and the drawings. Thus, 3D printing in architecture is a technology that is very resourceful in the current scenario, where time is a crucial aspect of any design project.

    3D Printing In Architecture
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    To use such wonderful technology, one must understand its application and other characteristics. Hence, to know 3D printing in architecture, one must go through the following points:

    Also Check Out: 3d printing technology in architecture vagabonding in India

    What is 3D Printing?

    3D printing is a much easier procedure than one can even imagine. This process of layering materials to create physical items through a digital process is called 3D printing. Since it develops new products quickly and precisely, it has proved highly advantageous. The technology was invented in 1980 in Japan by Hideo Kodama while creating a quick prototype method. It was a layer-by-layer manufacturing method that used a photosensitive resin polymerized by UV radiation. Later, in 1988, Charles Hall developed the first SLA 3D printer that manufactured models with radiation, particles, or lasers.\

    This technology has evolved by experimenting with it for different purposes and designs. Today, the most popular 3D printing technologies for architectural models include Stereolithography (SLA), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Binder Jetting.

    One of the main goals of the 3D-printed architectural models is to simplify communication between the architects and the client rather than showing the design plans. 

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    Applications of 3D Printing

    3D printing finds its purpose in designing house layouts, building structures, and town and city planning. Also, 3D printing helps with the designs for bridges and dams that need scaled-down functional validation. The fact that one can create anything that they design instantaneously gives them an extreme prototyping capability. 

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: Freepik

    1. Converting Conceptual into Physical Reality

    Concepts are an important part of the architectural design process. They are developed by the architects in accordance with the instructions from the clients. Making these models manually will consume time and resources. Thus, 3D printing these models for communication is a better idea. 

    Image Credits: Freepik

    2. Speed Up Interior Design

    When architects spend time on the exteriors, more detail and accuracy are required in the interiors. 3D printing helps one to formulate the details and tiny parts of interior design within several hours. This will eventually speed up the whole design process. 

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: Freepik

    3. Developing New Ideas and Complex Geometries

    3D printing allows the building of commercial and residential projects physically in layers. This will help speed up the process and also make it more flexible. With 3D printing, architects can solve complex geometries and elevate their designs easily. Many firms use 3D printing to develop one floor at a time. 

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: Freepik

    4. Reducing Material Consumption and Wastage

    3D printing technology can be used to create structures using materials such as metal, wood, concrete, and masonry. The curtailed construction cost can be reduced by 3D printing structures using rice waste and raw earth. They can make the buildings eco-friendly by facilitating natural ventilation and thermal insulation without using expensive materials. 

    Image Credits: Freepik

    5. Getting Freedom to Design

    3D printing allows one to experiment with various forms and patterns. They can evaluate and fine-tune various versions of the concept model on demand. 3D printing keeps exclusive models precise and realistic by eliminating human errors. 

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: Freepik

    6. 3D Printing Structures End-to-End

    3D printing enables firms to build houses from foundations to roofs. But still, humans need to install windows, wiring, and plumbing. More and more firms are using 3D printers to reduce the cost and time of building structures with complex geometries.

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: Freepik

    7. Advanced 3D Printing

    To reduce time and construction costs for building large and complex structures, advanced 3D printing is studied. There will soon be 3D printing that will facilitate the design of commercial buildings and bridges in a few hours. 

    Image Credits: Freepik

    8. Construction Automation

    Some firms use autonomous machines and custom robotic solutions to implement automation in construction. Combining 3D printing with custom robotic solutions, artificial intelligence automation can be added to any construction. 3D printers can reduce overall construction time and cost by producing internal walls, fixtures, and floorboards simultaneously.

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: Freepik

    Along with the use and application of 3D printing in architecture, one must also know and be aware of its pros and cons that will affect any design process. 

    Pros of the 3D printing in architecture

    1. Better Production

    Imagine making huge design models within shorter periods; this will always boost the energies one suppresses in designing. Besides requiring less time, it also guarantees enhanced product quality by eliminating human errors throughout the design, development, and manufacturing processes. 

    2. Cutting Down on the wastage

    3D printing facilitates the models for the design by smartly reducing the material waste caused during the process. They can also make optimum use of recycled materials, thereby fusing functionality with efficiency. 

    Image Credits: Freepik

    3. Pitching to Client

    Clients want to visualize the whole design before the execution takes place. 3D printing enables one to see through the design in parts or in whole. This way there will be a better understanding of the design.

    4. Development of a High-Quality Landscape Prototype

    To produce a high-quality landscape prototype for exteriors and interiors the 3D printing equipment can use different raw materials such as transparent resin, metal, and polyamide to deliver complex color objects. With the advanced 3D printer, the architects can print structural details as well as the interior element details with precision.

    Image Credits: Freepik

    5. Eco-Friendly Models

    3D printing has the advantage of building eco-friendly models as it uses recycled materials for production. Smaller or larger parts can also be printed where they are needed instead of being built elsewhere and transported to another place. As a result, the energy cost for transportation is immediately deducted. 

    6. Rapid Design and Manufacturing

    3D printing is less stringent than other fabrication technologies, which enables designers to produce parts easily in comparison to other technologies. 3D printing often produces parts with higher complexity and organic-style geometries more easily than other technologies. 

    Image Credits: Freepik

    Cons of 3D Printing

    1. Post Processing

    There are a lot of 3D-printed structures that need post-processing care, such as support removal, UV-light curing, sintering in a furnace, and even machining for high-tolerance features like bearing housings. 

    2. Copyright Issues

    As 3D printing can be easily accessible by anyone, the design models can be produced without the consent of the original designer. Due to the interne having millions of designs over it, any design can be copied and produced without the designer even being aware of it.

    3. Large Quantities

    3D printing is a low-to-medium process that can print large quantities but will take a longer amount of time. As it is a layer-by-layer process for 3D printing, it takes more time each time to print large quantities.

    Image Credits: Freepik

    4. Materials are Limited

    3D printing has a lot of material options, yet it lacks the ability to make models out of a lot of alloys and other materials that other technologies can use. This limits 3D printing to several materials that have been found to be compatible with the technology.

    5. Build Size Restrictions

    3D printing still has volumes smaller than large-scale manufacturing technologies like laser cutting, horizontal mills, and metal casting. As such, 3D printing is generally used for printing smaller-scale models more often. 

    6. Inaccuracies In Design

    There are times when there are inaccuracies found in 3D printing caused by the overlapping of layers due to errors. They still cannot achieve accuracy compared to high-quality CNC machines.

    The New Delft Blue Archway, Studio RAP

    Studio RAP is an architectural firm that innovates in the way it designs, builds, and manufactures. With a team of designers, engineers, programmers, and researchers, they harness their way through computational design and digital fabrication to produce architectural façade cladding and building concepts.

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: Dezeen

    The New Delft Blue is a glistening blue tunnelway that is a re-interpretation of the renowned decorative quality and design vocabulary of Delft Blue porcelain. It gives new insight into the architectural potential of ceramic ornamentation for the 21st century.

    TECHLA: A 3D printed global habitat for sustainable living

    Constructed using raw earth and multiple printers at the same time. TECLA is a project that gives a new eco-conscious perspective to buildings and new settlements. It was built with the concept of technology and clay by Mario Cucinella Architects. Crane Wasp, the enterprise, unifies the oldest material with the most cutting-edge technology to build the 3D-printed project. Due to the choice of materials, the model housing is carbon-neutral and adaptable to any climate or context. The project puts forward solutions to housing emergencies around the world, both in built metropolises and in instances of natural disasters and mass migration.

    3D Printing In Architecture
    Image Credits: ArchDaily

    Ceram Screens, Monisha Sridhara

    Monisha Sridhara is probing the architectural potential of perforated brick facades from the perspective of 3D printing. The project aims to determine the extent of extrusion-based additive manufacturing and the geometric limitations in place for perforated brick technology. Also, to know how 3D printing technologies can improve interior lighting, ventilation, privacy, and thermal comfort of a space. It is inspired by the historic ‘Jaali’ designs that manipulate sunlight, heat radiation, ventilation, and privacy. After continuous testing and refinement, the final prototype was assembled using cement mortar.

    3D Printing In Architecture
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    Looking at the use of 3D printing in architecture, one can say that the technologies can better drive the designs to a new level. The imaginations of the designers can be replicated easily within less time, using fewer resources for them to convey their ideas. 3D printing in architecture makes the design formulate itself flexibly with various options of materials. As the evolution and innovation continue for the technology day by day, it provides the designers with more facilities to procure the designs. As 3D printing in architecture grows along with its feasible cons, one can deliver more ideas in less time. 3D printing in architecture also benefits the environment by using recycled materials and reducing waste. Looking at the need and demand for fast execution and manufacturing 3D printing in architecture will become an aid for the design process in the near future.

    Content Writing And Research By: Ar. Rajeshwari Pandya Modi

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