3D printing has had an enormous impact on the evolution of architectural concepts in recent years. From the design phase to the construction phase, it’s a fast, efficient, and inexpensive solution. Useful for architects, city planners, and modellers, it lets you create mock-ups, prototypes, scale models of spare parts, and models of buildings. This technology is now so advanced that it’s possible to start printing at night and have a fully realized prototype the next day!Increasingly accessible, 3D printing is within everyone’s reach. Many companies offer unbeatable 3D printing services (online or in-store). However, it’s possible to purchase an affordable basic printer model at home.

What is 3D printing?

Based on the same principles as a conventional printer, 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that works by adding material in several successive layers. By superimposing all these thin slices, you obtain a real, three-dimensional object that can be made of plastic, metal, or many other materials. Its use is now quite widespread, and it’s very useful in the field of architectural concepts, since it lets you manufacture customized pieces. Very precise, it can also be used to create works of art.

It can reproduce details so small that it would be impossible to design them with regular machining techniques. 3D prints can be tiny (a few microns) or very large (several metres). Very realistic, 3D printing offers a very practical tangible dimension in the architectural field, since it lets clients visualize projects much more easily than with the methods that were available before. Indeed, being able to quickly present a wide range of realistic and professional models within the context of a bidding process will make a strong impression on the decision-makers of your project.

Powder bed and inkjet 3D printing

There are several different 3D printing technologies available, and different companies can offer you options based on the projects that you want to create. For example, powder bed and inkjet 3D printing is very efficient. Once the plan, drawing, or image in question has been approved and is ready to be printed, we then start printing the virtual object. The layers of the print are 0.1 mm thick and are made of a clumping powder. For each layer of powder deposited, a binding agent acts very precisely as a stopper and lets the project be created.

What does the finished product look like?

With the powder bed and inkjet printing technique, a high-quality material is often used: Visijet PXL. White and very similar to ceramic or plaster, the finish of the printed object will be impeccable and can withstand high temperatures. Very practical for prototypes, your product will be strong and can even be drilled, painted, sanded, or waxed.

If you’re passionate about architectural decor and you want to be on the cutting edge of technology, don’t hesitate to take a course or an introductory workshop on 3D printing. If you have a specific project in mind and you want to create it yourself, you can also choose a prototype development package or session, where you’ll be accompanied during all the different steps involved in creating it while learning more about this technology. Based on your drawings, sketches, or models, it will be possible to digitize and manufacture custom objects. Why hesitate? Let your imagination run wild and create your own architectural concept!