An architectural model is a type of scaled model - a physical representation of a structure - built to study aspects of an architectural design or to communicate design ideas. Depending on the purpose, models can be made from a variety of materials, including blocks, paper, and wood, and at a variety of scales. Presentation models can be used to exhibit, visualise or sell a final design. A model are also used as show pieces, for instance as a feature in the reception of a building, or as part of a museum exhibition such as scale replicas of historical buildings.
Most contemporary architectural models are manufactured using solid block materials like plastic, foam, and wood or fabricated using purchased sheets of board stock, such as cardboard. A variety of these materials are used to convey the design ideologies in a clear manner to prospective clients.
Manual model making can sometimes be limited by complex geometries leading to long lead times and exorbitant costs. Also conventional model making needs the support of a variety of manufacturing processes all of which add up to the time and cost for making the said models.
This is where 3D printing plays a ground breaking role. A few processes such as FDM, SLA and SLS can be used to create almost any geometry imaginable in any colour and texture variations imagined by the architect. Conventionally, to vary the texture of the models different materials had to be employed. With 3D printing this can be done in the same material and process by just varying a few parameters. That is the true power of 3D printing. All of this can be done in matter of hours. Even the minutest details which are difficult to replicate in conventional model making can be easily fabricated with 3D printing even at a micro scale.
Gensler India Pvt Ltd based out of Bangalore needed block models made out of different colours for their plan pitch to be made in 2 days. That’s when they discovered 3D printing. With FDM process, all of their block models and floor plans were made and painted in a span of 34 hours at a small cost.
Some sample images of different buildings and floor plans with the help of 3D printing are as follows: