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Four Benefits of Using 3D Printing in Architecture

Throughout history, there have been various technological innovations that have transformed how buildings are constructed. Over the last few decades, that speed of innovation and development appears to have been increased further, with various new ideas now being implemented across the world.

One recent innovation that looks like it’s here to stay is 3D printing. Coming into the public eye in the early 21st century, recent developments have meant that almost anything can now be produced quicker and cheaper with a 3D printer.

However, quick and cheap is not something associated with the great architects that have used this innovative tool to further their design capabilities! Here, we look at how architects are utilising 3D printing technology in their work, and the benefits it can provide the whole construction industry.

Modelling

Up to now, the primary use of 3D printers for architecture has been the creation of models and prototypes. While some companies are looking into the potential of building entire structures using 3D printing, this technology appears to be quite a way off yet!

While the creation of models may seem inconsequential to people outside the industry, in reality, it plays a huge role, and 3D printing could open up a wide range of benefits which filter through the entire construction process.

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Faster Concepts

There is a range of benefits that come from 3D printing, but one of the most obvious is its speed. 3D printing is often a much faster way of building quality models and prototypes, especially when you consider the other advantages associated with the technology.

Faster prototype constructions allow architects to spend more time designing the builds themselves. Furthermore, knowing that models can be produced quickly gives architects confidence, knowing a quick turnaround can be completed if required.

More Detailed Prototypes

Blue and yellow gears and cogs made from plastic by a 3D printer

3D printers are not just quick, however. They can also be incredibly precise, allowing for the creation of complex models that would be almost impossible (or, at best, incredibly time-consuming) to reproduce using another method.

A new level of detail accommodated by 3D printing allows architects to create models with more information than ever before. The most precise angles, edges and patterns can be showcased, which aids not only clients but also construction partners.

Beyond the building model itself, 3D printers have been used to build more realistic environments in which the prototype can be presented. Nowadays, entire districts can be showcased, quickly and effectively, through the use of 3D printing.

Increased Design Options

The above points all come together to produce an excellent working environment for the architect during a build’s design phase. A faster model construction process, combined with the added detail of 3D printing, creates a much broader range of options that the designer can explore.

The increased design options available through the use of 3D printing can vary depending on the nature of the build. Firstly, advancements in technology allow for different materials to be used to create the 3D model, which can assist with representing the final build. Also, time saved allows for the addition of added features not possible through 3D printing, such as lights and glass, within a quick timeframe.

Reduced Costs

A tall building being constructed with cranes and metal framework

Ultimately, one of the most significant sticking points with 3D printing in the past has been its costs. Regardless of how quickly 3D models can be produced, the nature of these items means that it cannot be overly expensive.

Thankfully, recent innovations in 3D printing mean the technology has become much more widespread, which has reduced its cost to architects. Nowadays, more and more people can access 3D printers, and we expect them to become more prevalent across construction over the coming years.

Here at ANY Weld, we like to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies across the construction industry. Our HYGI-Rail, a unique metal alloy handrail that reduces the spread of infectious diseases, is just the latest example of how we keep ahead of our competitors technologically. We are also one of the leading steel fabrication companies in the UK, providing our services on projects as diverse as home balconies to luxury apartments.

If you are interested in discovering more about what we do, why not get in contact with us? Alternatively, check out our recent blog on our work at London Southbank for more information.