Desktop 3D printing, CNC, and laser combined in one stunning multi-material architectural model.
90% of professionals who own a 3D printer consider it as their competitive advantage. With up to 75% lower production costs, the technology enables them to focus on creativity and new ideas instead of struggling with the limitations of traditional production processes. Architecture design is among professions that benefit from 3D printing the most. Now multitool 3D printers give architects even wider possibilities to quickly design, prototype and present their ideas in a tangible way.
Adding multitool into the mix
Even the best 3D model or rendering won’t replace a physical model that can be touched and observed from various perspectives. These models materialize the vision and serve as a proof of concept that an idea can actually be built.
While there are dozens of ways to build an architectural model by hand, 3D printing is the fastest, most precise, easily repeatable, and cost-effective one. But even 3D printing has its material and technical limitations that now can be overcome by using a multitool machine like ZMorph 2.0 SX.
This desktop mini-factory enables combining single and multi-material 3D printing, CNC milling, laser cutting, and engraving. The architectural model presented in this article was designed and manufactured by Paula Szarejko using ZMorph 2.0 SX. It shows how a freelance designer, small architectural studio, or even a big company, can create a multi-material architectural model that’s both beautiful and useful.
Multi-material architectural model
Inspired by the works of Zaha Hadid and her project studio, Paula Szarejko designed a futuristic house and its surroundings. ZMorph 2.0 SX interchangeable toolheads gave her the ability to choose materials and manufacturing technologies that suited her ideas best. For example, she could 3D print the entire landform but decided that CNC-cutting it in plywood would have a much more organic and natural feel. Trees, on the other hand, were laser-cut in a paper for similar reasons.
The building was 3D printed using DUAL PRO extruder. This way it was possible to manufacture the entire model in one piece even though it’s built from two materials. Gray PLA was used for walls while translucent PLA imitates glass. Various 3D printing services would require you to prepare separate files to print this object in parts that you’d need to assemble later. ZMorph 2.0 SX allows you to shorten the production time and costs of 3D printing significantly while retaining a full control over the process.
Time saved while manufacturing this multi-material architectural model allowed the designer to pay more attention to details. Openwork garages were CNC-cut and assembled along the road, while the 3D printed terrace around the pools was covered with laser-cut floors. This combination of materials and digital fabrication techniques used within one model results with a truly stunning effect.
This project also proves that professionals using desktop machines like ZMorph 2.0 SX aren’t limited by its workspace. The house was printed in one part that took the entire worktable, while the land was cut in parts and assembled together into a scaled representation four times bigger than ZMorph’s working space.
How long does it take?
Time is always crucial, especially when you’re an aspiring professional who wants to amaze clients with out of the box solutions. Traditional model-making techniques can take weeks and even months before a physical representation of your idea is ready. 3D printing services offer much shorter lead times. You can get your objects within a few days or a week, depending on a number of objects, materials, and technology. Printing on your own machine would be even less expensive and time-consuming because outsourced objects still come in parts and require additional man-hours to assemble.
The multi-material architectural model showcased here took only 3 days to manufacture and assemble. 3D printing of the building took almost one day of this time, while CNC and laser works required only a few hours. Post-production, assembly, and adding a light under the building took more than a day. During this time, Paula had full control over the manufacturing process which allowed her to iterate and improve her design simultaneously.
Relatively short production time reduced the costs too. Ordering just one item from a 3D printing service could cost from 200$ to 2000$ (depending on the service and the material chosen). Paula managed to spend less than 200$ on the entire model! Even when we add the man-hours invested during three days of work, the overall costs make it a valid alternative to traditional model-making and 3D printing services. This way owning just one multitool 3D printer gives every professional a serious competitive advantage.
Multitool 3D printers for professionals
Manufacturing of every multi-material architectural model is now quicker and more cost-effective when using a multitool machine like ZMorph 2.0 SX. With a wide range of compatible materials and digital fabrication methods, you can go beyond single-material 3D printing and achieve results previously exclusive to hand-made models at a fraction of time and money.
Such high-quality architectural models will surely help in building your professional image, trigger a discussion with fellow architects, engage your clients, and ultimately enable you to transform your bold visions into reality.