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The 3D-press in design works
How much digital model of a building has made more effective designing, so and the 3D-press of breadboard models has given to possibility business of which it was necessary to dream only earlier.

Digital 3D-modelling (BIM) is used today by half of architectural companies of the world, and that occurrence BIM has made the present revolution, already very few people argues. Architects at last have received a trouble-free way quickly, clearly, visually and precisely to inform the ideas to the customer.

Has come to master time innovative technology of presentation of physical model. The physical model where is fuller, than the picture on the monitor, allows the customer to understand and experience an architectural plan. Both models are necessary also to the architect: the digital 3D-model is required for the analysis of components of the project, and physical – for an effective estimation of details and scale. It is even more important that the physical model allows architects to speak in language, clear to the customer, – even to the farthest from architecture. The client has an opportunity to estimate the project at emotional level, to apprehend it taking into account all subtleties.

Art of manual manufacturing of architectural models, certainly, deserves all respect, but it is so labour-consuming that creation of similar model in itself turns to the separate project. At first architectural drawings are transferred to the manufacturer of model who embodies the general concept in a material. It occupies from two about four weeks. If the project has safely passed coordination, the breadboard model is finished without essential changes. If is not present, the architect should make to the project of change and to represent to the customer on the coordination a new variant of model. Happens that process of manufacturing of a physical breadboard model is stretched for months, breaks terms and threatens destiny of all project.

In quickly varying world of digital modelling to rely on manual manufacturing of the approached models – old-fashioned and expensive pleasure. And if breadboard model manufacturing is fast, inexpensive and more exact? Only present, what possibilities open! The same 3D-model could be used directly in working process … company Z Corporation 3D-printers allow to embody these dreams in a reality.

Model of reconstruction of factory in Kaliningrad, it is printed on Spectrum z51 (company Ramboll Group)
Model of reconstruction of factory in Kaliningrad, it is printed on Spectrum z51 (company Ramboll Group)

Let's consider the basic advantage of 3D-printers at performance of design works.

When in the market there was the first 3D-printer Z Corporation, allowing to print 3D-physical models, it has brought with itself(himself) weight of new possibilities. More not constrained in high cost and dimensions of cars for creation of prototypes, designers suddenly could dare use regularly evident 3D-breadboard models at the earliest stages of the project.

Company Morphosis, the winner of the architectural award of Volume of Main, got used to work only with the advanced technologies, was among the first who has introduced at itself(himself) the 3D-press. IT Director Morphosis of Marti Doscher tells about company headquarters in the city of Eugene, the State of Oregon: “Here at us costs two 3D-printers, and any project from first day at once goes in 3D”.

Perhaps the Volume also does pair of sketches on a paper, but all other work is carried out in 3D-space, and on all its extent the set of 3D-prints becomes.

Building model, it is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus
Building model, it is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus

Let's consider examples of successful application of the 3D-printer at performance of design works.

“The human brain works in three dimensions instead of two” – explains the owner of the architectural bureau iKix R. Partasarati, – “Architects and contractors relied centuries on 2D-drawings. But exact these drawings would be what, always there is a danger that the customer will interpret them incorrectly”.

As an example it results recent history with an inhabited complex in hundreds structures. The client remained is quite happy with drawings, but, hardly having seen a 3D-breadboard model, at once was disturbed by too dense placing of buildings. To dilute this heap, the architect had to place pool and a fitness studio in the center of a complex. It is possible to guess only, in what the overdue decision of this problem would manage to the customer – we will tell, when half of complex would be already constructed … 3D-breadboard model Presence has saved to the architect a lot of time, and the customer has relieved of huge expenses on changes in already under construction complex...

Company Jerde Partnership has bought printers ZPrinter 310 Plus and now uses them by working out of any project – from a skyscraper to a booth. Possibility of the 3D-press in office conditions allows to make breadboard models very quickly, and, besides, to create such models, to do which manually would be simply inexpedient.

After all week after acquisition printer ZPrinter 310 Plus has helped to win competition on which Jerde Partnership has presented the project of a coastal landscape to San Diego. The detailed physical model has demonstrated, as project Jerde improves landscape outlines, keeping its general style. Al Vaas, the assistant to the vice-president and the main designer of the project, says that creation of the same breadboard model manually would demand week efforts of the whole command of experts. And by means of ZPrinter 310 Plus the breadboard model has been unpacked all for half-day. “than the project is more detailed worked, the it is more difficult, the more advantages gives the 3D-press” – notices Vaas. Also adds that application of 3D-printers gives about double growth of productivity.

Model of architecturally-landscape design in San Diego, it is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus (company The Jerde Partnership)
Model of architecturally-landscape design on тендору a coastal line in San Diego, it is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus (company The Jerde Partnership)

Let's consider the mechanism of work of 3D-printers.

3D-printers Z Corporation work with files of the formats used in BIM, forming 3D-physical breadboard models of composit powder plaster.

The model received from such programs as Autodesk Revit or Autodesk 3ds Max, program Z Corp cuts on thousand horizontal layers. Then the printing head of the printer makes thousand passes through a powder, leaving on points of intersection liquid binding substance. There, where this substance adjoins to a powder, that quickly stiffens. Thus, printing with vertical speed about one inch at an o'clock, the printer puts a material a layer behind a layer and creates a ready breadboard model from powder plaster.

3D-printers Z Corp are unique: only they are able to do models in colour. Any other technology of creation of 3D-breadboard models does not assume such possibility. Besides, it is possible to put a drawing on model and photos even more to strengthen similarity to the original.

Software Z Corp allows not to be limited to the sizes of area of construction. The building breadboard model can be divided into parts, and program ZEdit Pro will automatically add to them hairpins and apertures for the subsequent assemblage practically flush.

Hotel model, it is printed on ZPrinter 450
Hotel model, it is printed on ZPrinter 450

Let's consider an economy estimation at application of 3D-printers in design works.

While the price of the breadboard model made manually, can reach several thousand dollars, the price of the same breadboard model which has been unpacked on the 3D-printer of company Z Corporation, makes only 2-3 dollars for cubic inch.

“At performance of average and big projects expenses on breadboard model manufacturing pay off practically at once, – the vice-president of department of development Z Corporation Scott Harmon speaks. – Frequently also the device very quickly pays off: if, for example, at the earliest stage of the project thanks to model it was possible to find out a serious error or the company became the winner of the tender, having presented the project in the most advantageous light. Thus that manufacturing of building breadboard models on 3D-printers – rather new direction, the majority of our clients – architects: they receive return from the printer since the very first day of work”.

The architecturally-landscape breadboard model of the airport, it is printed on ZPrinter 450
The architecturally-landscape breadboard model of the airport, it is printed on ZPrinter 450

Let's consider increase in speed and scalability at performance of design works by means of 3D-printers.

There, where it was necessary to wait for manufacturing of a breadboard model of the average sizes weeks, the 3D-printer will consult less than for 12 hours. Jet 3D-printers Z Corporation do not smoke, make a minimum of a waste, and the material which has remained unfinished in the course of the press, is suitable for the further application. Printers print with the permission to 600 dpi, scrupulously reproducing the smallest details of a surface.

Ruler Z Corp includes black-and-white printer ZPrinter 310 Plus and three colour devices: ZPrinter 450, Spectrum Z510 and allowing to print with high permission ZPrinter 650.

“The devices offered by other manufacturers, do not allow to form set of breadboard models simultaneously: it is impossible to print models one over another” – Scott Harmon speaks. – Printers Z Corp allow to print so much breadboard models, how many they will physically go in in the field of construction, – thanks to a thin layer of a powder between them”.

Not so long ago company Realization Group was once again convinced of advantages of a mass press on printers Z Corp. When its office in the city of Koral-Gejbls, the State of Florida, has ordered 100 copies of a breadboard model for the marketing purposes, Realization Group could execute the order of all for two days – exclusively thanks to possibility of the simultaneous press of several copies lost-free in accuracy, quality and reliability. Along with the advantages, concerning speed and availability, the 3D-printer represents special value for beginning architects. 3D-press application at an early design stage allows to type quickly precious experience, protecting both the architect, and customers from the expensive errors caused by a lack of experience.

Thanks to 3D-printers of company Z Corporation forming architectural breadboard models much cheaper and faster of a manual way, the 3D-press can be applied now at early design stages that raises efficiency of all process. As digital modelling BIM reduces the price and does by more effective designing, and 3D-breadboard models created at a stage of study of the project, help to realise better its concept, to avoid errors and to provide business by possibilities of which it was necessary to dream only earlier.

The breadboard model is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus (company The Realization Group)
The breadboard model is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus (company The Realization Group)

Let's consider advantages of performance of design works by means of the 3D-press.

Throughout all twenty years of work in sphere of computer designing “The school desk” R. Partasarati meets the new client the same question: “we can solve What problem for you?”

The usual answer sounds so: “to Accelerate advancement of our product on the market”.

With reference to architecture of Partasarati has found out that two principal causes of delays are reduced to insufficient theoretical study of the project and bad mutual understanding. Two years ago it has opened for itself(himself) the 3D-press – absolutely new technology considerably reducing time of designing. She allows to make exact 3D-physical model of a building and to make its important element of work of each designer. A school desk has seen in it fine possibility to improve mutual understanding between all involved in the project, to raise productivity and to exclude ruinous errors. So was born iKix – the service bureau of the architectural 3D-press first in India.

Before all building breadboard models were made manually. As this process takes away a lot of time and costs considerable money, architects do a breadboard model only at a finishing stage of the project, directly ahead of public presentation.

“The bureau iKix prints a 3D-breadboard model on the average for six-ten days, that is much faster the month necessary for manufacturing of a similar breadboard model manually, – the School desk speaks. – we will tell, a site breadboard model in 1000 acres – including houses, schools, churches, for a golf and other – we can make platforms for six weeks against five months of handwork. The time and financial economy becomes even more appreciable, when plans vary also a breadboard model it is necessary to correct hurriedly”.

iKix uses colour Spectrum Z510 from Z Corp. Possibilities of this printer allow the architect and the project head quickly to receive some copies of a breadboard model – on one for the architect, the customer, the general contractor, the subcontractor and the civil authorities. “the 3D-printer is already something more, than simply car for creation of prototypes, – speaks the School desk. – it really became one of tools of the developer. The 3D-press is a break which, I believe, will define the future of technical information interchange on the nearest years two hundred. Each project should be presented in 3D, and soon and will be. I am sincerely convinced that all architects will work in 3D. Clients iKix come here to embody in 3D-breadboard models all new and new projects. Advantages are indisputable”.

The school desk considers that objects of an infrastructure require physical breadboard models also. For example, when the authorities have conceived to construct the main outcome, it is necessary to plan the road traffic in all modes of its work. Presence of physical 3D-model simplifies the decision and this problem.

Model of the private house, it is printed on Spectrum z510
Model of the private house, it is printed on Spectrum z510

Let's consider advantage of presentation at 3D-press application at performance of design works in civil sector.

In a track record of Scandinavian consulting company Ramboll Group's ( – the restored monuments of architecture, amazing bridges, excellent roads and reliable municipal objects. Nevertheless, each new tender demands not only bright ideas, but also their bright representation – only so it is possible to count on success. It is one their reasons on which Ramboll has introduced at itself technology of the 3D-press. Ramboll works on the highly competitive international market, offering a full spectrum of consulting services in the field of an infrastructure, telecommunications, architecture, public health services, the oil and gas industry, power, protection of environment, an information technology and management.

Ramboll by right is proud of already realised design finds, on perspective clients offers under possible future orders more interest. The company searches for ways of the best representation of the ideas, and in this sphere of possibility of the 3D-press to overestimate difficultly.

From the very beginning the colour press was unconditional requirement Ramboll. It also has predetermined a choice: Ramboll has got 3D-printer Z Corporation Spectrum Z510 – unique for today the colour printer of the high permission.

Spectrum Z510 quickly forms volume architectural and engineering breadboard models – for smaller time and as a rule is much cheaper than a traditional manual way. Thanks to accurate colour detailed elaboration breadboard models transfer ideas of the project is better. And ability Spectrum Z510 to put on a structure surface does breadboard models realistic and entertainment that is especially important for infrastructural projects. For example, engineers Ramboll can put on a surface of a wall a bricklaying structure, and on landscape model – its real photo from height of the bird's flight.

New possibilities have considerably raised chances Ramboll. Soon after acquisition Spectrum Z510 the company has won the tender for designing of the large bridge at home, in Denmark.

The breadboard model has authentically displayed a special V-shaped emphasis which took less places and their classical analogues demanded less material, than. It has excellently transferred a concept highlight.

“It only one of examples when the colour 3D-press has helped to win the tender, – tells Zhita Monshizadeh, developer of CAD of division Ramboll on transport and an infrastructure. – and such examples at us already set. The 3D-press as anything else helps the customer to feel uniqueness of our projects, not to miss any of the ideas put in them. We create presentations which in colour and with a high definition represent possibilities Ramboll. Colour, clearness and structures – up to drawing of a stone laying on a wall – all it really makes indelible impression”.

Besides, the 3D-press saves means Ramboll. For example, recently, when the company needed a breadboard model of a 12-storeyed apartment house, has been counted up what to unpack colour model on the 3D-printer will manage three times more cheaply the order for manufacturing manually.

“The press of colour physical model practically does not demand efforts – provided that the scale is correctly chosen, – continues Zhita Monshizadeh. – If the project is executed in the program for 3D-designing, it it is quite enough to generate 3D-model. Sometimes the model should be optimised slightly, adjusting its scale to the printer permission, but in it, as a rule, there is nothing difficult. Problems arise at manual manufacturing of a breadboard model – when more likely, for example, the one and only small detail takes away a lot of time! In other words, the 3D-press encourages creativity and spatial thinking. At different stages of the project it is possible to do without ceremony listings of a breadboard model and to compare them”.

Model Grand Theater in the city of Baltimore, it is printed on ZPrinter 450
Model Grand Theater in the city of Baltimore, it is printed on ZPrinter 450

Let's consider features of use of 3D-breadboard models in presentations.

For Robina Lokharta, a deputy head and the production manager of company OBM International (, design projects which usually occupied many hours of discussions and demanded set of the decisions received by a trial and error method, now became the catalyst setting general dynamics.

All the matter is that not so long ago the company integrated the 3D-press into the productions. One of very important projects – building of new headquarters OBM International in the city of Koral-Gejbls. By means of the 3D-printer bought at Z Corporation, “I have made a breadboard model of a four-seater workplace with breakdown of components on a part that they then could be collected in different configurations, – Robin Lokhart speaks, – the command of designers has offered variants of the decision which can be combined, interchanging the position of components. It has relieved us of superfluous debate, has saved a lot of time and forces, and the main thing has allowed quickly and to come dynamically to the required decision. In addition and process of search has appeared extremely fascinating”.

OBM International has got 3D-printer Z Corp Spectrum Z510 in December, 2007. “now we use Z Corp Spectrum Z510 with all options, including the module of automatic clearing of the powder rests. In effect, we here have all set of devices for work with breadboard models which has gradually developed round the basic printer”.

Lokhart has noticed that the 3D-press has in the best way affected character of business OBM International: “Our level of mutual understanding with the customer simply amazes. The general mood of presentation instantly changes for the better, as soon as we give to the customer a breadboard model. Clients can conduct now discussion in well clear it planes, the model invariably impresses favourably, and the gratitude of clients is provided”. Earlier OBM International used for presentations traditional 2D-drawings, colour projections and videoclips. Designers applied a paper tracing-paper, manual sketches, CAD, 3D-visualisation and modelling. “all it was in our arsenal and all it imposes certain restrictions. When we do presentation for the customer not quite familiar with nuances of the given format, informative decreases, and it can negatively affect the made decision”. According to Robina Lokharta, company OBM International does 3D-breadboard models and for own needs: with a view of the critical analysis and a project estimation.

“Our document circulation is focused on universal application of physical breadboard models, – tells Lokhart. – At more and more active use of the 3D-printer it is possible to hope that quality of our projects will raise only. Besides this device became valid a highlight of all our architectural presentations”.

Model of architecturally-landscape design, it is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus (company The Realization Group)
Model of architecturally-landscape design, it is printed on ZPrinter 310 Plus (company The Realization Group)

Let's consider export from Autodesk Revit.

The escalating share of the 3D-press by working out of architectural projects has led to occurrence of the tool which has allowed users to load the STL-files imported from program Autodesk Revit, is direct on company Z Corp 3D-printer. Not so long ago company Autodesk declared release of new utility STL Exporter for platform Autodesk Revit 2009 (BIM). Before at converting of files Revit in a STL-format the foreign software was required.

This working out underlines confidence Autodesk of prospects of the 3D-press and it more and more a wide circulation in process of growth of profitability and efficiency of process.

“Physical 3D-models become a significant component of process of designing, suggesting to study visually the project and to improve mutual understanding between the designer and the customer, – tells Emil Kfouri, the senior linear manager Autodesk AEC Solutions. – 3D-breadboard models are necessary for our clients throughout all life cycle of a product, but first of all during search of the conceptual decision. In STL Exporter for platform Revit complete support of devices Z Corporation which have made the 3D-press not only improbably fast and qualitative, but also rather accessible is realised. We develop also other interesting decisions for the press of physical breadboard models on printers Z Corporation”.

Kfouri also has noticed that it is assured of the bright future of the 3D-press. “The majority of 3D-models are unpacked while only at a stage of conceptual study – at research and registration of outlines of the future building. Besides, the physical breadboard model appears at a finishing stage when the project is taken out on public. In the future I see the 3D-press at all stages when even when the smallest changes are reflected in a separate breadboard model and are studied to be convinced of their necessity. I expect that in breadboard models will be more and more claimed colour and structures – they do model extremely evident”.

Let's consider features of acquisition of the 3D-printer.

The correct choice of the 3D-printer is important now more than ever. Reasonably chosen 3D-printer considerably will accelerate process of iterative workings out.

Hard times – the strongest argument in favour of an investment of means in the 3D-press and possibilities given by it. The money spent for the 3D-printer, will bring strategic benefits not only in the remote prospect: efficiency of working out will raise, the exit of new production on the market will be accelerated, and it will lead at once to decrease in costs. The dominating tendency in 3D-technology of CAD is use of the increasing number of models at early development cycles: it raises teamwork level over the project, and the found out errors are eliminated long before the manufacture beginning. In the scale workings out demanding gradual operational development (so-called “iterative workings out”), 3D-printers at quite comprehensible expenses allow to cut the general expenses on model.

There, where there are 3D-printers, they make the real revolution. Designers can embody the concepts in full color realistic models. Experts in marketing start product advancement even prior to the beginning of its manufacture. In certain cases the technology of 3D-modelling can be applied to small-scale release of samples. But, not to make the wrong choice, the expert, making the decision, should estimate not only a factor cost on 3D-printer acquisition, but also all the others – quite often they can decide destiny of purchase. It is even more important to find out in advance, than 3D-printers from each other differ, and on what parametres it is possible to compare devices of different manufacturers.

Let's consider starting expenses.

Among factors which are desirable for considering, – device cost, service within the first year of operation, an expense for the equipment for the subsequent processing and the possible additional equipment. Add to listed the starting complete set of account materials, expenses for installation and training, servicing within the second year of operation and further.

These expenses are not always obvious. Be careful “base” complete sets. What actually includes such complete set? Some manufacturers limit to its basic device, and, to receive full-function system (or, in certain cases, to realise certain functions), it is necessary to be spent for the additional equipment for preliminary or subsequent processing. Moreover, devices of some manufacturers show increased requirements to power consumption and operating conditions (for example, their work is connected with allocation of toxic evaporations and education of a chemical waste).

This or that postprocessing is necessary for production of any of 3D-printers, however ways of this processing are extremely various – including on complexity. When a product it is enough to blow in one business, for example, compressed air or to ship in water to wash off a dust, and absolutely another – when is a question of special devices and special cutting torches for removal of mechanical supports. Depending on the manufacturer of the car and its features the additional ventilating equipment or special racks only to establish the 3D-printer in position convenient for work can be necessary for you.

Let's consider expenses for account materials.

One more factor – cost of account materials It strongly varies depending on a kind of the processing, specific geometry of components and concrete application. For example, 3D-printer use at conceptual modelling demands on a course of completion of a new product to create set of details in a short space of time. As one materials are objectively more expensive than others, use of expensive materials will appear too costly. Besides expenses on materials, can arise and others – concerning process of manufacturing and first in any way not shown. By some cars simple, replaceable printing heads available on sale are used. Another the major components only from the manufacturer are required. Moreover, in this case additional materials for the structures supporting acting elements, and capacities with solvents are used. The starting complete set is frequently delivered together with the device, and the size and complete set structure considerably influence expenses within the first year of operation.

At an estimation of expenses for account materials define various components of these expenses. Objective parametre of comparison are expenses for unit of volume of a modelled detail it it is more reliable than to compare expenses for a unit of weight of the made product. Estimate the future works really: requirements to account materials at modelling of components of a mobile phone, probably, will be others, than at modelling of an exhaust branch pipe or the pump case.

All types of 3D-printers use at work more material volume, than that remains in a ready detail, – a material undertakes with a stock. One systems provide a reuse of some or all account materials, others do not suppose any reuse. Such differences in the organisation of process of processing can lead in due course to a considerable difference in expenses for materials.

Some of the fulfilled account materials hardly give in to recycling or a reuse, others can be simply dangerous. All is additional expenses.

Let's consider working costs and economy.

The big contribution to an overall picture of costs brings time factor. On different devices time of performance of the same process can differ more than fivefold. The same concerns and to separate operations – one operations demand from the operator more quantity of actions, than others (including installation of parametres that influences planning of problems and necessity to involve qualified personnel).

Similar printers of two different manufacturers can form comparable products, however essentially differ on speed of work and production cost price.

The following article of possible economy of time and money – productivity of the device. As this term understand total amount of production which can be made in a definite time.

If to consider all necessary factors, including cost of purchase, service and delivery, and also productivity with which compared 3D-printers can provide, the considerable difference in the cost price of a detail and manufacturing time becomes obvious.

Let's consider expenses on services and servicing.

At last, it is required to estimate, in what the general will manage and routine maintenance, whether there is a guarantee and for what term it will be given, on what the guarantee extends, and on what – is not present.


Speaking short – just as, choosing the car, you look not only at its cost, but also on convenience, appearance, estimate reliability, consider the fuel expense, and purchase of the 3D-printer demands so careful approach. The reasonable investment of means in the 3D-printer will help you to lower expenses for working out of production and faster to advance a product on the market, and in the conditions of a rigid competition this huge advantage.

The most perspective for introduction 3D the press is the area of geoinformation systems where by means of the 3D-press probably as much as possible it is exact and with a minimum of errors to create relief cards of landscapes, districts, it is easy to spend architectural prototyping. Such 3D the model will be irreplaceable for presentation of various town-planning projects. 3D the press will give the chance to critics to reproduce shape of the ancient cities, separate monuments of art.

1. The 3D-press in architecture. – 2009 [ ws_20793.html]
2. The center of the volume press []
3. A management for the buyer of the 3D-printer. – 2009

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 03/23/2010

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