Do you recall a few years back when 3D printing was about to change the way architects work? When every architect and designer was going to have their own 3D printer at their office, maybe even one for the home?

Well it’s now a few years later and these predictions were far from right. So what happened?

While there has been no doubting the capability of 3D printers to produce amazingly detailed physical models, much scepticism has surrounded their place in the architectural realm. “Slow” and “expensive” are two things that come up often in conversations surrounding 3D printers. In an industry ruled by tight budgets and even tighter deadlines, any technology that is considered slow and expensive will always have a hard time being accepted. And these criticisms do hold some truth.

Many manufacturers of 3D printers, especially some of the earlier models, didn’t live up to the hype. They were expensive and they were slow. And beyond that the detail and quality of the models were nothing like the amazing creations people had seen on architectural and technology blogs throughout the web. And so Australian architects cooled on the idea of 3D printing, and the renaissance of the physical model was over before it had even begun.

Then something interesting started to happen. Many of the fly-by-night manufacturers started to fall by the way side. Industry leaders in 3D printing such as Stratasys began to show people the true potential of 3D printing. The overall quality of the printers improved. They became more affordable. The reputation of 3D printing for architectural models was slowly being restored to the point where many of the most celebrate and progressive architectural firms in the world began to see the unparalleled benefits of 3D printing.

Benefits such as the ability to create models in-house directly from CAD data helps to save on costs, turn-around time and guarantees complete confidentiality of the designs. And while fly-through animations are an effective way of conveying the appearance of a project, there is no substitute to a tangible model for designers and clients alike to get a true visualisation of a project.

So as companies like Stratasys continue to push the boundaries of 3D printing technology and more architects start to realise the multiple benefits associated, the predictions from before look more likely to come to fruition as 3D printing finally starts to change the way architects work.

Click here to find out more about 3D Printing solutions for Architects from Stratasys