Toronto-based architectural modelling firm, Peter McCann Architectural
Models Inc. (PMAMI) chose a Dimension 3D printer to execute a challenging
modelling project for Masdar Headquarters, the world’s first large-scale
positive energy building located in Abu Dhabi.
PMAMI specialises in replicating some of the world’s tallest and most
notable buildings on a one-hundredth scale prior to construction. Architectural
modelling requires high-level craftsmanship and attention to detail. Their
latest architectural modelling project involved an amorphous shape, which
always presented the biggest challenge as it was difficult to model by hand to
the required level of precision, according to PMAMI manager Josh Coulas.
Prior to purchasing the Dimension 3D printer, PMAMI steered clear of 3D
printing technology because it was not yet capable of producing a product to
their standards. Instead, the firm used CNC machines or created parts by hand.
When chosen to construct the architectural model for Masdar
Headquarters, PMAMI began the search for a tool that would meet the project’s
standards requirements and time constraints.
Coulas was impressed with the Dimension 3D printer, which presented a
huge advantage by using ABS plastic over the more conventional powder. He was
also happy working with the Dimension reseller Cimetrix. The high resolution
and strong outputs of ABS plastic were crucial factors in the printer as PMAMI
needed the ability to fuse pieces together, which ABS allowed.
PMAMI was hired by Chicago-based Smith+Gill Architects to create a large
model of Masdar Headquarters, the world’s first large-scale positive energy
building that generates more energy than it consumes. Masdar City, where Masdar
Headquarters is located, is a carbon-neutral, zero-waste development under
construction in the southeast corner of Abu Dhabi.
The architecture for the model included multiple helix shapes that
needed to be both precise and strong because they were structural. Given a
couple of months to complete the project, PMAMI purchased the printer to
accomplish the modelling work on time. The 3D printer was used by Coulas and
his team to create a dozen conical structural voids supporting a free-flowing
roof for the Masdar Headquarters model.
PMAMI has been using the Dimension 3D printer to create anything from
miniature furniture to moulds for intricate pieces of the Salt Lake Temple in
Utah. Some of the time-saving benefits of the printer include the firm’s
ability to create a library of reusable designs. Coulas explains that when they
work with repetitive pieces, they simply print one as a mould, cast it and then
use the cast to injection-mould the rest, speeding up the process.
Since purchasing the Dimension 3D printer over two years ago, PMAMI has
used it on countless projects, and Coulas and his team can’t imagine working
without it. He adds that the printer has given them the ability to create
unorthodox shapes to an exacting degree of accuracy.
A leading manufacturer of 3D printing equipment and materials, Stratasys
helps architectural firms seize more opportunities by creating complex, durable
models in-house, directly from CAD data.