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How can I scale my architectural 3D printings?

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How big is possible to print something in 3D? And is big really better? The reason behind everyone thinking big is better is that it is:

  1. More impressive
  2. Easier to see

It’s just more communicative. After all, an architectural 3D printing machine is a tool useful to communicate the design of the idea developed by an architect to the client. Your client is key when deciding how to scale your print. If you already know the reason why you will be 3D printing a piece and exactly who will be receiving the piece, it’s a matter of translating these intents into every part of the 3D print process, and this includes the scaling.

If you are delivering your piece for legal reasons to a governing body, as indeed we frequently do, it will be likely that they will have a concrete scale in place that you will need to adhere to. For instance, if you are going to be providing a building for a specific scale model with certain needs, you will need to meet certain requirements that might look like something like the below:

  • A scale of 1:500
  • 150 metres of site context in case there are 8 or below floors
  • 250 metres of site context in case there are more than 8 floors

Or something along these lines. When working for a client, there is normally more freedom in what scale you may choose.

The first thing that need to consider is the amount of time you have available. It obviously takes more time to print a larger model as opposed to a smaller model, which can be done in just a few hours. Most software applications will tell you the expected amount of time it will require to print what you want, so take this into account. Unless you have an really limited time-frame, it’s always a good idea to leave a few extra hours of time to allow for incorrect ETAs.

Another thing to consider should be how detailed the model will be. The higher the detail level, the higher the size of the model. The model needs to properly represent the details of the print without seeming too chunky, which may happen with under-detailed models.

Another thing that requires consideration is the accuracy of the finalised product. When you utilise your printing software, you can pick the print’s layer height, which is its resolution. The lower the layer height, the less you can see it was made by piling layers on top of each other. Having a smaller layer height will help to communicate minor details, and it actually looks more professional.

One other factor to keep in mind is the size of your 3D printer. 3D printers do not have infinite range, and even though you can cut your print up and print it, the pieces will need to stay inside the boundaries. You can always find a 3D printing provider who can offer you printing services if your own printer is not large enough, and then go ahead and visit apartamentos en San Sebastian afterwards.

Keeping all these things in mind, it is always a good idea to aim for a common architectural scale. This will help people who are familiar with scales be aware what size they are dealing with; it’s easier to say that the building is at 1:100 than at 1:104.7 obviously. If it is close, and you are totally sure that it will fit within your printer, adapting to one of these scales makes it much easier to communicate your design to other people. But be wary with making the design slightly larger to fit one of these scales: ultimately it fitting inside the printer is much more important!



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