3D Printed Architectural Models

Physical Models are a requirement for Sydney City Council and a number of other councils with some Development Applications (DA)

Architects, being one of the early adopters of this amazing technology, have used 3D printing due to its distinct advantages over traditional scale model production:

  1. Architectural Models can be printed within 2-5 days (after the 3D Model file is prepared). Traditional model making typically takes 4-6 weeks
  2. The cost of 3D Printing a DA model is significantly less than handmade models
  3. The models are very accurate and can capture a high level of detail

Architectural Models are typically produced for the following reasons:

At 3D Printing Studios, we produce:

Model Production Process

3D Printing Studios typically convert your existing full scale plans into a scaled down, 3D print-ready file. We use a process called “File Preparation” to produce the file. The input to this process is usually a .fbx or .3DS file produced from popular programs such as Autodesk Revit. However our software also supports over 30 different file types including Sketchup and Archicad files.

Once the file is print ready we then collaborate and work with you to determine the best and most suitable 3D Printing technology to use. In most cases we use Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) but we also use Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA) or a combination of these technologies. Once we have a printed model we optionally mount it in a presentation box, add landscaping or add other colour as required.

If you would prefer to discuss your options first, feel free to call, message, email, or drop by your local studio to chat to a 3D Printing staff member.

Some of the 1000's of Models we have produced

Once a 3D print-ready file is available we can provide an accurate quote for you. To give you a rough idea, models start from $500 for a 1:500 scale Sydney City Council Model, a 1:200 DA Model for Mosman Council would cost $1400. The costs are proportional to the size of the model and there may be other costs such as file preparation, landscaping or a presentation box

To get started 3D Printing Studios will need the plans. Plans are typically prepared in software such as Revit or Sketchup. These plans can be exported as a .FBX or .3DS file. If the plans have been scaled to the size required for 3D printing and an STL file can be produced from the software, then the costs are minimised otherwise the team will need to prepare the file for 3D Printing

File preparation is an important step in the process. Often the plans are prepared at full scale (1:1), when these are scaled for 3D Printing a model (e.g. 1:200), features such as the walls, windows, louvres, balcony supports etc become extremely thin (<2mm) and therefore they will not 3D print. If required 3D Printing Studios will utilise specialist software to scale these features so that the final model is as high quality as possible 

We sure can, we generally use a clear acrylic presentation box with a black base however other kinds of boxes are available if required. The cost for the presentation box depends on the size of the model and typically start at $200

If required we can provide landscaping such as trees, bushes and shrubs to the 3D Printed model. Landscaping improves the look of a model and adding landscaping results in the DA being approved more often

Once a 3D print-ready file is available the 3D Printing process is fast. We can typically print and prepare a model in less than 3 days. Additional time is required for file preparation, landscaping and for the production of presentation boxes so we recommend you allow at least 10 business days to ensure the process is not rushed

For basic DA models we 3D Print using polymers such as ABS and Nylon. For marketing models we may introduce a range of other materials such as Acrylic, Glass, Wood and Metal as these materials provide a more visually appealing and realistic finish

To print a simple DA model yourself using a basic 3D Printer (costing less than $20k) will require you to spend over 50 hours and the result will likely be of low quality and may be rejected by the council.

3D Printing Studios has over 15 years experience using the various 3D technologies to produce DA and Marketing architectural models and we utilise 3D Printers that cost over $500k each. Our investment results in the highest quality models available and a smoother DA process for you and the council

Tell us about your Architectural Model Project