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Architectural Scale Model

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Architectural Scale Model


Challenge: Clean TeQ is a leader in metals recovery and industrial water treatment.  As part of their water treatment plant proposal, Clean TeQ required more than just computer renderings to communicate their waste water treatment plans.

To assist in their design proposal the team reached out to locally based additive manufacturing bureau, GoProto ANZ, to supply a scaled 3D print architectural model.

Traditionally, Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing has been the most preferred method of creating scaled models, offering fine detail reproduction using epoxy-based material.  However, this process requires high levels of post-processing to remove support structures.  It also needs special care when transported, due to the brittle nature of epoxy resins.

Solution: After evaluating the CAD, the team decided HP’s Multi Jet Fusion printing process would be able to provide a durable model capable of replicating the fine details and smooth finish suitable for painting.

With architectural CAD software usually the biggest bottleneck in getting from a drawing to a printable 3D model.  Care was taken to ensure all features would successfully replicate.  For CleanTeQ’s project, some sections were dimensionally adjusted, such as stairwells, pipes and railings so they’d successfully replicate in the 3D printing process.

Once printed, it was just a matter of removing the excess nylon powder with an air gun.  It’s at this stage MJF 3D print process saved a lot of time, as architectural models are generally very detailed.  Kathryn Hay, Technical Sales Specialist at GoProto says, “if we’d printed this model in SLA it would have been rather difficult removing the support structures and sanding all the surfaces to a smooth finish. MJF parts are naturally fairly smooth and allowed us to move onto painting the model fairly quickly”.

Result:  While 3D printing buildings and architecture designs can create challenges of scale, GoProto’s decades of experience meant the team was able to assist Clean TeQ with pre-print files and print a model that could easily be transported from place to place without risk of damage.  Using MJF technology had the advantage of creating complex, robust models with a smooth finish, eliminating the need to hand finish with sandpaper.

For Clean TeQ, when it comes to a project proposal, a 3D print model helped their customer visualise the end result and engage at an earlier stage of the planning process.