Communicate ideas; act on inspiration
3D printing lets engineers and designers glimpse the future by turning an idea into a one-off finished product within hours or days. With in-house concept modeling, you can prove out your next big inspiration, incorporate improvements early, get a jump on marketing activities, and filter out failures before they become costly.
Find your concept modeling application
3D printed housing for a video game controller, curvy with cavities Concept modeling lets small design and engineering firms extend their reach by testing out more ideas and developing only the right projects.
For large companies, concept modeling within departments — or even in individual cubicles — is a way to hone ideas before presenting them to superiors. 3D printed concept models are valuable communication tools, conveying ideas to colleagues, clients and marketers in a way that a computer model never could.
Stratasys FDM Technology provides affordable, durable concept models in production-grade thermoplastics. Office–friendly FDM 3D Printers turn out small models in hours and large models in days. FDM concept models can be drilled, sanded or painted if desired.
Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing technology produces the most realistic models of any 3D printing process. You can incorporate multiple materials into one automated build to create models that look and feel like finished products, with fine details, smooth surfaces, rigid housings, soft-touch buttons, lettering, rubberlike seals and even clear components.
Marketing and Design
Because 3D printing architectural models offers time savings in the design phase, its niche group of users is growing. Therefore, it’s important to know the strengths and limitations of both PolyJet technology and FDM Technology for this distinct application.
3D printing architectural models provides the opportunity to reduce the number of steps, improving design time, while retaining fine details of the final architecture plan.
Computer simulations have been used in engineering and architecture for a long time. However, visualization of buildings was traditionally done using scale models made of wood or foam board. This let architects see how the building would stand in physical space and whether any problems could be rectified. Now, 3D printing combines the precision of computer simulations with the tangibility of scale models.
This application requires understanding the concept and process of architectural design, and notions of scale, proportion, space, form and structure.
3D printing with PolyJet or FDM is a best fit for architectural models when:
- Challenging characteristics include thin walls and internal cavities
- Design changes are likely
Polyet and FDM offer these benefits to architects:
- Lead times reduced by 50 to 80 percent
- Cost reduced 40 to 75 percent
- Model stability over time, eliminating distortion
Application Outline — PolyJet and FDM
PolyJet and FDM produce high-quality, detailed architectural models. Their ease of use lets designers produce low-cost models for all design phases. The materials offered by both technologies allow for easy post processing to further enhance model quality. The 3D-printed model can easily incorporate interlocking sections to allow internal visualization. Large models can also be sectioned into smaller pieces, either for demonstration purposes or to accommodate a model too large for the 3D printer’s build envelope. These models can later be bonded together with a wide range of epoxies or solvents so the completed model looks as if it were printed as one piece.
The fine feature detail available allows for scale models to be created with architectural components such as texture and railings.
Customer Story — FDM
California–based 3D Reprographics makes architectural models for its clients. Clients must see the model floor by floor, so they need a design that is separate but stackable. While the models are for display only, many of them have thin walls, so durability is always an issue. Traditional modeling requires skill and expertise to bond each wall and part in its place. Additionally, traditional models tend to distort over time. Stratasys offered 3D Reprographics a benchmark test to see how FDM differed from its current modeling. 3D Reprographics built walls as thin as 0.04 in. and found that a 0.08-in. wall gave them the strength and features they required.
3D Reprographics found FDM a great fit for making a strong, accurate presentation model. In addition to increasing durability with thin walls, 3D Reprographic’s FDM system can build each model in one job, eliminating the need for skilled bonding. The FDM models are easy to paint and do not warp over time.
Proper ergonomic design is essential for preventing injury and enhancing productivity. 3D printed models permit accurate testing of ergonomic performance during the development process.
PolyJet 3D Printed Ergonomic Models
Rough models are of little value when you really want to assess how people will use a product, since physical properties significantly impact ergonomic performance. Property–perfect product models are essential for reliable ergonomic testing.
PolyJet 3D Printing technology solves the ergonomic testing conundrum with hundreds of materials and Digital Materials offering a wide variety of physical properties. PolyJet materials accurately replicate the rubber–like elastomeric properties of thermoset and thermoplastic materials that are critical for good ergonomic design and also offer materials excellent for modeling rigid elements of the products.
By digitally combining materials using Connex multi–material 3D printing, designers can create realistic models that replicate the physical properties of each individual part of a product. Materials can be modified during multiple test rounds, enabling the optimization of product ergonomics prior to launching into full production.
Marketing and Graphic Design
3D printed concept models are great marketing tools. Imagine showing focus groups a pre–launch model of a new product that’s nearly identical to the real thing. They can see it, hold it and examine it from every angle. Stratasys 3D printing can give you high–quality product models in just hours or days — without sending your latest designs offsite.
PolyJet 3D Printed Marketing Models
For marketing, internal review, focus group and graphic design use, models 3D printed with PolyJet technology can incorporate multiple materials, including rubberlike, rigid and clear.
Get a jump on marketing collateral and packaging design with a realistic prototype. 3D printers based on PolyJet technology print reality so faithfully, you can create accurate, finely detailed prototypes at the earliest stage of the product-development process.
Truly realistic PolyJet models let you design and produce marketing collateral and packaging before production, without creating costly pre-series production molds. PolyJet creates exceptionally accurate 3D product models that have fine details and smooth surfaces. Acrylic-based materials can be post-processed to create painted and metallic finishes that make the models truly indistinguishable from the end product. Use accurate models in photos for marketing collateral that highlights product details and features, and to design effective packaging and displays. Reduce time to market by enabling graphic designers to integrate product images in collateral and ensure that packaging and displays work seamlessly with end products, well before it goes into actual production.
FDM 3D Printed Marketing Models
Models built with FDM Technology can be sanded, painted — even chrome–plated — to match the finished appearance of a new product. FDM uses production-grade thermoplastics, so you can give your model the durability and feel of a final product.