3D printing is an exciting new technology and we understand that you must have lots of questions! We hope that this FAQ can give you some background on the 3D printing process. If you have any more specific questions please feel free to contact us.
What type of material are the models made from?
The models are printed in a gypsum/plaster type material, which is glued together in 0.1mm layers to create a solid object. As a result the finished product is light with a sandstone type texture. If you would like us to send you out a material sample please get in contact.
Are there any limitations to the model colours?
None at all, the printer that ArchiPrint uses is not your typical 3D printer which can generally only print in one or two colours of ABS plastic at a time. Think of it as closer to your typical CMYK inkjet printer as it mixes cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black) to create any colour you desire. 390 000 colours to be exact!
The other benefit of this type of printing is that textures can also be printed onto the model to really up the detail level. In particular brick and other textured walls look fantastic when printed with a texture applied.
What kind of detail/resolution can I get in my model?
As the models are built up in 0.1mm layers we are able to achieve incredible details. Thin elements such as expressed sheet joints or window mullions can easily be represented at scale.
We assess every model prior to print to ensure you get the best possible results, however if you have any specific questions in regards to the thickness or strength of your model please contact us.
What size models can you print?
The maximum size of the print tray is 254 x 381 x 203mm, but that is not to say it has to be the maximum size of your model. Many models are suitable for printing in parts and gluing together, and to reduce costs are often better done this way.
We will provide advice on how your model will fit in the print tray, however as a guide please consider the following sizes at various scales:
|254 x 381 x 203mm
||2.54 x 3.81 x 2.03m
||5.08 x 7.62 x 4.06m
||12.70 x 19.05 x 10.15m
||25.40 x 38.10 x 20.30m
|50.80 x 76.20 x 40.60m
||63.50 x 95.25 x 50.75m
||127.00 x 190.50 x 101.50m
||254.00 x 381.00 x 203.00m
||508.00 x 762.00 x 406.00m
Can I print complex or concave shapes?
Yes, the beauty of this type of 3D printing is with .1mm layers you can print just about any shape you can imagine with ease. The model is self-supporting during the print process meaning there are no problems with unsupported or complex shapes and you don’t even pay for the unused support material, which is not common in the 3D printing world.
How breakable are the models?
What we always say is that the models should be treated as a piece of art. If you drop it, it will break, but if you treat it with care you will have no problems.
Is it possible to print transparent materials such as glass?
Unfortunately not at this time! We would love to think that it will be possible in the future, but for now we would suggest going for a solid colour instead. Just keep the colour consistent across all of your windows and it will still be effective!
What file formats are accepted?
The principle of ArchiPrint is to utilise the work put into the Architectural 3D CAD model to design and document the building. We therefore require a copy of the model in its original format to be able to optimise it for printing.
We ask that to keep file sizes small, and to maintain your intellectual property that you create a copy of your data and delete out any unnecessary or sensitive information prior to sending it to us.
Accepted file formats include:
- ArchiCAD Archive File (.pla)
- Revit (.rvt)
- SketchUp (.skp)
If your model is in another CAD format please let us know so that we can try and find a solution for you.
I do not have a 3D CAD model of my building, can I still get a 3D Printed model made?
While this is not a typical workflow, there is absolutely no reason why not. What we would need to do is construct your building in a 3D CAD platform such as ArchiCAD or Revit to give us the model to print from. If you are interested in this service, please contact us, and send through the 2D plans and elevations of your building to work from.
How much does 3D printed models cost?
The cost of 3D printing has come down remarkably over the last few years, to the point where we can now comfortably say that many 3D printed models will be cheaper then traditional methods of model making. This is because we are utilising the 3D model you produce anyway to design and document a building as well as the fact there is very little labour required.
Unfortunately as every model is different we cannot give general cost guides. We are however always available to provide free quotes. All you need to do is get in contact with us.
Is printing in colour any more expensive?
No, the cost of all 3D prints is the same for full gradient colour models as they are for straight white or any other single colour.
I am interested in getting a model printed, do I have any options to reduce the cost?
- One of the main costs is in the optimisation phase of the model making, if you can optimise your model before you send it to us you can greatly decrease the cost. If you are interested in finding out how to do this, please contact us.
- Alternatively, reduce the size or scale of the model.
If I change the scale of the model how will it affect the price?
The cost of each 3D print is based on the volume of material used in the model. One common mistake is thinking that if you double to size (ie 1:200 to 1:100) you will also be doubling the volume and therefore cost. This is not the case because when you double the size the volume of the model is actually cubed. For this reason there can be very large cost differences between models of different scales.
i.e. Consider a solid block 5mm x 5mm x 5mm which has a volume of 125mm³. If you double the size to 10mm x 10mm x 10mm the volume is 1000mm³. If in doubt please ask us, we are always happy to quote in a variety of scales.
What are the payment options?
Following the delivery of your model you will be issued with an invoice for payment. Currently the only payment options available are Cash, Direct Deposit or Cheque. Payment is expected within 14 days of the invoice being issued.
How much time do we need to allow for delivery of the model?
We understand that in architecture there are a lot of deadlines, which need to be met, and we will work with you to ensure you have your model in time for your meeting or presentation. The actual amount of time it takes to process and print the model is largely dependent on how 3D print ready the CAD file is and the physical size of the model. If you have a deadline you need us to meet please advise as early as possible so we can sure we can work with you to ensure you have it in time.
As a guide we you should expect that a model will require roughly 10-15 business days.
ArchiPrint is a Melbourne based company, but we ship anywhere across Australia using only the most careful courier services. With careful packaging we have very few problems with sending models across the country. If you are Melbourne based, models can be dropped off or picked up depending on what is the most convenient. Unfortunately we do not ordinarily post internationally, but please contact us if you are interested and we will see what we can figure out for you.