What You Need to Know about 3D Printing + Architecture

3D technology has been advancing faster than anticipated. The first fully printed 3D home was built in China in the summer of 2016 in only 45 days and in a single run. Architects around the world are now looking to compete with this house to make an even better version. It poses the question whether or not we have potentially entered a new industrial revolution. Want to design in 3D? Click '3D Models' on CADdetails.com.

image © Innovate360

image © Innovate360

The benefits of 3D printing are still being discovered as new, innovative ways to incorporate the process into architecture are being examined.

Currently 3D Printing is Known to:

  • Enhance speed: Instead of having to make a model by hand, if an architect has the means to get a 3D printer, they will find that printing a model is relatively easy. They can use their CAD drawings to easily print their 3D model.

  • Efficiency: Being able to easily print a design allows for multiple models to be made to find the one that will provide the client with the most efficient model.

  • Accuracy: What the architect once had to do by hand is now able to be done quicker by a machine.


The 3D model of their projects acts as an asset to rendered drawings since now in addition to seeing a scaled idea, the architect can hold it.  If necessary, the architect can also deconstruct it piece by piece to look at how each component would come together. Being allowed to physically manipulate the model will save money and time because any issues that would arise during production of the home would be sought prior to starting the construction. 

The Benefits for the Community:

  • Environmentally Friendly: Each project printed through 3D printing technology would use only the exact materials needed so it would cut waste significantly.

  • Easier Visualization: Now that an entire city could be printed with 3D technology, there is an opportunity for citizens to get a clearer image to where the new development would be situated within the city. It allows for more public input than prior plans.

  • Transparency: With enhanced visualization of the project, it will allow the city to include and inform the citizens more about the development phases.

image © Scott Lewis

image © Scott Lewis

The Negatives with 3D Printing:

  • Workers will have to spend a longer time on a construction site if the house is to be built in one entire run.

  • Halting production would be more difficult.

  • Current projects don't account for implementing electrical wiring or plumbing. So while printing a house in one run is faster, it would be incredibly difficult for individuals to later revisit the key areas that need to be connected.

cover image © Daniel Caven

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