Architects use 3D printing to prototype huge city project

Architects use 3D printing to prototype huge city project

Last week we told you about the Olsson Block, an ingenious add-on for the Ultimaker 2 and Ultimaker 2 Extended 3D printer that allows the nozzle to be swapped in seconds. Created by community member Anders Olsson, the amazing kit consists of a heater block, installation tools and four nozzle sizes: 0.25, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8mm. It’s already making a huge difference to the working lives of professionals.

Sweco #2
Architect Henrik Bejmar

3D Printing Architectural Models

One such inspiring story is that of Henrik Bejmar, an architect working for Sweco, the largest architectural and engineering consultancy firm in Europe. Headquartered in the beautiful city of Stockholm, he’s helping a team of architects create a monumental new development in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The project contains over 280 hectares, which will hold over 60.000 to 90.000 apartments and 200.000 office spaces once finished. To help bring their ideas to life they needed a rapid prototyping tool they could rely on every day to create models with tight deadlines. So they turned to 3D printing and started using the Ultimaker 2 Extended 3D printer with an Olsson Block.

As an architect it’s easier when you can visualize designs in front of you with a 3D print. For me, I can see it in my head, but it’s also very easy to just touch the model and figure out what it looks like from all angles.

Benefits of 3D printing in Architecture

Because of the size of the Sri Lanka project they needed to print at different scales, and thanks to the new Olsson Block they could do just that. By using the 0.8mm nozzle, prints came out twice as fast, allowing them to print large-scale models in less time. But conversely, they could also print up to four times as detailed with the 0.25mm nozzle, for the smaller structures.

Sweco #1
The Colombo scale model
Sweco plans

This flexibility gives them the freedom to create giant scale models precisely as they need them to be, great for presentations to their clients. And of course, the benefit of being able to prototype their ideas themselves is that it saves them a great deal of both time and money.

To summarize the benefits of using an Ultimaker with Olsson Block to 3D print in architecture:

  • Swap nozzles easily: Choosing and swapping a specific nozzle for a project is fast and easy
  • Fast 3D printing: With the 0.8mm nozzle you can 3D print up to 2x as fast
  • Detailed 3D printing: With the 0.25mm nozzle you can 3D print up to 4x as detailed
  • Client presentations: Present 3D printed architectural models to clients in a nice way
  • Save time and money: Create 3D printed models inhouse

The list of advantages goes on and on. To learn more about the Ultimaker 2 Extended that the architects at Sweco used, follow the link below. Or read more about Anders Olsson, the inventor of the Olsson Block. During November every Ultimaker 2 and Ultimaker 2 Extended purchased comes with a free Olsson Block!