Wednesday, July 14, 2010

3D Printing Technology Adoption in AEC

I recently returned from San Francisco where our channel partner, Ideate Inc., organized back-to-back presentations to the South Bay Revit User Group (RUG) and San Francisco RUG. The topic was 3D Printing in AEC (3D printing in architecture, engineering and construction) which is an AIA approved CES course.

I always begin these presentations by polling the room on their awareness and/or use of 3D printing (3DP) to make physical models. Remember that this is a Revit crowd, people who were early adopters for BIM. Yet, only a small percentage of attendees raised their hands when asked if they used 3DP, whether in-house or outsourced, for physical modeling.

They all agreed that physical modeling helps them collaborate with their design teams, clients, and regulatory agencies. There’s no doubt that AEC professionals understand the benefits. What they might not yet fully understand is how some of their colleagues and competitors have integrated 3DP into their standard design practice. We encouraged these attendees to give it a try, and show their principals some 3D printed models designed by their firms. Once that happens, I find technology adoption usually accelerates.

I'd like to hear your thoughts about technology adoption in the AEC community, especially compared to other industries.