Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Create More: Design Detail with 3D Printing

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA) of New Haven, CT, has a strong culture of model making. In the words of Wesley Wright, designer and director of digital fabrication at PCPA, “Model making is a given in our design process. We make. We make models to communicate.”

PCPA owns several different model making tools and chooses the appropriate tool for the job at hand. Most of their early concept models are created with Z Corp printers. They used an older generation Spectrum Z510 for several years, and recently installed the newer generation ZPrinter 650 which has become their workhorse for in-house model production.

For a recent conceptual design study, PCPA printed a highly detailed (and extremely thin) canopy model using zp150 composite build material on the ZPrinter 650.

This type of intricate organic model would be difficult to impossible to build with other construction tools. And, the beauty is that the model was printed in 3.5 hours using only 8.7 cubic inches of materials (approx $35 material cost).

Here is a view showing the canopy in context with the rest of the building massing model.

You can see from the plan view below how fine the features can be printed. The thinnest sections (really the entire print) measure only 0.6 mm (0.025 in) thick.

For PCPA, it’s all about creating more design iterations to refine their designs and communicate more clearly. View this free online Webcast for a more comprehensive view of PCPA’s design process.