WATCH: How 3D printing can be used by the property industry

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Alice Cruickshank

3D printing offers exciting new opportunities for architects and developers. Asa Callow from Manchester-based MadLab, explains how this technology works, and how those in the property industry can benefit from it.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • 3D printing takes a digital design from software such as Autocad and turns it into a physical item.
  • This is useful for architects and property developers as a replacement to physically crafted models, and to test out complex new ideas.
  • At the more experimental end, the parts of some real life structures such as bridges are being created via 3D printer. Some architects are even beginning to examine how the technology can be used to erect buildings in space.
  • 3D printing isn’t new, though the past few years have seen vast improvements in the quality and scope of this technology.
  • The style of 3D printer featured in this video is known as fused deposition modeling (FDM), where items are built up by layer upon layer of plastic. Other forms of 3D printing involve lasers or micro-mirrors to create models.
  • One of the main benefits of FDM 3D printing is that the printers are relatively cheap to run, with a spool of filament creating many models.
  • The cost of a 3D printer can range from around £3,000 to £15,000 or more, depending on the complexity and scale of the objects to be printed.

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