Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology School of Architecture students are utilising Z Corporation 's ZPrinter® 650 multicolour 3D printer to produce a high, steady volume of concept models throughout the duration of their entire course. The single printer supports over 50 undergraduate and graduate students from the school’s design studio and technology seminar classes.
The ZPrinter 650 was selected because of a study done by the school where they discovered its ability to produce models up to five times faster and for about one-tenth of the materials cost of competing technologies.
“Speed and affordability are critical to students, who need a constant flow of models to provide them with sensory feedback on their work,” said Daniel Norell, lecturer at the Royal Institute of Technology School of Architecture. “This feedback loop helps them fully understand their designs and revise productively, ultimately producing a superior final product.”
The ZPrinter has a large build size (10 x 15 x 8 inches, or 254 x 381 x 203 mm) which accelerates the rate of model production. ZPrinting also helps Royal Institute architecture students learn the principles of fabrication technology, as they are able to handle the entire printing process with minimal training.
ZPrinting is also aiding students’ understanding of concepts like performative design. Performative design claims that performance is paramount in influencing a building’s design. The discipline requires forms of organic complexity that can be created only with the help of software and fabrication technology like 3D printing.
“It would be impossible to handcraft these forms,” said Norell. “ZPrinting produces them quickly and effortlessly in a way that’s analogous to actual building fabrication processes like contour crafting with concrete.”
Norell thinks, however, the biggest benefit may be the value of holding a model in your hand. “Although architects think spatially, it never ceases to impress me that every time they see a design in three dimensions, they gain so much more understanding than is possible to gain from spinning around a virtual model in CAD software.”