In Dubai there are many fantastic modern buildings, there is a fantastic fusion of Arabian, Oriental and European architecture often fused together: it is hard therefore to stand out as a new development. To get investment interest and advanced sales you need stakeholders to understand a concept, this is for almost anything not just buildings; with a major development other stakeholders include local residents and local councils as well.
Riva Digital were developing a major development of apartments in Dubai and had computer models used internally to pre-visualize the finished building. The architects and engineers themselves of course have little problem with visualizing a development, they are used to turning blueprints into real buildings anyway. Other stakeholders though even with flash presentations taking in computer generated views can fail to get excited and Riva therefore needed a physical model, and rather than the standard table-top model made by a standard local rapid prototyping services company they decided to go for a ten foot model of the development to let media and investors among other see the minute detail at a major presentation.
Riva could have course have gone to a traditional rapid prototyping service to have the model made, traditional techniques though are slow and often look far from professional: with larger models especially there is always the risk that materials will sag. Riva therefore choose to work with a slightly different rapid prototyping services company: Fonco Fabrication and design are experts in 3D printing and were given the project by Riva to create the 1: 160 model but first they needed to find the perfect 3D printer for the job. Working to a budget meant that Fonco had to look at almost every 3D printer on the market before finding one that came in on budget yet gave the level of accuracy that was required to print the 100s of parts that would make the model. They finally chose a printer from 3D Systems, a company offering probably the widest range of 3D printers for rapid prototyping services and manufacturing.
Fonco worked from the existing computer model dividing the building up into panels that would fit together perfectly to provide a highly accurate detailed model once it was sent through the rapid prototyping service. The build time once the model was made went from months to days and the model looked like an exact copy in miniature while being robust enough to let stakeholders get close at the presentation.
Riva are now working on another development, again in Dubai, and a 1:80 model has been ordered from Fonco this time, now setup to deal with the request with ease with the right 3D printer and skills in place. The skills of 3D printers is quickly putting traditional model makers out of business and many architecture firms who may have had a model maker inn house are replacing them with a machine which can often be operated by those that have the design skills to come up with an initial computer model.