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3d Printed Model for Charlie House

Zoomed in view of architectural model internal detail

We are delighted to work with Charlie House to provide them with an architectural model of their “Big Build Project”. Charlie House is a Scottish charity providing much-needed services for children with complex disabilities, medical needs and/or life-limiting conditions in the North East of Scotland.
Celtic3d's stall at the 2017 Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Business Show

The Brief

Celtic3d were asked if we could make a physical 3d architectural model that could help Charlie House explain the design for their “Big Build Project”.

Charlie House already had a design team comprising some of the region’s leading companies supporting their “Big Build Project”.  Plans for the centre existed in CAD file format and a digital model had been created in SketchUp for architectural visualisations.  Using these files as a starting point, Celtic3d provided a scale 3d printed model to make the plans more tangible.

From the initial objective,  some specifications were drawn out.   The model needed to show individual rooms and the interior detail of the building.   Also, the model needed to be of a size that could be easily hand-carried to meetings, and robust enough to be handled.

Modelling Approach

A scale of 1:200 resulted in a model that would fit inside a box the size of a briefcase.

To be able to show all the rooms, we split the roof into three sections which could be removed to reveal the interior layout.   We made the top floor of each wing removable to reveal the ground floor layout.  By combining 3d printed walls and roof with laser-cut white acrylic floors we were able to achieve precisely fitting sections that were strong, stable and looked good.

To get the sections to fit together required some careful and precise modelling.  We created a groove on the inside edge of the ground-floor external wall to receive the floor of the section above.  At a scale of 1:200 it was not feasible to create glazing for all the windows,  but large areas of glass around the entrance atrium did need to be represented, so we included some clear acrylic in a few strategic locations.

Interior Detail

Lift off sections of architectural model showing internal detailExperimenting with coloured dots from our local stationery store added colour coding to the interior but didn’t match the quality of finish we were after.  Etching graphics on laser-cut tiles to indicate the purpose of each room was much more successful.  We made tiles of beds for the child and family rooms,  sofas, chairs, tables and desks and a few tiles with text.  Mimicking the graphics from the architectural plans made the purpose of each room clear.   The reaction when people lift off the roof and see the internal detail is to lean in and start exploring the space.  Exactly the reaction we were aiming for.


Architectural modelling - laser-cut partsThe model sits on a base of laser-cut white acrylic.  The acrylic is then framed within laser-cut plywood.  We found a really nice bamboo ply for the top layer.  Our combination of 3d printing for the walls and roof with laser-cut sheet materials for the floors and base give a very nice finish that creates additional rigidity and strength.  Sheet material being much cheaper than 3d printing also reduces cost.

To protect the model and make it easier to take to meetings, we fashioned a box from laser-cut plywood.   We have had such good feedback on the box,  this is now included as standard with our models.

Laser-cut plywood case
Laser-cut plywood case

3d printed architectural model in wooden case

3d printed architectural model 3d printed architectural model 3d printed architectural model "The Big Build Project" from Charlie House 3d printed architectural model  Zoomed in detail of hydrotherapy pool

Further Information

If you would like information on how Celtic3d can help you engage with your stakeholders using physical models, please contact us.

Celtic3d are proud to support Charlie House.  More information on Charlie House can be found at their website or e-mail, and follow progress by liking their Facebook page.

Architectural model
The wonderful team at Charlie House taking delivery of their model.


Dr Sorcha Hume, General Manager,
Charlie House

“…Gavin has not only created a fantastic product for Charlie House, but helped us decide what type of model would best suit our needs. He has been a delight to work with and continues to support Charlie House with his expertise which has been invaluable. I would highly recommend you speak to Gavin if you are considering a 3d model for your business, or if you are just curious to find out more.

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