Uses for 3d Printing
3d modelling and 3d printing is a relatively fast and inexpensive way to produce physical models to visualise and communicate your design.
Physical models are a powerful and effective way to engage with stakeholders. Paper plans and graphics have their place but involve your audience having to do some mental gymnastics to imagine the physical shape. And how can you be sure they have all formed the same mental picture? Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are effective at engaging one person at a time but can be less effective at stimulating group discussion.
Using a physical models, perhaps alongside photographs, drawings, 3d graphics, AR/AR and other visualisation techniques will create maximum impact with your clients. A physical model on the table will have your audience leaning in for a closer look.
The scale and level of detail required depends on what you are trying to communicate. We can produce the external shape and form or include internal detail with cut-away and lift-off sections.
For large, bulky equipment it is often impractical or expensive to transport the real item to prospective customers. For subsea equipment, your client may never see the actual equipment other than in photographs. A scale model allows you to showcase your equipment anywhere. A model can be used to explain how it works to customers, operators or even your own staff.
We can produce models from your existing digital assets, import and process CAD generated with common BIM software or work from your rough sketches and dimensions. Processing involves unifying loose parts into a single “manifold” object that can be 3d printed. Where necessary, we thicken walls and adjust levels of detail to make them printable but in a way that respects the exterior dimensions and appearance.
Where a 3d printed model can really help is in projects requiring extended public and stakeholder consultation. In cases where you need to communicate clearly with large, non-technical audiences, a model becomes an essential part of your engagement strategy.
Celtic3d provides digital modelling services, specializing in creating and preparing 3d models for 3d printing.
We can work from your existing digital assets (CAD files), scale them to your desired size and make them 3d printable. We can also create 3d models from scratch to your specifications.
Having prepared the 3d model file, we use carefully selected online services to manufacture the model parts in a wide range of materials and finishes.
Depending on the model, there may be final assembly, airbrushing colours and lacquers, or incorporating laser-cut materials.
Because our focus is on how you plan to use the model, we may also include a transit box to protect the model, make it portable and to ensure you arrive at your client engagement giving the right impression.
How we work
We aim to make the process of creating a 3d printed model from your file as efficient and painless as possible. Give us your file and we deliver your 3d printed model.
Unless specifically modelled for 3d print, your file will need to be transformed into a shape that the 3d printer can deal with. While your CAD file will likely contain lots of parts, shapes, planes and other geometry, these need to be unified into a water-tight or “manifold” shape before it can be printed. As well as unifying all the disparate parts, thicknesses need to meet the minimum that can be printed in the chosen material. Other considerations include whether to make the model hollow (which can save significantly on cost); splitting the model into several parts to optimise the printing process; which parts to print and which might be better achieved utilising different technologies, like laser cutting.
One day, sending your digital assets to the 3d printer will be done by the simple push of a button. The reality today, however, is a difficult and time-consuming process. This is where our experience and optimised processes can save you time and money. Additionally, once your file has been transformed for 3d print, ordering multiple copies is fast and inexpensive.