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Seeing is Believing: 3D Printing Pushes Project Design Forward

Above: ROSSETTI designers examine louvers printed on the new SLS 3D Printer

ROSSETTI’s commitment to research and development continues to evolve with the recent addition of a new SLS 3D printer. It extends our capabilities for experimentation and visualization, allowing design teams to design in both the virtual and physical world. 

Our goal is to incorporate physical models at all stages of project design and delivery.  We are also exploring opportunities to have Design-Make-Use lifecycles that end with ready-to-install or display components on the site.

After researching the best 3D printer for ROSSETTI’s needs, our tech team decided to purchase the 3D Systems ProJet 4500. This printer is the industry’s only photo realistic full-color plastic 3D printer which combines vibrant full color with durable plastic. 

Above: Some colorful objects ROSSETTI designers experimented printing with

Benefits of 3D Printing

3D models provide another view to architecture that virtual renderings are sometimes unable to convey. 3D printing completes a review experience and drives an understanding of what works. While we still create models by hand, 3D printing creates buildings and components 100% to scale at a fraction of the time. Converting 2D renderings to 3D models helps give consultants a better understanding of the finished product. Opening up these lines of communication between the client, designer, consultant, artist, and fabricator creates a more streamlined process.

Above: A scalable 3D printed model of the USTA National Tennis Center Campus 

Rapidly advancing technologies in 3D printing have showed us that the opportunities to explore, research and innovate are limitless. 3D printing makes it possible for design components to be duplicated repeatedly in a short amount of time, without wasting material. Similar to assembling a house out of Legos, giant 3D printers can create life-size buildings and houses, layer by layer, in just 24 hours. While some 3D printing fanatics say that this technology will soon replace the current architectural methods used today, the size, complexity, and safety issues of the project remain major obstacles that currently only the mind of an architect can solve.