In the earlier stages of creation and design, building models can take time using the traditional methods. Besides that, every mistake is a re-investment of material and effort. Also, it is not always easy to correct all the errors directly on your architectural model. You will often have to start all over again.
Because of that, it is clear that model makers need an excellent 3D printer. With the help of 3D printers, you can design from small and not-so-demanding architectural models to large architectural projects, such as houses, buildings, or aerodynamic parts for moto-sports.
Designing with the help of the latest technology can be fun and inexpensive, and you can save time. Your creativity already knows no bounds, and with only suitable filament and the right 3D printer, you can make your sketch come to life.
Advantages of 3D Printers Compared to Manual Model Making
- Time is money!
Your job essentially ends when you make a good sketch of a model on your desktop. You don’t have to get your hands dirty, and you’ll save time for the creative part of the job.
Quickly assemble one architectural model with a good printer in a day or two. Even for larger architectural models, you can leave the printer to work alone at night. Or leave the printer for the weekend and have the finished model waiting for you whenever you return to work.
Optimize each architectural model yourself. Set the program to work faster, with less material for conceptual and detailed models. Or you can set it to work as accurately as possible with high-quality pieces for representative models of your projects.
- Investing pays off in the long run
The only costs you incur while using 3D printers are the cost of electricity and plastic.
So, instead of building materials, you will need only one material for 3D printing. You won’t need sandpaper or roof texture, foil, and water. Throw away all the saws and wires for fences, street furniture, or raster for the facade.
Make all these surfaces with characteristic details in one 3D printing. Later you can paint them or leave them in the base color of the material and display them in parallel with the renders.
- Simplicity – the whole workshop in a box
Instead of a whole set of tools and materials and ten square meters for materials, work surface, and storage space for finished segments, create the tangible scale models with a device that, together with consumables (building) material, takes up an average of one square meter.
With a 3D printer, you don’t need a whole small workshop and extra space to make architectural models in your office. You just need one (desktop) 3D printer and one type of material in stock. Of course, you can combine more materials and fine details for extra visual effect.
- Appearance – wholeness and intricate details
With 3D printing technology, you do not have to give up even the smallest detail from your architectural models. You can display absolutely everything, from the facade grid to the gutter, the hydro turbine, and the wavy surface of water and waterfalls across the dam screen.
Simply design and determine the level of detail in the software and not on the desktop. Define what is important to you, what is not, what adds value to the model, and what bothers you to see the essence. Or quickly introduce a more detailed segment into the model, which will look complete at all times.
- No more mess
Creating a scale model in your office with a 3D printer does not require new people and working hours. Just send your architectural model to the printer, and it will work both at night and on weekends, quietly, without dust, and without waste.
Press the print button on your printer and watch the magic happen.
Overall, you can see why 3D printers are beneficial for architects. We know getting lost in searching for the right 3D printer is easy. Multiple printers of different print quality, sizes, and characteristics are on the market today.
So, that is why, based on our experience and the experience of great experts in this field, we have chosen the best 3d printers on the market today. You will surely find at least one device on this content that suits you.
Ultimaker S3 3D Printer
Of all the tested 3d printers for architects, we liked the most the Ultimaker S3 3D printer. Not only because it’s one of the most praised 3D printers on the market today, but the performance of this device is in line with its price.
The Ultimaker 3 Extended is a professional 3D printing device that allows you to use various printing materials when you produce architectural models. You can use Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), other plastics, or PLA. With this 3D printer, you should buy a filament roll with a nozzle diameter of 0.11 inches.
The extended version of this model with more advanced 3D printing technology provides a large production volume and a fast 3D printing.
With this printer, you can make an architectural model with a building potential of 215 x 215 x 300 mm / 8.46 × 8.46 × 11.81 inches. Therefore, this printer is excellent if you need to design moderate architectural projects. The maximum build volume is 13.87 L, and the top speed is 300 mm (11.81 inches) /s.
The biggest advantage of this printer is that thanks to the dual extruder, makers can make architectural models from two or more printing materials in one job. For many architecture firms, this feature on a 3D printer is the most useful. If you need to make your models from building materials and at the same time water-soluble materials, then this device is a good choice.
You can print with these materials because this printer has two cores for materials that can easily be swapped out. Besides that the 3D printing speed of this printer is impressive and goes up to 300 mm ^ 3 /s.. It has 20-100 micron layer resolution, which gives you perfectly smooth surfaces.
With such an architectural model, you will surely delight all your clients during the presentations.
And it doesn’t make much noise while working, unlike many other 3D printers for architects. Also, the fan system is perfect because this printer creates a more significant increase in pressure for increased airflow, which leads to better cooling.
The 4.7-inch screen is easy to use, and the LED lights sparkle if any interaction is required. With 24 cubic millimeters per second, this is one of the faster options on our list.
It occupies a total area of 342 × 505 × 688 mm, 13.46 × 19.88 × 27.09 in. so it easily fits into almost any workspace and does not take up too much space. And it weighs only 11.3 kg / 24.91 lb.
The printer can be controlled remotely by connecting to other devices using USB, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi. With this printer, you can easily send your designs to print because you can use various operating systems, such as Mac OS, Microsoft, or Linux and you can manage your architecture models even at a construction site.
The Ultimaker 3D printing device is made of solid materials, indicating that it will last a long time.
The extruders are located on the back of the printer, while the print head has two front nozzles. The nozzles are partially retracted into the print core when the printer is not running. The printer uses its own software, the Cura, which is relatively easy to navigate.
What we like
What needs improving
Creality3D CR – 10 3D Printer
The Creality 3D CR-10 3D printer is a reliable printer, but you must construct it yourself. When you open the package, you’ll see that these 3d printers come 70% built already, but you will have to finish the process independently, which for some people can be fun.
The printer is composed of only 3 parts, and building it will not take much time. It is the right choice if you don’t mind this DIY project and need an extreme precision of your 3d printer with a large printing volume that doesn’t make much noise while working.
In the package, you will find 3 parts that you will assemble in a flash, the suitable tools, 3D printing tools, and a micro SD memory card with an adapter for offline 3D printing. The SD card contains detailed instructions for the assembling process if you find the user’s guide in paper form not so helpful. Just follow the simple steps, and you will effortlessly assemble your printer.
If you want to print architectural models that are very large, you will not go wrong with this printer. The maximum print size is 300x300x400mm / 11.81×11.81×12 inches. In addition, this machine can print continuously for over 100 hours.
The printer is stable and has a simple, sturdy metal frame that you can easily adjust to your needs. The heated print bed is made of a large aluminum PCD board. The stability of the device and the print resolution of 100 microns allow you to print highly accurate architectural models at high speed of as much as 150 mm ^ 3 / s.
Automatic calibration is easily performed on this device. Feel free to download a few upgrades from Thingiverse sliced objects in Cura software. After 3D printing, you will notice that each layer is of incredible 3D printing quality. If you want the first layer to have a shiny structure, place a glass print bed over an aluminum board. I used this technique to make phone cases.
The downside of this printer is that it takes some time to heat the heated print bed and can only reach 85 degrees Celsius, which leads to rapid cooling of the ABS. And you can solve this problem quickly by closing the printer and trapping the heat inside, using a garbage bag, for example.
You can easily print with PLA, nylon, or flexible filament with a nozzle diameter of up to 0.4 mm.
Also, one of the negative things is that this device is quite large and occupies a larger area on the desktop. If you don’t have enough space in your workshop, better keep an eye on some of the smaller 3D printers for architects.
What we like
What needs improving
MakerBot Replicator + 3D printer
If you need a printer that is accurate and fast at the same time, this is the right choice for you. MakerBot Replicator + 3D printer is one of the easiest to use and, therefore, suitable for architects, engineers, and those who enjoy making objects with 3d printing devices.
It gives you a great variety of 3D printing, and the MakerBot software works great. You can easily find designs in their online library using the MakerBot Mobile app or prepare your creations and share them with others. If you connect to the camera inside the printer, you can quickly follow the 3D printing process.
The building capacity of this printer is 11.6 L x 7.6 W x 6.5 H inches / 29.5 L x 19.5 W x 16.5 H cm, and the maximum build volume is 9.49 L. It uses special filaments, MakerBot PLA filament and MakerBot Tough PLA filament, which are as rigid as ABS and as reliable as PLA. One of the advantages that the architects point out is that the filament replacement drawer is in the front, and you can change the paint or material without overturning the whole device. The minimum layer height is 100 microns.
The MakerBot Replicator + also includes Smart Extruder +, which means that the LCD and the onboard camera are included and can be connected to USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi.
The most significant advantage of MakerBot Replicator + is that it prints up to 30% faster than some 3D printers from this list. In addition, it has a larger print volume. The dimensions of this printer are not too big (20.79×16.14×17.36 inches), so it fits perfectly in offices, classrooms, and various workshops.
The smart option of this printer notifies you when a jam occurs inside the printer during the 3D printing process, thanks to automatic jam detection. Also, the 3d printer will notify you if the filament runs out. When you replace the filament roll, it will continue to work where you left off.
The downside of Replicator + is that it is sometimes hard to level the bed. The solution is to buy an additional print bed. And it is noisier than other printers.
What we like
What needs improving
Dremel Digilab 3D45
Potentially, the most popular 3d printer on the market today is Dremel Digilab 3D45, which is completely justified.
It has a single print head, but you can print many different materials on it.
The build volume is generous and goes up to 254 x 152 x 170 mm ( 6.69 x 10 x 5.98 inches) and a maximum build volume of 6.56 L, allowing you to create moderate architectural models.
Dremel Digilab 3D45 printer is fully enclosed, and you can easily open any lid on the top or side of the printer. The heating bed is made of glass and easy to remove so that the maintenance won’t be a problem. It can heat up to 100 degrees Celsius. And since the printer is closed, the eco-ABS won’t cool off quickly because the heat will stay inside.
The best feature of this device is the filament recognition technology that automatically adjusts the temperatures of the extruder and the production plate. The print speed is automatically adjusted depending on which filament you are using, which is great because you don’t have to think about it, but you have more time to deal with the creation itself.
The diameter of the nozzles used in 3D printing is a standard 0.4 mm, and the minimum layer height is 0.05 mm. The nozzle temperature will go up to 280 degrees Celcius.
Dremel has an original material known as eco ABS, a very flexible material. But you can also use standard materials such as PLA, nylon, and PETG. Still, if you want to print with genuine ABS, you must manually change the bed and nozzle temperatures.
It has a run-out sensor, meaning the 3d printer will notify you if the filament has run out of the spool.
The 3D printer has a semi-auto-leveling print bed with a servo lever and a few manual adjustment knobs. Also, it has an available system menu that allows you to control all the features. For example, you can change print temperature, adjust a print bed, and change the materials. Therefore, calibration is very good with this printer and leads to high accuracy.
The Dremel Digilab 3D45 has a 4.5-inch Ful color touchscreen interface and a carbon filter in the back of the printer that you can remove and replace. Removing the carbon filter can be very helpful because you won’t feel the smells inside the box. It also has a went hookup for exhausting. But this makes this printer a little noisier than the other 3D printers on our list.
Use a modified version of the Cura software for desktop options. Also, you can use Dremel 3D idea builder and upload your files on this OS software, which allows you to repair the layout and slice everything online. On this printer, you can monitor the camera remotely.
To send your prints, use a USB stick or Wi-Fi option, but only if you use an online 3D printing OS software. You do not have a Wi-Fi option from Cura.
Expect an ok print if you use a super-fast draft mode. Details on your architectural models can be a little mushy and may seem sloppy, but this mode is excellent if you want to finish 3D printing faster.
The downside of this 3D printer is that you can not use standard rolls of filament because It has specific filament rolls that are a little pricier and not a open source filament system.
What we like
What needs improving
LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer
The LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D printer is a smaller 3D printer that we have tested. It is a perfect choice if you do not have a lot of space in the office or workshop, and it fits perfectly into any space. If you don’t have to make large, complex structures, then the smaller print volume of this printer will not bother you. With dimensions of 435 × 340 × 385 mm / 17.13 × 13.39 × 15.16 inches, you can see that this 3d printer does not take up too much space on your desk.
The build area is 152 × 152 × 158 mm / 5.98 × 5.98 × 6.22 inches, and the build volume can go up to 3.65 L.
Print various architectural models with this printer regardless of the size. You can easily use any 3D printing software, which is one of the significant advantages of this device.
Also, one of the advantages of this low-cost printer is that it is speedy and, at the same time, accurate. It can print up to 275 mm /10.83 in and consistently achieves a neat and silky first layer.
The print range goes from 50 microns to 500 microns. And the fantastic thing is that you can develop a high temperature of the heated bed with this printer, u to 120 C / 248 F. and the highest head temperature is 300 C / 572 F.
The good thing about this printer is that you can use various materials when building models. In addition to standard materials such as ABS, PLA, and PETG and materials filled with wood or copper, you can also use PVA, carbon fiber, nylon and others.
We don’t like that this 3D printer doesn’t have a dual extruder, LCD screen, or Touchscreen.
If you want to follow the process of 3D printing your architectural models, you will be disappointed that this resident does not have a built-in camera.
What we like
What needs improving
Robo R2 3D Printer
The Robo R2 3D printer is one of the fastest 3D printers for architects, with a large volume on our list. The maximum build size is 203.2 × 203.2 × 254 mm / 8 × 8 × 10 inches, and the total build volume is 10.49 L. The speed at which this printer works your architectural models is 16 mm ^ 3 / s, which is pretty impressive.
On top of that, the 3D printing accuracy is excellent. The resolution goes from 20 to 300 microns. Filament diameter is 1.75-0.07 mm, and minimum layer thickness is 0.02 mm / 0.001 inches. The printer has a decent size of 425 × 419 × 603 mm / 16.73 × 16.5 × 23.74 inches.
You can use any printing material that comes to mind when printing in 3D. This printer supports open source system filament, which means that you can choose the materials that suit you best according to your current needs, and you are not limited to using only the filaments produced by the manufacturer.
In addition, print with two or more materials at once, which allows for dual extrusion. Follow the process of building the model via the built-in camera wherever you are.
Among other features, this printer offers standard options. In order to print accurately and to keep your complex structures perfect, this device offers you the latest semi-automatic leveling technology. Which means you won’t have to adjust the parameters before each model building process.
When you run out of filament from the roll you will be notified thanks to the runn – off option on this 3d printer. Fill the roll and simply continue building models.
Log in to the Robo application, which in our opinion is very easy to use and part the printing process. Also, the 5-inch touch screen is very intuitive so you can easily adjust all possible options before the printing process.
Many architects are satisfied that this device is compatible with various software and because it can print architectural models in .stl format.
It is a perfect choice for beginners, but in practice, it has been shown that this device is not so durable.
What we like
What needs improving
XYZ Da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix 3D Printer
XYZ Da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix is a low-cost but very high-quality 3d printer. And with this printer you can print in two colors which is a pretty good thing, especially considering the price at which this device is offered. In addition, during the testing of this printer, we were thrilled when we used the gradient method. You will see different color shades on your model and this will delight many customers.
The downside is that this is a single extruder printer. But the resolution is great and goes from 100 to as much as 400 microns.
The maximum build size is a respectable 150 × 150 × 150 mm / 5.91 × 5.91 × 5.91 inches, and the total build volume is 3.38 L. With dimensions of 420 × 430 × 380 mm / 16.54 × 16.93 × 14.96 inches, it does not take up much printing space.
The manufacturers of this printer can freely boast that they have created one of the fastest and at the same time the cheapest 3D printers for architects. It prints at an incredible speed of up to 120 mm ^ 3/s, which is certainly commendable, considering its price.
Send your designs directly to the printer, but before that, you should connect with WI-fi via PC or mobile phone. Download XYZWare software from their site for free.
What we like
What needs improving
Things you need to pay attention to when buying a 3d printer:
Pay attention to the build volume first when making architectural models of different sizes, especially if you are making larger-scale models. The larger the build volume, the more detailed your architectural structure will be.
If you are designing a building or even an entire complex of buildings, the larger the build volume, the more you can complete the layout process at once. You will not need to take part by part so that you can connect the components separately in just one print in a few hours and assemble your model.
Architectural firms are particularly interested in this feature when buying a 3d printer. It is vital not to waste precious time in the business world, and 3D printing is no exception. So choose a fast printer that will assemble your architectural models in just a few hours.
Type of materials
You can use different materials when 3D printing complex architectural models. But not every 3d printer supports printing on every single plastic material. Therefore, you should pay attention when buying this device.
In addition, some 3D printers can only print with specific materials, which they mainly produce. Such proprietary materials are generally more expensive and not so available. But that does not mean that they are lower quality than other materials, and if you are used to fine details, most of them will do a great job.
It doesn’t mean much to you to create a scale model if you cannot print it on your 3d printer because the file is incompatible. So be sure to check which software is compatible with your printer.
Many 3D printers print files that are designed in any CAD software, but some are only compatible with specific software created by the printer manufacturers. Or you will need to convert your file before you start printing.
Many architectural firms use a variety of 3 printers per day. However, we are all looking for the best product, which will achieve desirable results at the best price. I hope this text is helpful if you are also looking for the best 3d printer on the market.
Depending on your needs, find the device that suits you best. You will not regret any of these seven 3d printers to choose from, but carefully consider their prominent differences and enjoy the process of 3d printing.