Choosing Home Plans: Uses and Benefits of 3D Printing

A 3D printer scans the height, width and depth of an object and then recreates that object, one thin layer at a time. If you can think about splitting any object into thousands of thin cross sections, you appreciate how this additive construction process works. On average, a 3D printer will work in cross sections that are just a single millimeter thick. Gels and polymers are the most common "inks" for 3D printing.

3D printing has many potential applications in medicine and business. Imagine having the Star-Trek-like ability to copy and reproduce any item in your home. Or imagine doctors being able to replace a hip with an exact replica of the patient's hipbone. However, 3D printing isn't just a concept that's looming on the horizon; today's homebuyers can already take advantage of this exciting technology. A 3D model of your home plans is an excellent visualization tool, as explained below.

Visualizing Home Plans with 3D Printing

If you've already heard of 3D printing, it might well have been via "This Old House." In October 2011, this public television program featured a 3D print of an old Boston farmhouse they were remodeling. The scale model was produced in full color and was constructed so that different sections of the home could be lifted away to reveal underlying rooms. This 3D print of the floor plans made it easier for contractors, producers and viewers to understand the transformation of the farmhouse.

However, you don't have to be on TV to use 3D printing. Contractors, realtors and architects across America are already using 3D printing create models of floor plans. These individuals understand the many benefits of 3D printing, a few of which we've listed below.

House Plans in 3D: Advantages

1. Include actual colors and other details. Many people are visual learners; they need to see colors, words and representational models to understand a concept well. 3D house plans can be made in a full array of colors. They can also include intricate labels and details, such as balustrades.

2. Significant savings. It's far less expensive to have a model made via 3D printing than it is to have it built by hand. Moreover, having a 3D model prevents costly mistakes down the road by making it easy for all parties to understand the home plans.

3. Universal understanding. Blueprints are easy for architects to understand, but for laypeople it can be very challenging to decipher traditional floor plans. Even contractors make mistakes sometimes when reviewing blue prints. A 3D model makes it easy for all involved parties to check their understanding of the floor plans. The basic "idea" of a home is immediately conveyed by a 3D model.

4. Accelerated delivery time. 3D printing is five to ten times faster than other modeling methods. Time is money for architects, who often work on an accelerated timeline when delivering to clients.

Dan Quaile, one of the producers for "This Old House," summarized his experience with 3D printing by saying, "The designers, contractors, viewers and homeowners get a much clearer image of the project than they could through 2D plans and conversation alone." At the most basic level, contractors, architects, realtors and potential homebuyers all benefit from the fact that 3D printing makes it easy to imagine the final outcome of any house plans.