Thinglab Stories | Neil Architecture

Project Title
1:2000 Context Model – Metung, East Gippsland

Project Scope
Neil architecture was commissioned to design and manufacture a large scale context model for Metung which is in East Gippsland, Victoria.

The brief of the model consisted of

  • Illustrate the size and frequency of the property boundary’s on the island
  • Show that access from the mainland to the properties on the island is only by water
  • Accurately represent low lying terrain while distinguishing between land and water
  • Overall model size was important to convey the ideas to an audience at a distance

What systems were used?
Printer : We have been using the Upbox 3D printer for about a year now.

Filament : After trying many filaments including PLA and ABS over the last year we have found a reliable and high quality supplier in Thinglab. Currently we are working with the ABS White 1.75mm. Compared to other filaments we have found that Thinglabs the ABS White 1.75mm provides a sharper stronger print.

Why was this equipment chosen for the task?
In keeping with technology trends in the architecture industry Neil Architecture purchased an Upbox 3D printer about a year ago. Since that time we have been utilising the printer for a variety of model types and projects.

What manufacturing / design issues needed to be overcome for a successful project?
Design: As with most large scale 3D print jobs some thought goes into determining the scale of the print. We had to consider maximum build plate sizes for the printer, how these finished prints joined together to form the completed model as well as the actual viewable scale of the finished print pieces. The smaller objects were of great importance as we still wanted them to be clearly visible within the scale. Due to the density of the lots on the island and the scale of the print, printing the fence lines of each lot proved to be ineffective. Instead the decision was made to model each individual lot and drop them into the model. As each lot was dropped into the model a boundary line was achieved.

Manufacturing : The design was divided up into quarters to achieve the largest possible print on our 3D printer. Due to the spread and size of the model a level platform was imperative to avoid warping. Any warp, in a quarter would prevent them from slotting together evenly. Part of the project brief was to distinguish between land and water. We achieved this through using a clear resin sitting directly on the ABS plastic.

How much time was saved as a result of having the equipment?
Having access to 3D printing technology has enabled Neil Architecture to create models that would not be able to be made by traditional methods. Time has been saved by using the 3D print technology as well as being able to print complex geometry accurately.

What outside assistance was required?
Thinglab have been very supportive and prompt in supplying materials and any machine maintenance that was required.

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