How is the Ultimaker 3 dual extruder 3D printer helping Kennedy Associates Architects create deeper engagement with project stakeholders?
What if instead of looking at concept photos and blueprints of a new building, you could hold a scale model in your hands. That's not a hypothetical; it's the reality for Kennedy Associates Architects in Sydney, under the leadership of directors Anthony Nolan and Steve Kennedy. The firm recently added an Ultimaker 3 dual extruder 3D printer to the workflow, giving clients the opportunity to get a more immersive look into projects.
3D printing in architecture presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges. We spoke with Anthony Nolan to learn more about his experience with the Ultimaker 3 and the benefits of 3D printing in the studio.
About Kennedy Associates Architects
Leading a team of 15 architects and staff members, directors Steve Kennedy and Anthony Nolan head up a dynamic studio. Together, they have more than three decades of experience, including over 1,000 projects.
Over the years, Kennedy Associates Architects has developed a strong reputation for a full range of services from feasibility to completion in four key areas:
The company has been recognised through the Sulman Award 2008, World Architecture Festival shortlist 2014 and National Steel Excellence Award 2014 for the AGL Pavilion. Check out their website at kennedyassociates.com.au
3D printing opportunities in architecture
The primary use for 3D printing at Kennedy Associates Architects, Anthony noted, is for showcasing projects to stakeholders and getting their input on designs.
"I find that the feedback you get on the model is much more engaged. People have responded well to the prints when they seem them," he said.
When Anthony and his team previously looked into 3D printing, it was too limited for their needs. That's changed with the dual extruder on the Ultimaker 3. Thanks to the ability to print withPLA and water soluble PVA at the same time, the team is able to print the complex details necessary for their designs, including verandas, balconies and handrails.
"One time, we had a roof overhang with exposed rafters on it, so we had all of the underside of the overhang textured with beam lines coming through. It built all of that beautifully," Anthony said.
Challenges with PVA
Printing with PVA removes the need for extensive post-printing work, but it has introduced some complications to the workflow. This has been a challenge for Anthony, as a key goal for him is to establish a simpler workflow with consistent output.
Sydney's high heat and humidity in summer led to degradation issues with PVA storage. Anthony found a solution through the Ultimaker online forums - a DIY chamber for the PVA, complete with desiccant crystals and humidity indicators. That's kept the PVA useable, despite the weather.
Why they chose Redstack
Anthony and his team were already familiar with Redstack, but that wasn't the only reason for their vendor selection. They liked the availability of local support.
"We wanted to make sure that we had local representation; that was a dealbreaker for us," Anthony said.
"The last thing we wanted to be doing was using a chatbot to talk to an anonymous piece of software."
Anthony also didn't want to proceed with the purchase until he spoke to other users.
"Redstack was very good about that and had some clients who were happy to talk about their experiences," he said.
"They understood the difficulty I had in making a commitment to proceed. Other people had just tried to talk the printer up, but I needed that extra person to feel comfortable."
Dual extruder 3D printing with the Ultimaker 3 lets you create projects with stunning detail, and Redstack can help with local support and seamless supply orders from the online store.