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Materialise_logo_withBaseline_ColorI grew up in Middle America watching The Brady Bunch. Yes, it’s true. And besides all that the show taught me about growing up in a multiple-sibling household, The Brady Bunch also taught me some peripheral lessons about architecture. From watching the show — Mike Brady, the father, was the architect — I learned that architects’ jobs can be stressful and time-consuming. Their jobs are to build things, after all, but before they do that they need to design and view what they are building, right? That kind of pressure could be maddening, and we see how many late nights Mike spent in his home while his wife, Carol, dutifully waited for him to finish working.

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Well, lots has changed in architecture since the days of The Brady Bunch. Yes, the job is still notoriously stressful, but new technology, like CAD design and 3D printing, is helping architects with some of the more time-consuming aspects of their jobs. Since architecture is the design and construction of buildings that require the ultimate in soundcad6 measurements for safety purposes, building models, called “maquettes,” have been used historically to get a bird’s eye view of the total construction project before it is built. These maquettes were usually made out of cardboard or Styrofoam, but now those materials are becoming a thing of the past. You guessed it: can’t you 3D print maquettes instead?

Materialise is one company making 3D printed, multi-colored maquettes available for architects. For example, the Dutch Service Bureau cad2reality uses 3D printing software from Materialise, Magics20, to 3D print complex architecture models, such as the scale model of the new AFAS Headquarters seen in these photos. (AFAS is a software development business.)

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While architecture firms have been designing in CAD software for some time, it isn’t as easy as just clicking a button to 3D print those CAD files! Changing CAD designs to make them 3D printable can be quite a chore, in fact. CAD designs lack details like texture and color data, or have holes and thin walls, and they contain many other errors that make them nearly impossible to print. But cad2reality has found a friend in Materialise’s ShrinkWrap function, which protects details like color and texture while also correcting file errors.

cad_mag4Richard Zethof, cad2reality’s owner and a 3D CAD Specialist, says that “Magics ShrinkWrap has become a must-have for architectural files. These files are so complex that you can’t deal with them without ShrinkWrap.”

So, it appears that Materialise has found the Magic(s) ticket for taking some or most of the headache out of 3D printing designs from CAD. Now architects don’t have to spend hours at the drafting board, like Mike Brady did, or designing a standard maquette to view their current projects. Instead, Materialise’s Magics ShrinkWrap function does some of this work for them– creating files that are good enough to 3D print, and then discuss in detail, if necessary! What are your thoughts on this story?  Let us know in the Magics forum thread on 3DPB.com.cad2

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