What is Rapid Prototyping in Architectural Model Making?
At the early stage of model making, a sketch must be produced in order to study the different aspects of your planned design. Then, a model is resembled crudely and rapidly in order to get urgent feedback. This model is called a rapid prototype (RP).
A rapid prototype, though rough, still communicates the design intent that you want to send to the viewers. It is often represented by technologies that are able to make virtual models like CAD systems. As structural forms become increasingly complex, model makers tend to look for easier alternatives to manual work. Using computers for design is that alternative!
The aim of rapid prototyping technology is to reduce the time and skill needed to create a model. It integrates design data in every stage of the product development. Commercialized RP is has led to the following:
- Selective photocuring: This means turning resin into solid under heat or light. While you are melting a liquid resin into solid, you can form it into a shape that you desire.
- Selective sintering: This is used to selectively fuse or melt powder particles to form a section of your model.
- Deposition: This is the melting a material and depositing it to form a pattern. You can do continuous or drop on drop deposition.
- Adhesion of cut sheets: This is an additive and subtractive process which you can use to contour a section of your model.
Though RP technologies seem to make everything easier, they face several issues. For one, the models look homogeneous, so you can’t highlight a part of the model. The finish can be rough and in need of further treatment. Lastly, there is the lack of experience of architects. Handling and controlling RP devices can’t be mastered directly.
For many reasons, the RP is still not widely used by model makers and architects. However, there’s no doubt that the time will come when it will be.