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Intelligent scaling service for 3D printed architectural models

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AdiScale (Intelligent scaling service for 3D printed architectural models)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2017-10-31

The overall goal for the innovation project was to offer a 3D model scaling service for 3D print service bureaus and architectural offices. Architects use 3D printed scale models (e.g. 1:100) to showcase projects. Current state-of-the-art software cannot automatically convert the architects’ 3D drawings to a 3D printable scale model, because this typically creates features that are too small to print. The main barrier to manufacturing 3D printed scale models is not the equipment, but rather the weeks and trouble it takes to perform the scaling. The potential demand is several hundreds of thousands of scale models per year, and even the current demand indicates a market potential of tens of millions of euros per year.

From a societal point of view, an increased access and use of scale models will create a better foundation for decision makers – both for visual models, but also models for physical simulations, such as flood/rain modelling.

The objective of the feasibility study was to adjust and elaborate our business plan by establishing test agreements with several print service bureaus and by evaluating the business potential directly through paid scaling jobs. Furthermore, we wanted to perform a freedom to operate analysis and use the test scalings to further mature the prototype.
We tested our value proposition by collecting market intelligence from customers and end-users through cold calling and physical interviews. The market intelligence was supplemented with a validation of the quality level of our service by performing test scalings for partnering service bureaus. A bureau agreed to deliver three examples of previously, manually prepared models. Comparing the outcome of their manual scalings with our semi-automated scalings permitted aligning the required quality level.

In order to be able to more broadly showcase our service, we created a simple website with a visualization of a publicly available architectural 3D model, where the user could compare versions of the model before and after intelligent scaling.

We established full workflow and information exchange interfaces for selling and delivering scaled models for two different business model setups.
It was ensured that we have freedom to operate.
Our scaling service can intelligently scale architectural models such that they are 3D printable. This opposes to current state-of-the-art software, which is only able to detect thin features, not selectively scale them. Today it takes several weeks to manually prepare the scale model for 3D printing and it easily costs several thousand euros. Our intelligent scaling service, which selectively scales features, can speed up this process drastically.
Example model, automatically fixed and small features selectively enlarged to minimum print size