How to Use 3D Printing in Interior Design



For an interior designer, the idea of using 3D printing invites both excitement and fear. Given that it’s such a novel technology that most people don’t understand well, it’s a little difficult to get used to the very concept of it. Also known as additive manufacturing, it’s supposed to help us create 3D designs that we make on our computers by using special printers. It does so by slowly layering special materials into a shape we’ve built in 3D making programs, and it can give us entirely unique pieces that no one has ever seen before.

The only limit of this technology is our imagination, so an aspiring interior designer has much to gain by pushing boundaries and exploring the world of 3D printing. If you want to learn more about it and start creating incredible things, here are some of the ways you can utilize it.

What exactly is it and what can you use it for

As we’ve said, the basics can be boiled down to layering very thin layers on top of each other until an object is built. This kind of technology has been around ever since the 1980s, but it wasn’t before 2009. that it became commercially available, and thus, very popular. Its uses are practically unlimited, and people are still finding new ways to utilize 3D printing every day. It’s very important in medicine, where building custom prosthetics has revolutionized orthopedics, but it’s also popular among artists and interior designers who love to experiment.

How to Use 3D Printing in Interior Design | AGM Home Store

 

If you want to build your own unique, futuristic furniture this is exactly the thing to use, but you can also make things like sculptures, walls, wall decorations, and frames.

Where to find 3D printers

For a beginner, it’s a good idea to first try out 3D printers before you commit to buying one. They are expensive and there’s a steep learning curve to using them, so instead of spending money on a technology that might not appeal to you, try them out. Visit places like Makerspace or Fablab where there will be people who can show you exactly how they work, and you can try your hand at creating something yourself.

Of course, you also need to think about how much will you be using your 3D printer. If you only need a few small parts made to fit into a bigger project, or you only wish to use it sparingly, then it’s a good idea to simply hire 3D printing services. You can send them your design, and they’ll send it back to your address and it’ll be ready for use.

If you do like these printers and think they’re a worthwhile investment, bear in mind that there are different printing technologies and which one you get will depend on your needs. You can read more about them here, and choose which one to buy based on your skillset. You can also make your own designs and cooperate with people who know how to work one of these machines to achieve the best possible result. In general, only buy it for yourself if you know what you’re doing and plan to make it a regular part of your art or your business.

Materials you can use

There are actually many options for you to choose from! Polyamide-based plastic is one of the most common ones, and it’s the kind of material that offers a lot of flexibility and durability for a designer. Plastic materials are generally popular, but we wouldn’t recommend using the regular ABS that most home printers use. Ceramic, gypsum, and even gold and silver can be used for the same purpose, and they’ll give you a really nice opportunity to make some beautiful pieces to ornament a home.

3D Printing Materials For Interior Design  | AGM Home Store

 

As for sturdier materials, titanium and stainless steel are great options, and they can even be used in construction. If you find the right printer you’ll also have the option to color them in different metallic shades such as copper and old bronze. Of course, plastic can definitely be a good, sturdy, inexpensive option, especially if you increase the printer density. If you want, you can always make different parts from different materials, and then match them until you’ve created the perfect piece to use in your design.

Lightweighting

Lightweighting might be a concept that people usually relate to the auto industry, but it’s possible in 3D printing as well. It basically means finding ways to create an object that’s as light as it can possibly be while still maintaining its functionality. This is entirely possible (and even easy) when creating 3D objects, especially because you can fully customize parts and make things that would otherwise be completely impossible with standard manufacturing methods. Engineers are slowly starting to utilize this in aerospace, aviation, automotive, and motor industries, but designers can benefit from it as well. Making light, easy-to-carry furniture that happens to also be sturdy is a great way to make a lasting design.  

Which program to use to create designs

In all honesty, you’ve probably already used a few programs that could aid you in creating your own models. CAD software is basically the bread and butter of 3D printing, and you can use various programs to suit your purpose. AutoCAD, Cura, Slic3r, MeshLab, Vectary, 3D Slash, FreeCAD, and OnShape are just a few examples, so try downloading one of these and start experimenting. Make a few designs and take them to get printed, or look at a few tutorials if you want some help getting down the basics. Just take a look at some of these tutorials for a few simple household items. If you can make something as beautiful as a unique vase or a candle holder, imagine what you could do with actual furniture?

Custom designs

The future lies in 3D printing because it basically gives us the opportunity for bespoke designs. Not only are you free to create whatever your mind can conjure, but you can completely customize the design for your customer and work together with them to create exactly the kind of room they’ve always dreamed about.

3D Design Offers Flexibility for Interior Designers and Decorators | AGM Home Store

 

One of the bigger limitations of 3D printing is that it currently cannot be used to create fabrics and soft materials, so bear that in mind when designing your new couch. You can print your frame and any solid parts you might need, but if you want to add cushions then you need to shop around to find the perfect ones. Things like tables and chairs, however, are quick and easy to make, and you can let your imagination go free and really create futuristic shapes that can be either intricate or quite simple. Just take a look at these chairs and how quirky and interesting they are.

Limitations to 3D Printing for Interior Design | AGM Home Store

 

The best part about this whole thing is that it’s very polished, neat, and that the things you make can be very exact and always turn out the way you imagined them. You can also combine 3D printing and traditional pieces, so your interiors could be a blend of modern and rustic. Why not design a room with a fun sci-fi vibe, or simply use custom-designed bits as mere accent pieces. It’s also possible to add custom furniture parts to pre-assembled things, so you could, for example, end up with a chair with some unique hand rests, or make a table with specifically designed legs. You can control how much of this technology you use in your own work.

Making miniatures

And here we come to the most marketable part of 3D printing – miniatures. Instead of imagining something and trying to explain it to your clients, why not make it instead? A smaller version of the sculpture you plan to place in their living room goes a long way in showing them how everything will tie together, and you no longer have to rely on vague drawings and pictures.

3D Printing Miniatures for Interior Design

 

Imagine if you had the chance to make a miniature dollhouse version of the apartment you wanted to build? It’s an impressive way to get through to the people you design for, and it gives you a lot of liberty to arrange and rearrange things in any way you want.

While some designers might not like the whole futuristic vibe of 3D printing, it’s impossible to deny all the benefits and customization options it brings. This is something for those who are brave and willing to experiment, and while it requires you to learn 3D CAD programs and using these slightly complicated printers, the effort is worthwhile. Enjoy exploring this creative new world and push the boundaries of your vision – this can only lead to success.


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