Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010 4:00 AM

BURLINGTON, Mass., USA - Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology School of Architecture students are using the ZPrinter® 650 multicolor 3D printer to produce a high, steady volume of concept models from the first days of a course through final project deadlines. The single printer supports more than 50 undergraduate and graduate students from the school's design studio and technology seminar classes.

The Royal Institute selected the ZPrinter 650 because of its ability to produce models up to five times faster and for about one-tenth of the materials cost of competing technologies the school evaluated. "Speed and affordability are critical to students, who need a constant flow of models to provide them with sensory feedback on their work," said Daniel Norell, lecturer at the Royal Institute of Technology School of Architecture. "This feedback loop helps them fully understand their designs and revise productively, ultimately producing a superior final product."

The ZPrinter's speed, combined with its large build size (10 x 15 x 8 inches, or 254 x 381 x 203 mm), enables the school to produce models at a high rate, even during finals when the printer is operating around-the-clock.

ZPrinting also helps Royal Institute architecture students learn the principles of fabrication technology, which often has been slighted in architecture education. Since the ZPrinter is the industry's most highly automated 3D printer, students can handle the entire printing process with minimal training. This understanding infuses an architect's work with valuable design intelligence.

ZPrinting is also helping deepen students' understanding of high academic concepts like performative design. Performative design holds that performance - not representation or symbolism - is paramount in driving a building's design. The discipline yields forms of staggering organic complexity that can be created only with the help of software and fabrication technology like 3D printing.

"It would be impossible to handcraft these forms," said Norell. "ZPrinting produces them quickly and effortlessly in a way that's analogous to actual building fabrication processes like contour crafting with concrete."

The biggest benefit, however, may be the value of holding a model in your hand. "Although architects think spatially," Norell says, "it never ceases to impress me that every time they see a design in three dimensions, they gain so much more understanding than is possible to gain from spinning around a virtual model in CAD software."

About Z Corporation

Z Corporation makes products that enable users to capture, edit, and print 3D data with unprecedented speed, ease, versatility and affordability. These products include the world's fastest high-definition 3D printers - machines that produce physical 3D models from digital data in multiple colors - and uniquely portable 3D scanners - handheld machines that digitize 3D surfaces in real time. Z Corp. technology is enabling a wide range of applications in manufacturing, architecture, civil engineering, reverse engineering, geographic information systems (GIS), medicine and entertainment.

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