In the frame

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South Korean model making bureau Modelzium turned to 3D printing to produce higher quality models, and cut production costs by 30%-50%.

South Korean model making bureau Modelzium used to use manual techniques and CNC machines to produce architectural models. But this process required painful compromises.

Modelzium 3D printed scale models. Created on an Objet Eden350

“We would often omit some parts that required fine details, such as spheres, oval shapes, or thin parts,” says Yang Ho Park, CEO at Modelzium.

This limitation became more critical as South Korean architectural firms started integrating typical designs in more and more of their work — requiring the modelling of non-geometrical shapes with irregular contours.

In order to keep up with industry trends, Modelzium had to be able to model complex designs with highly accurate details.

Modelzium also realised that relying on manual modelling techniques was not scalable and was limiting its growth.

Looking forward, the company needed to streamline and automate its process to enable it to expand its modelling business.

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Despite the investment required, Modelzium decided to purchase a Stratasys Eden350 3D Printer.

“We were particularly impressed by the fine details and smooth surface finish of the printed models,” Mr Yang Ho said. “Stratasys’ pricing was quite competitive compared to the alternative we examined.”

Modelzium switched overnight from manual to automated modelling.

“The operation of the printer is so easy and convenient that we use it frequently for all jobs — including for parts that can be easily done by hand,” said Mr Yang Ho. “Compared to our previous CNC modelling, where we had to rely on skilled CNC engineers, now all our staff can use the 3D printer with very little training.”

The firm estimates it has cut its model production costs by 30%-50%. Importantly, Stratasys has allowed Modelzium to stop compromising on model accuracy and detail. “If in the past we used to ‘cut corners’ and spend a significant amount of time finding ways to handle complex designs, now there is no architectural design we cannot handle — including those with the highest level of detail,” Mr Yang Ho said.

“We recently completed a highly detailed model of a safari zoo, which required modelling realistic topography and animals involving fine details. We would not have been able to win this project without the Stratasys 3D Printer.”

Compared to the previous CNC method, turnaround time for model delivery has been reduced by 30% for standard designs, and by 50% for the more complex atypical designs.

Modelzium can now deliver complete architectural models during the early stages of the design, and follow up with multiple model iterations that can be provided with a quick turnaround.

“When we compete with other firms on getting modelling projects, our new 3D printing abilities definitely provide us with a competitive edge,” Mr Yang Ho said.

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