Considered futuristic at the beginning of the century, this innovative technology has become an essential tool for landscaping sales. More and more landscaping companies and public authorities have adopted it.
A lizard being printed
© Photo credit: zyabich / Adobe Stock
3D printing – a soon-to-be essential technology
Since the 2010s, 3D printing or additive manufacturing has always been in the news and is in fact one of the new technologies born in science-fiction novels before becoming reality, like drones and virtual reality.
This new process builds up volumes by superimposing layers of wax, plastic, metal, etc. based on the 3D model of an object designed using CAD (Computer Assisted Design) software.
As 3D printing makes it possible to create very precise and absolutely detailed objects quickly, it was initially used to make prototypes and models before being applied in other fields including:
- the printing of houses;
- the creation of prostheses, orthoses and implants;
- the conversion of 2D paintings into 3 dimensions for the blind;
- the machining of parts used in air and space craft;
- and there are even self-replicating 3D printers!
This technology is used more and more widely and is now on landscape designers’ desks.
4 good reasons for using 3D printing in landscaping
Prototyping for R&D
All the landscaping companies which show their inventions in the Paysalia Innovations space say the same thing. That the prototyping phase can be exhausting! Between the host of changes and corrections needed and the endless discussions with the person in charge of producing the prototypes, it is easy to understand why some good ideas never come to fruition. But with 3D printing this is no longer the case as the R&D phase is much shorter, reducing research costs. 63% of the companies which use 3D printing for their R&D noted a significant impact on their turnover (1). Interesting new horizons for even the smallest landscaping companies!
Model a landscape in 3D
3D printing is an ideal way to visualize surfaces on plots of land to avoid problems - and also to help landscape designers sell! Just like virtual reality, proposing a landscaping project prospects can see dispels doubts. A winning strategy, used in particular by landscape architect Kurt Kraisinger who uses this innovation for top-of-the-range projects.
Print spare parts
A landscaping equipment breakdown can happen quickly and replacing defective parts can take several days. With 3D printing, making spare parts on the spot is a dream come true! For professional materiel suppliers, 3D printing guarantees efficient and ultra-rapid after-sales service doing away with huge inventories.
Create customized garden furniture and decorations
Now you can create the perfect furniture for your landscape without having to consult reams of catalogs to find the best references for your project. This is what landscape designer Scott Bishop did in 2014 when designing customized benches for the Harvard University campus via eight prototyping phases. 3D printing extends horizons for landscape designers and public authorities!
Landscapers should look closely into 3D printing. Although top-of-the-range 3D printers are expensive (several thousand dollars), prices are falling (to a few hundred dollars). Possibilities are almost infinite and manufacturers’ interest in this technology ensures fast market growth.
(1) Sculpteo: The State of 3D Printing (pdf)