FDM technology and high performance and strength thermoplastics such as ABSi or ULTEM are ideal for making load-bearing architectural models which will frequently be handled. The materials are highly UV resistant, retain materials properties and do not warp over extended design and display and use life-spans.
FDM allows the construction of fine detail with 0.1% accuracy. It also allows thin walls, overhangs, internal cavities and hollows and complex shapes for complete modelling of the final structure, rather than the traditional part model-making techniques which used skilled model-makers using low strength plastic sheeting and foam core. Parts can be made whole or using separate sub-assemblies allowing for internal views and re-arrangement or bonded into large structures, while fine layers and post-processing can permit required cosmetic finishes.
Weight can be reduced while retaining structural integrity by using Sparse Wall building techniques, while the best cosmetic finish without any post-processing can be achieved by using the highest resolution files and the finest application layers in build.
Since design phase architectural models are subject to frequent change, FDM is more responsive in producing iterations of models producing commensurate lead time and cost reductions.