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									                   Topic Number : 103

    Morphosis Prints Models
                     By Martin Doscher
                  Date: 18 Auguest 2004
       Web Address:

                         Presented By:
Rasha Abd El-Rahman Mohamed Abd El-Rahman Moussa
Morphosis Prints Models

                          Making The Model
                          How the Model Is Used
                          Evolution of the CAD Model
                               In many architecture firms, the introduction of computer-aided design has
Morphosis Prints Models
                          resulted in less reliance on hand-crafted scale models. However in some firms,
                          CAD has enabled a happy marriage of new techniques with the old-fashioned
                              The Santa Monica, California firm of Morphosis has a long history of
                          handmade physical models and drawings. But as we began to integrate
                          computers in the practice, and as CAD models became the core medium for
                          project development, we looked for a way to produce high-quality physical
                          models that would remain consistent with the digital models.
                              In 2000, we acquired our first 3D printer, from the Z Corporation. This      Before 2000, Morphosis's models, such as this one
                          device provides a direct link between the CAD model and the physical output.     for the Nara, Japan Convention Center, were almost
                                                                                                           entirely handmade.
                          We build digital models using form-Z or TriForma, and the data drives the        Photo: Morphosis
                          printer to create physical models.
Morphosis Prints Models   Introduction
Morphosis Prints Models        Making The Model

                               It takes us about a day to prepare a digital model for printing —
                          breaking it into appropriate pieces, carving voids into solids to save
                          material, and subtracting parts that will be built manually in other
                          materials. Then we facet the CAD model into a triangulated mesh and
                          convert it to a stereolithography- (STL-) format file. The 3D printer comes      An urban-scale model in the process of powder removal
                          with its own software that sections the STL file horizontally into 0.004-inch    after production on a 3D printer.
                                                                                                           Photo: Morphosis
                          (0.1-millimeter) layers — the thickness of the plaster powder we use.
                                  The 3D printer spreads one thin layer of powder over the print
                          bed, then passes over the powder just as an inkjet printer head passes over
                          paper. Where the digital model indicates a solid, the printer, using a
                          modified inkjet printer cartridge, injects the binder cyanoacrylate.

                                                                                                          A designer in the Morphosis shop preparing a 3D printer for
                                                                                                          Photo: Morphosis
                               Making The Model
                              After one pass, the print bed lowers by one thickness of powder, and the
Morphosis Prints Models
                          printer spreads another layer of powder and jets another pass of binder. The
                          cycle continues until the top layer of the model has been printed. This process
                          takes about five hours for a 6- by 6- by 6-inch (15- by 15- by 15-centimeter-)
                          model. The actual time depends on the solid volume of the physical model.
                              When the printing is completed, a 6-inch- (15-centimeter-) tall model is
                          immersed 6 inches (15-centimeters) deep in powder. Raising the print bed, you
                          remove the "part" and vacuum-clean out the excess powder, which can be sifted
                          and reused.
                              Morphosis has adopted the practice of baking the newly "printed" model in
                                                                                                                   In designing the Cooper Union New Academic Building
                          a small oven for about an hour at 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees                     in New York, Morphosis built a 1:1000 context model
                                                                                                                   with multiple plug-in design schemes.
                          Centigrade) to finish its curing. If parts are still fragile after baking, we manually   Photo: Morphosis
                          apply a coating of epoxy or cyanoacrylate to stiffen them.
                              Making The Model
                              After printing, about 20 percent of our models need touching up. But
Morphosis Prints Models
                          only 5 percent are unusable, so we consider our success rate to be high.
                               The firm's designers have learned to anticipate the needs of the physical
                          model, making, for instance, pieces no thinner than 1/10 inch (2.5
                               The process of finishing a 3D-printed model varies according to one's
                          stylistic preference. Morphosis' plaster models are typically primed with a few
                          coats of gray spray epoxy paint and finished with one coat of spray epoxy.
                          We have also experimented with gilding with silver leaf, and plating in
                          copper and nickel baths, then oxidizing the finish to achieve a rich patina.      The 3D-printed model of Diamond Ranch High School after a
                                                                                                            copper bath and patina.
                                                                                                            Photo: Morphosis
                                How the Model Is Used
                              We commonly use 3D-printed models for site studies. Morphosis prints
Morphosis Prints Models
                          context models at a scale of 1:200, and leaves a hole in the model base where the
                          building would be. These site models are sent around the globe to our clients
                          and design team partners.
                              As design progresses and multiple schemes are developed in parallel, scale
                          building models are "printed" and sent to the remote locations. The recipients
                          can insert the new designs into the hole in the base model to study the design
                          variation in context. Because these models can be printed relatively quickly, it is
                          practical to provide weekly updates.
                               Morphosis often "prints" many variants of a parametric model, with slight        The unfinished 3D-printed model of Diamond Ranch High
                                                                                                                School in Pomona, California.
                          differences, to study design changes. Being able to see two versions side by side     Photo: Morphosis
                          is sometimes more informative than viewing two renderings. It enables us to
                          examine spatial detail at eye level.
                               How the Model Is Used
                              We also make larger-scale "exploded" or diagrammatic models. Now that
Morphosis Prints Models
                          we develop more information within the CAD model, finer granularity of the
                          physical model is feasible. We sometimes "print" parts of buildings at 1:50, so
                          we can view them both assembled, to study the exterior, and pulled apart, to
                          study the interior spaces.
                               We also produce structural details to study in collaboration with engineers,
                          detailers, and contractors. Steel detailers using Tekla Xsteel software can give us
                          their digital models, which we can import into CAD and prepare for 3D
                          printing. These models help us reach a consensus that would be more difficult
                          to achieve from drawings.                                                             An "exploded" 1:100 scale model for a competition for Perth
                                                                                                                Amboy High School, New Jersey.
                                                                                                                Photo: Morphosis
                              Evolution of the CAD Model
                              One benefit of developing designs in CAD for in-house model fabrication
Morphosis Prints Models
                          has been that the Morphosis designers have necessarily improved the
                          accuracy of their CAD modeling. And because they spend less time building
                          physical models, they can spend more time on design thinking.
                                These models have become the primary medium for studying the
                          building's geometry, while drawings have become secondary. Morphosis is
                          increasingly working in direct collaboration with building component
                          fabricators — for structural and miscellaneous steel and for interior and
                          exterior cladding.                                                            A Morphosis CAD model integrating a digital model from a steel
                                                                                                        Image: Morphosis
                              We are exploring ways to further develop the same digital models to
                          extract more detailed information, such as steel centerlines and cladding
                          panel sizes and configurations

                                                                                                         Perched on top of a computer monitor displaying a CAD detail is
                                                                                                         a "3D-printed" model of a related detail.
                                                                                                         Photo: Morphosis
                                Evolution of the CAD Model
                              We're learning that design models need to be adaptable to various output
Morphosis Prints Models
                          methods. What works as input for a 3D-printed 1:100 scale model does not
                          work for a full-scale steel plasma cutter. We plan to take advantage of the 3D
                          printer's mold-printing capabilities, to make it more efficient to cast metal
                             Just as we apply methods to analyze our CAD models for structure,
                          energy, and lighting, we also want to analyze material properties. Digital
                          analysis of curvature and thickness needs to be available to the designer in
                          near-real time.
                              As the collaborative relationship between design team and
                                                                                                           A group explores interior and exterior spaces of the Wayne L.
                          detailer/fabricator evolves, we also need to learn to transfer the knowledge     Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, using a 1:100 model
                          gained from one project to the next. It is imperative that we have tools that    on a clear laser-cut base.
                                                                                                           Photo: Morphosis
                          enhance the designer's ability not only to conceive complex forms, but also to
                          think intelligently about how the final product is made.
Morphosis Prints Models   Q&A

                           Thank You for Listening

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