Oct 17, 2017 | By Benedict

Finland-based 3D printing startup Platonics has launched an Indiegogo campaign for the “Ark,” billed as the first 3D printer for architects. Earliest backers can secure the basic version of the FDM 3D printer for €2,095 ($2,465).

It’s been two years in the making, but Platonics’ Ark 3D printer is now up and running, and ready for Indiegogo backers to snap up. The printer, which is the subject of a €50,000 ($58,850) campaign, is designed “to make 3D printing easy, efficient, and fast for architects.”

Just to clarify things at the get-go, this is a 3D printer made for the creation of scale models, not real buildings. But making models is an incredibly important process for architects, helping them bring their ideas to life, either to spur on further creative development or to impress a prospective client.

“A model in three dimensions says more than a thousand renderings and drawings,” Platonics explains. “However, traditional modeling often takes a lot of effort and time, and is mostly done only once or twice during a project. With 3D printing you can use scale models at every stage of your design process, efficiently.”

Helsinki-based Platonics thinks its new Ark 3D printer is better equipped than other machines on the market for making these scale models.

Why? Well, for starters, the project has received input from a wide range of architectural voices, with Platonics conducting “hundreds of talks with architects all over the world and a piloting period with five of the leading Finnish architecture offices.”

These discussions and trials led the Finnish startup to tinker its 3D printer design for the benefit of those in the business of designing buildings.

For example, the 3D printer automates a lot of the technical stuff. Since most architects won’t have heaps of 3D printing experience, the Ark automatically converts CAD files into 3D printable STL files, fixing internal design errors in the process.

It also self-calibrates, self-configures, and automatically cleans itself, meaning architects have more time to think about their important ideas. Auto filament detection, a web-based app, and plug’n’play hardware also contribute to this ease of use.

When you think about it, these are all great features for novice 3D printing users in general, but the printer is being described as architecture-centric because its software and hardware essentially removes the conversion stage between CAD and STL, allowing direct compatibility with applications like Archicad, Revit, Rhino, and Vectorworks.

CAD applications like these are familiar to most architects regardless of their 3D printing experience. But because many architectural CAD designs remain on-screen as digital files or simply get printed out on paper, the ability to quickly turn these familiar formats into tangible, physical, 3D models will be seen as a big draw for many in the industry.

In fact, it's the appeal of these quickly printable 3D models that Platonics is using to really sell its new 3D printer.

“2D drawings and 3D renderings transform an idea into a project, but scale models turn a project into a reality in the mind of the beholder,” Platonics says. “Architectural models quickly communicate design concepts and allow people from different backgrounds to easily comprehend a project.”

These models can even be printed in a range of materials—not actual bricks and mortar, of course, but enough different eco-friendly filaments to produce a realistic range of textures on architectural models. At present, Platonics offers Matte, Transparent, Wood, Terracotta, Clay, Granite, Concrete, Copper, and Bronze materials.

Of course, the Ark also looks like a pretty good 3D printer for non-architects too. After all, cleaning up your own model errors isn’t especially fun, and an all-in-one package that offers to do the dirty work for you is always appealing.

The printer also offers features like automatic bed leveling, though no mention is made of a heated print bed. Minimum layer resolution is 60 microns, print head speed is 100 mm/s, and nozzle temp is 170-250°C. The printer supports 0.3 and 0.5 mm nozzle diameters.

With 25 days left of the Platonics Indiegogo campaign, things are looking pretty good for the Finnish company, with the project having raised about half of its €50,000 goal.

Backers looking to add to that total have a few options. The cheapest is the basic super early bird offer, which includes the printer and slicing software for €2,095. For €2,575, the package will also include CAD plugins for Archicad, Revit, Rhino, Vectorworks, and Sketchup. And for €2,995, backers will get all that plus a year’s worth of premium support from Platonics.

At the moment, Platonics is only shipping its 3D printer within the European Union, where it is due to arrive in May 2018.



Posted in 3D Printer



Maybe you also like:


Stefan wrote at 2/15/2019 3:11:27 AM:

Relax Max

Hendrik wrote at 10/18/2017 7:56:23 AM:

I am an architect. We already have two 3D printers in the office. The innovation here seems to be software, not hardware. Make your software available to end users. If it works as advertised, we'll buy it.

I know 3d Printing wrote at 10/17/2017 7:46:09 PM:

Wow.. take a 500 dollar incapable printer and Label it for Architects and make it 2500$. That's just ridiculous. to say that an Architect is not smart enough to operate an open source software with a decently priced 3d printer is an insult to that targeted customer.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive