If you sell new construction, you're probably familiar with the CAD files used by builders to design the home, and you've probably experienced the frustration of helping home buyers imagine the look of the home from those files. If one company has its way, you may be able to turn those files into 3-D models of homes soon.
The Plan Collection hosts floor plans for over 20,000 homes created by a variety of architects. The company is moving forward with a plan to include data so that 3-D printers can create miniature versions of the homes that will fit on a desk or table, giving buyers a better impression of the layout of the home.
So far, the company has released a CAD file of a 3,300-square-foot home with six bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. "Many home owners have a tough time visualizing how floors stack on top of each other," The Plan Collection says in a press release. "The to-scale model allows users to quickly understand how these floors work together as a whole."
3-D printers use Computer-Assisted Design files to create miniature models by melting and extruding plastic, building up layers to create full surfaces. Along with the benefits to buyers, the company touts improvements such as the ability to visualize all angles of a home both inside and out and to test the orientation of a home on a property to optimize sunlight in the home.
The Plan Collection compares the state of 3-D printing now with the evolution of PCs that were invented in the '70s and mobile phones that first appeared in the '80s. The technology is currently most popular with craftmakers and hardware tinkerers, but it has the potential to impact hundreds of different industries.