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Essays, Studies, and Works


Creating physical models and prototypes has traditionally been a part of various fields of design and design education. These models serve multiple purposes, including providing a demonstrative form of the final project and feedback for revision and improvement within the design process. Models have traditionally been constructed by hand using a variety of materials.

The use of computer-aided design or CAD has changed the design process, as many designers now think through the computer. CAD has been claimed to narrow the gap between representation and building (Ryder, Ion, Green, Harrison, & Wood, 2002). Also known as virtual models, the major drawback to CAD models is that the depth analysis is limited to the representation on the screen and may not include true perspective representation (Eggert, 2005; Ryder et al. 2002). In the 1980s, the manufacturing industry began developing what has evolved into rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, and three-dimensional (3D) printing technology. This technology has provided the ability for designers and engineers to create 3D physical models from 3D computer models. Complex models and ideas can be formulated on the computer with the usage of three dimensional CAD applications. These tools allow designers to experiment with forms without requiring the use of a physical model. A key advantage is the ability of the software to allow the comparison of concepts without having to create additional models from the beginning (Haik, 2003; Kvan & Kolarevic, 2002).

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©2011-2012 Scott Greenhalgh and Paul Schreuders



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