Arch Graphic is a 3D printing service company based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Founded in 2010, the company specializes in 3D printing architectural models and models for interior design, but has evolved over the last decade to offer its clients a full range of prototype and small volume production services. The foundation of the company’s service offering is based on high quality models provided at competitive prices.
To enable this core company principle of high quality with accessible prices, Arch Graphic has partnered with FELIXprinters as its key 3D printing technology supplier since 2015, when the company invested in the FELIX Pro 1 system. The quality and reliability of the machine quickly became apparent and the company has continued to build its 3D printer capacity based on FELIX Pro systems.
3DP & ARCHITECTURE
Architects have long used physical 3D scale models of their building designs to visually convey their vision. However, traditional scale models were often painstakingly built by hand, using fragile materials, such as paper and cardboard, that were barely fit for purpose, particularly in humid weather conditions such as those in the UAE region. It is not surprising, then, that the advent of 3D printing found a natural home within the architectural sector or that the demand for Arch Graphic’s services in the UAE was high. Architectural models and 3D printing are a natural fit. Indeed, this is an application area that evolved quickly, particularly as the technology matured, for producing stronger and more accurate demonstration models of an architect’s vision. In this regard, 3D printing offers a relatively fast, easy and economically viable method of producing detailed models directly from 3D CAD, BIM or other digital data that architects use. Many successful architectural firms, now commonly use 3D printing as a critical part of their workflow for increased innovation and improved communication. This latter point is a particularly critical factor for Arch Graphic as architectural design models help communicate ideas to clients, planners and stakeholders more widely.
Since its inception, the goal of Arch Graphic has been to grow its Architectural Practice by providing its clients with stunning 3D printed visual models, custom designed components, with the ability to offer fast design iterations as required. To this end, the company has successfully built its 3D Print Hub in UAE supplying clients with architectural models that not only reduce the overall process time compared with handmade models, but also offer a precise finish and superior quality, with options for safe lighting systems that can avoid heating.
Arch Graphic also offers a comprehensive model making service for interior designers, making it a one-stop-service. Here too, the benefits of 3D printing can be maximized in reducing the time and expense of producing 3D models that often require highly delicate details.
Arch Graphic has continued to build its brand through the talent and vision of its leadership, including distinguished architects Alaa Younis and Rula Kaddoura, who have worked at the state level producing superior performance 3D printed architectural scaled models for a range of prestigious projects.
Arch Graphic & FELIXprinters
In 2015 Arch Graphic was searching for a distinctive 3D printer that would meet its demanding requirements as the company continued to grow in size and reputation across the UAE. Its introduction to FELIXprinters at this time proved to be the beginning of an ongoing partnership that has been mutually beneficial. According to Alaa Younis: “The investment into the first, wonderful Felix Pro 1 was a revelation. It was exactly what we needed. Working with Wilgo [Feliksdal], who worked closely with us through installation and growth, was also a key reason for us selecting FELIXprinters as a technology partner. The introduction of the FELIX Pro systems have certainly contributed to Arch Graphic becoming distinguished in the creation of architectural models produced by 3D printing in the United Arab Emirates and the GCC as well. We have completed many 3D printed projects at the local and regional level using our Pro Series 3D printers from FELIX.”
One of the earlier 3D printing projects that Arch Graphic undertook on its FELIX Pro 3D printers at this level was the first scaled model of a new mosque that was to be built in the UAE, which was designed by the Arch Graphic team. The FELIX printers were essential to this model, in terms of the precise details involved and the quality output. The project also involved some manual assembly of the 3D printed parts — a total of 755 individual pieces were printed and assembled to produce the completed model with overall dimensions of 85 x 85 X 75 cm. Younis states that: “The accuracy and precision of the FELIX 3D printers ensured that we were able to assemble the parts of the model easily and without errors to get the end result painlessly. At first we were surprised, but quickly appreciated the capabilities of the system we were using, and the model was a huge success whereby we received many positive responses from government authorities and non-governmental companies in the UAE as a result. It’s also why we invested in more FELIX 3D printers.”
The individual pieces were produced in different colours of PLA material, to reflect the full intent of the original digital design that proposed a building that provides harmony with the surrounding area and is harmonious with that natural environment of the UAE. As such the building design, as illustrated perfectly by the physical model, is symmetrical in nature. This is all the more impressive, considering that Younis and his team printed all of the parts, utilizing just under 6 Kg of material, without the need for supports, thereby minimizing any post processing steps and wasted material. The project was completed in two weeks.
Working in Partnership
Over the last five years, FELIXprinters has become a critically important partner for Arch Graphic. Younis explains: “The FELIX team provide us with ongoing technical assistance — both directly concerning the hardware with rapid and exceptional support and also for application development to enable us to maximize the potential of the 3D printers. This was a kind of strong friendship and a strong partnership between Arch Graphic and Felix.”
He continued: “I believe our choice of FELIXprinters has been the main reason for our success with 3D printing scale architectural models and why we have been able to offer excellence to our many clients in the local market. The capabilities of the FELIX Pro systems and are partnership with the FELIX team keeps us at the forefront in our sector and region.”
Expansion & Growth
Having quickly realized the benefits that the Pro 1 offered the business in terms of the high quality, reliable and cost-effective prints, Arch Graphic rapidly added another FELIX Pro system to the company’s portfolio. Continually evolving and adding new capabilities, today Arch Graphic is distinct through its ‘unconventional’ stereoscopic service, which combines 3D printing highly detailed models, with hand finishing skills to create miniature buildings. At the other end of the scale Arch Graphic is able to produce large scale models in new ways, combining many parts into one and incorporating highly complex internal structures.
Today, the 3D printing services offered by Arch Graphic and powered by FELIX Pro 3D printing systems, is, according to Younis: “the main engine of our work.” The company’s profile and number of projects is expanding week on week, to keep pace with the urban development in the United Arab Emirates. This is also supported by the recognition of the importance of the technical field of 3D printing by the Government of Dubai.
Arch Graphic is determined to keep building on its reputation and develop new projects in the short and long term across the UAE, and fundamental to this is the continued strong partnership with FELIXprinters.