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Printing 3-d front elevations

Andrew Mac

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I used to work with an architectural firm that on Xmas every year we would provide our clients with Xmas tree ornaments of their front elevation of the home we were designing or completed.  We always had the local university students help and I was not involved.  Does anyone have experience with doing this.  Is it 3-d printing or lessor cutting to achieve this.  Does anyone have examples of what they have done in the past.

I would like to start doing this do for my projects.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Honestly you could use either a 3D Printer OR a laser cutter to do something like this I suspect, even with the same file.

Unless you had a fancy shmancy marionette solution (created by cleverer folk than I) to convert a viewport into a set of 3D objects, I suspect you could take the elevation viewport, disable any classes/layers/annotations with text or dimensions, then convert that viewport to lines or polys. Then, those polygons, or polygons created from the lines, could be extruded to various heights or left hollow, giving you a flat figure with different depths to represent walls, muntins, jambs, or roofs and any other bits that might stick out from the flat face.

Going the OTHER way if you had a fill 3D model of the house already and it had a relatively shallow front face, you could just export the entire building as an STL, then slice off just the face in slicing software before sending it to the printer, but that would be dependant on how much depth the original building had as to whether it would work smoothly or not.

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