Spatial Engineering Information Through 3D CAD And 3D Printed Models
Spatial Engineering Information Through 3D CAD And 3D Printed Models

Poor engineering information provided to construction crews results in inefficient communication of design, leading to construction rework, disputes, and lower worker morale. The resulting errors, omissions, and misinterpretations indicate that a significant opportunity exists to improve the traditional documentation of engineering information that craft professionals use to complete their work.

Historically, physical three-dimensional (3D) models built by hand provided 3D physical representations of the project to assist in sequencing, visualization, and planning of critical construction activities.

This practice has greatly diminished since the adoption of three-dimensional CAD (computer-aided design) and BIM (building information modeling) technologies. Recently, additive manufacturing technologies have allowed for three-dimensional printing of 3D Print Gosford.


The effectiveness of 2D drawings, a 3D computer model, and a 3D printed model in delivering engineering information to an end-user are scientifically measured.


The 3D printed model outperformed the 2D drawings and 3D computer interface in productivity and workload measures.

A physical model can improve communication of spatial design for certain tasks. This could lead to improved productivity, reduction of errors, and better quality for construction tasks. This paper’s primary contribution to the body of knowledge is that it identifies how different mediums of engineering information impact the communication of spatial engineering information.

Information delivery and its effect on construction productivity

While the U.S. construction industry comprises 5.4% of the overall U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Bureau of Economic Analysis; and Huesman et al., it lags the rest of the economy in terms of productivity measurement and improvement (Goodrum et al.

Due to changes in real output and differences in accounting procedures, there is no isolated industry-level measure of labor productivity (Bureau of Labor Statistics, although recently the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has developed an aggregate multifactor productivity measure for the combined agricultural, mining, and construction industries (Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Regardless of this recent advancement, an isolated productivity index for the U.S. construction industry makes it difficult to track progress, benchmark, and measure the effects of governmental and industrial policies across the construction industry.

However, at a project level, productivity figures are more diligently kept, although still inconsistently company to company. With profit margins near 3%, firms must do what they can to track their performance and make necessary changes (Cooper and Lee. A major contributor to the overall productivity is the execution of workforce practices.

If construction practitioners are not equipped with the necessary tools, information, materials, and equipment to effectively perform their tasks, the productivity of the project will be negatively affected. This research presents insights into how different mediums, specifically two-dimensional drawings, three-dimensional computer models, and three-dimensional physical models, of engineering information influence the performance of task execution.


Traditionally, two-dimensional drawings (commonly referred to as blueprints) are the spatial and technical communication media for all project participants (Gould and Joyce. Drawings are presented in a variety of formats including plan views, elevations, detailed sections, and isometrics. Individual drawings are often scaled, list dimensions, and frequently reference other sheets to help provide the user a representation of the final design intent from all viewpoints.


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