In the oil and gas industry, designs of large scale installations such as derrick sand rigs are often large scale highly detailed models similar to complex architecture. 3D FDM printing technology and high performance and strength thermoplastics such as ABSi or ULTEM are ideal for making load-bearing architectural models which will frequently be handled. The materials are highly UV resistant, retain materials properties and do not warp over extended design and display and use life-spans.
FDM allows the construction of fine detail with 0.1% accuracy. It also allows thin walls, overhangs, internal cavities and hollows and complex shapes for complete modelling of the final structure, rather than the traditional part model-making techniques which used skilled model-makers using low strength plastic sheeting and foam core.