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Engineer plans his apartment floor layout by 3D-printing a scale model

Anyone who has ever moved to a new apartment with furniture they already own will have spent a moment worrying about whether everything will fit in their new living space.

That’s the situation engineer Craig Broady recently found himself in when he relocated to a new apartment, boasting smaller rooms and plenty of awkward wall angles. Fortunately, as an employee of leading 3D printing company Formlabs, he had a leg up on most other people.

“I had some furniture, but not everything, and I wanted to figure out how to get the apartment as complete as possible when I moved in, without buying anything that was too big,” Broady told Digital Trends. “One of my co-workers commented, half-jokingly, that I could model and print everything — and then rearrange it myself. I maybe took him a little too seriously because I did exactly that.”

More: Formlabs Form 2 review

That’s right: Using cloud-based CAD program Onshape, a Formlabs Form 2 SLA 3D printer, and some recycled cardboard, Broady designed and printed an exact 1:25 scale replica of his new apartment, complete with all the furniture he either owned or was considering buying. According to Broady, he created all the assets himself — with the exception of a mini espresso machine and cat which he found online.

The amount of detail is impressive, but Broady said that the pieces actually took relatively little time to go from concept to CAD to physical model. In its finished form, it’s a neat example of 3D printing in action — and while not all of us will necessarily go as far as to build scale models of our future homes, it’s great to know that it’s an option.

So how did Broady’s measurements pan out when he actually moved into his new apartment?

“Fortunately everything fit exactly as planned,” he said. “It was useful to be able to plan in advance how to fit some really tight space objects, like the cat’s litter box, between the wall and the radiator in the kitchen. Aside from the color and scale, everything looked the same in reality as it did in my model.”