With ever changing technology in the 3d Arch Viz world, 3d printing has now become an important part of a visualization artist's toolkit. It makes sense, because theoretically the same models artists use for 3d illustrations and animations can be used to create a 3d print. In practice, however, it does not always work this way. Don't get me wrong. In an architect's office, the visulization guys are probably the most well equipped people to start making 3d prints, but there are many special considerations that will be unique to printing, even for them.
There are many different things to consider when trying to 3d print from architecture. Be warned, there IS a learning curve, and printers that claim to be simple, out of the box solutions, are probably exaggerating just a little bit. The following links will provide some good information about what you need to know, from what printer to chose to how to make a good model.
First, here is a video demonstrating what the printer looks like while working. Note: these videos apply specifically to the MakerBot Replicator 2x, which is one of the more common printers used in architecture.
Pretty nifty, right?
Now, here is an internal video that was used to demonstrate proper practices for 3d printing buildings.
And Finally, here is the complete write-up on 3d printing for architecture. This article will explain all the things you need to consider, including which type of printer to buy. It also has some cool images of miniature buildings that have been printed. Keep in mind that the models you see here are all created using 3dsMax and sometimes MudBox. The link is here: