In what may be an industry first, Utah-based builder Cutting Edge Pools is using 3-D printer technology to help customers visualize a pool project, and thus help the company sell pools. Using the services of 3-D printing company WhiteClouds, the builder was able to model a massive custom backyard waterpark designed and rendered using 3-D printing. The idea was to create a detailed model that would show the clients what their outdoor spaces would look like in full relief well ahead of the expensive construction process.

In order to create the model, WhiteClouds integrated multiple software platforms including Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Maya and Enroute. In all, the process took only a week and a half with the actual printing taking just under six hours. Completed May 18, the 5-by-4 foot model depicted in stunning detail what the completed project would look like, including the subtle colored sandstone material that would be used as a primary finish material throughout the project.

Much to the delight of both WhiteClouds and Cutting Edge Pools, the model did the trick. The homeowners commissioned the pool based on the model, resulting in a stunningly beautiful and complex 60-by-40 foot aquatic masterpiece.

The expense of such an elaborate design rendering will likely make the practice a rare occurrence — for now. But there's little doubt that as 3-D printing advances and costs inevitably drop, 3-D renderings will someday become part of the aquatic design landscape. Based on the apparent success of this design, that time may be coming sooner than previously thought.