SAN FRANCISCO—Design and engineering software firm Autodesk plans to expand its San Francisco office space as the demand for 3D modeling and printing grows.

The company says will open a 27,000-square-foot office space on Pier 9, just off the Embarcadero near the new Exploratorium, that will become home to, among other things, the advanced robotics workshop and labs that research nanotechnologies and synthetic biology, the San Francisco Chronicle reports on its website.

Autodesk is still headquartered in San Rafael but has tripled its San Francisco workforce and in the past five years, the Chronicle says.  Once the Pier 9 and 108,000-square-foot space at One Market are completed and occupied, sometime in mid-2014, Autodesk says it will increase the company’s San Francisco footprint to more than 287,000 square feet.

The company develops a range of software, like AutoCad, for designing and modeling everything from skyscrapers to videogame graphics. But one of the most intriguing applications for its software is 3D printing.

“Not unlike LaserJet printers, 3D printers are going to end up in everyone’s house,” said Autodesk chief marketing officer Chris Bradshaw.

However, a report from consultancy Deloitte at the start of 2012 still advised caution when praising the technology: “Although 3D printers hold considerable promise, one must be wary of the hype surrounding the technology.” It goes on to point out that economies of scale and difficulty printing complex objects, like circuitry, are holding back the technology.

Click San Francisco Chronicle for the full story.