Jul.12, 2013

Today 3D Printing helps architectural firms quickly and accurately produce complex, durable models in-house, directly from CAD data. Since 2009, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has been using 3D printing to make models of all the buildings of the city of Chicago. The idea is to encourage people to discover the spaces, places, and structures that shape Chicago and all communities, and to inspire people to imagine the future of metropolitan regions everywhere.

After consulting model makers in the U.S. and China, Columbian Model & Exhibit Works, located downtown Chicago, was selected as a partner.

The data describing all the spaces and structures in Chicago were acquired from several sources. Using Google SketchUp, the designer at Columbian Model compares the 3D files with aerial photographs to confirm the form & features of each building.

The 3D models are fixed in the computer and then sent to 3D printer. A stereolithography machine builds each model layer by layer as a shell rather than a solid block. Then the completed building model is removed from the 3D printer and placed in an ultraviolet lightbox to cure the resin. Afterwards the 3D printed buildings are primed, sanded, and then painted with the final color.

The work-in-progress Chicago model takes up 320 square feet of space and consists of 3D-printed models of over 1,000 buildings. It took about 20 hours to print the model of the 17-story Santa Fe Building, where CAF is located. And the whole Chicago model took about 1,600 hours of printing.

CAF is working on plans for an expanded Chicago model with enhanced features. The model will be a permanent legacy devoted to understanding the Chicago region.

Check out the video below about this 3D printed Chicago.

Watch below the final set up of city of Chicago model.


Source: Chicago Architecture Foundation

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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