Jan 28, 2016 | By Tess

The Manhattan skyline is one of the most iconic cityscapes in the world, being featured time and time again in films, and forever being photographed by both tourists and professionals alike. From the famous Empire State Building, to the stately Chrysler building, to Grand Central Station, there is undeniably something special about New York’s buildings and skyline, though until now representations of it have been traditionally stuck in 2D. Fortunately, New York based startup Microscape has made it their mission to turn the iconic architecture of Manhattan into a detailed, scaled-down 3D printed model—for the ultimate souvenir.

Microscape, which was founded as a collaboration between architectural design and visualization firms TO+WN Design and AJSNY, is currently undergoing a crowdsourcing Kickstarter campaign to get their 3D printed models of Manhattan into production and to expand their product to other cities and regions.

Essentially, Microscape models are detailed and accurate 3D printed models of cities that are scaled to 1:5000 of the city’s actual size. So far, the startup has designed the 3D printed model of Manhattan, though as mentioned, they are hoping to expand to other cities - as they say “We figure if we can make models of here, we can make models of anywhere”. The data to accurately design the Manhattan city model was gathered by a combination of aerial scanning, automated photogrammetry, and manual geometry editing.

Of course, even at 1:5000 of the size of a city it would be impossible to 3D print the entire model, so the startup has broken down Manhattan into tiles, each measuring 6 inches square. Clients can choose whether they want a specific chunk of the city—say if you had a particularly memorable moment on the MET steps and wanted to remember that part of the city—or have the option of purchasing all 200 tiles that make up the entire island of Manhattan. The entire set, which would make an impressive mounted wall piece, costs $25,000 USD and can be ordered after the close of the Kickstarter campaign.

The 3D printed tiles of Manhattan’s cityscape are 3D printed out of a non-toxic durable white thermoplastic and vary in height from 1 inch to approximately 5.5 inches (presumably a miniature Empire State Building). Each of the tiles also weighs between 5-10 ounces, making them suitable for using as a wall hanging.

Not only to be used a wall-hanging, however, Microscape suggests using their 3D printed urban tiles as table decorations, as design tools for architectural firms to plan out future projects, and even as souvenirs for New Yorkers living abroad. As the company says of their inspiration for the project, “Up close, and at a distance, the buildings around us can be as visually intricate and compelling as any sculpture or painting. We’re capturing some of that beautiful intricacy in museum quality models.”

For the Kickstarter rewards, Microscape has created a series of limited edition landmark tiles which can be obtained for special early bird prices ranging between $65 to $85. The tiles, which each represent about a half mile square of each of New York City’s most iconic areas, will be produced with a special mark and serial number indicating they were part of the original Kickstarter campaign. In order for these tiles to be put into production, however, Microscape needs to reach their campaign goal of $8000 in just under 30 days.

If you’d like to support Microscape’s project or learn more about their vision for 3D printed models of urban spaces, check out their Kickstarter campaign here.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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microscape wrote at 1/28/2016 10:48:48 PM:

Thanks so much for sharing this!

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