Jul 25, 2016 | By Tess

For those who commute by metro or subway on a daily basis, you know how uninspiring it can be to walk through a long tunnel crowded with other people just to make your connection or to get to work. The monotony of it feels almost like being herded like an animal through drab, badly lit stations and underground passages. In China, however, an effort is being made to liven up and improve people’s commutes with the help of 3D printed butterflies.

In ChongQing, one of Southwest China’s major cities, the city’s largest underground passage is being readied for opening. The Huafu Road pedestrian tunnel, which is reportedly two to three times larger than existing pedestrian tunnels, will not only be the city’s biggest underground passage, but will also likely be the city’s most beautiful tunnel, as it will be decorated with over two thousand 3D printed butterflies.

The tunnel is located at the Huafu Avenue and Fu Ke Road junction, a commercial and residential area, so those who live or commute to the area by foot can expect to soon have a more magical experience getting to and from work. The passage, which cost a total of of 52 million yuan ($7.8 million), is 56 meters long, 12 meters wide, and 4.5 meters in height, with a total of four entrances for pedestrians.

The “butterfly forests” which decorate the tunnel are made up of exactly 2016 3D printed white butterflies, which are meant to symbolize that 2016 is and has been a fruitful and booming year. More specifically, the pedestrian tunnel has been painted to look like a forest, with artistic black and white tree trunks adorned with nine different types of 3D printed butterflies. To make the effect even more spectacular, each 3D printed butterfly will be lit from behind with an LED light capable of changing color.

In fact, the walls of the tunnel themselves will be self-luminous aluminum walls embedded with LED lights capable of emitting 8 different colors of light. According to a tunnel representative, the changing lights and shadows will make it seem as though the 2016 3D printed butterflies are actually dancing on the walls, an effect they hope will be relaxing and cheering for those walking through the tunnel.

Also notable are the butterflies themselves, which have been designed to look as real as possible. As mentioned, there are a total of nine different types of butterfly which have been 3D printed, and each style is distinguished by wing shape, wing texture, and details like wing lines. The ChongQing Huafu Road pedestrian tunnel is expected to open to the public by the end of the month.




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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