Mar 27, 2018 | By Benedict

3D software company Materialise has put together a huge 3D printed model of Antwerp City Hall, a building from the 16th century. The company had to use its Mammoth Stereolithography 3D printers for the large-scale 3D printing project.

Antwerp City Hall has been turned into a 3D printed model

The Belgian city of Antwerp has many spectacular buildings, including its gold and marble-lined Central Station, its towering Cathedral of Our Lady, and its wildly modern Museum aan de Stroom, set on the edge of a tiny dock.

Antwerp’s 16th-century City Hall is another architectural beauty in the Belgian city. However, 60 years have passed since its last refurb, meaning the grand building is starting to show signs of wear and age.

Time has come for a major cleanup of the City Hall, as well as various other buildings, so the municipality of Antwerp recently kicked off a major exhibition highlighting its biggest urban development projects for the next few years.

At the center of this exhibition, which is being held at the aforementioned Museum aan de Stroom, is a giant 3D printed model of Antwerp City Hall. It has been printed, unsurprisingly, by Belgian 3D printing giant Materialise, whose Leuven headquarters are just an hour and 20 minutes’ drive from Antwerp.

The 3D printed model is extremely detailed, even on the inside

Materialise says it took on the ambitious 3D printing project in collaboration with a 3D engineering bureau from Ghent, Mindscape 3D, a specialist in the creation of digital 3D models. Mindscape 3D made the design of the City Hall model from scratch, before sending the files to Materialise for 3D printing.

And while turning the imposing old building into a digital 3D model was no mean feat, the 3D printing part was just as tricky: Materialise used its Magics software suite to turn the 3D data into STL format, clean up the model, and position it properly on its 3D printer build platforms. Honeycomb structures were added to the inside of the City Hall model to add strength without adding weight.

Although the 3D printed City Hall was split up into (relatively!) manageable pieces, Materialise still had to use its Mammoth Stereolithography 3D printers to fit the scaled-down building on the print bed. The 3D printed City Hall is 1.7 meters wide.

The real building is due a cleanup

But just because the 3D printed building is big doesn’t mean it isn’t extraordinarily detailed. Far from it. Because SLA 3D printing was used to produce the components of the structure, Materialise was able to print in fine resolution, resulting in features like “intricate woodwork detailing” inside the rooms of the City Hall.

When the 3D printed City Hall was unveiled on March 24, Mindscape 3D added the finishing touches by rigging up a lighting system within the model, making the scale model of the iconic building even more like the real thing. Fortunately for all 3D printing enthusiasts heading to Belgium in the near future, the 3D printed building will be on display for two years.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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