Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Miniature City, Massive Rapid Prototype

In the last couple of years scanning buildings and construction for everything from external historical renovations to HVAC analysis in new construction has become an increasingly large part of our business. Some of the new scanning technologies, like the Surphaser, make 3D scanning a perfect new tool for the surveyor/restoration architect/contractor's tool box, so it is not surprising that we're noticing more projects about scanning/3D models being utilized by architects.

While we've used 3D scanning for plenty of large projects, we've never seen a building project using Rapid Prototyping on such a huge scale. While we had nothing to do with this project, we thought it was too neat not to share:

Last Thursday, June 9th, a fully scaled SLA model of Chicago was unveiled in the atrium of the Chicago Architectural Foundation. According to the Chicago Tribune:

"A 25- by-35-foot model of the city will be open for viewing, free of charge at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, inspired by similar models in Beijing and Shanghai that show how those cities also have rapidly grown and changed.
The display portrays more than four square miles of the city, from the lakefront on the east to Halsted Street on the west and Oak Street on the north to 16th Street to the south. It contains an exact model of every building in the area. There are more than 1,000 of them, from a 3-foot-high Sears Tower down to old two-story storefronts."

Using grant money, the Foundation purchased existing architectural drawings and 3D models to create the massive SLA city. Columbian Model Works and Exhibit was the company that built the model and they claim that is the largest structure of it's kind. In a model of hundreds of buildings a single SLA skyscraper could take up to 70 hours to build.

The Chicago Architectural Foundation plans to keep the exhibit and add to it as the city of Chicago grows and changes. If you happen to be in Chicago between now and September 20th, make sure to stop in and see this amazing Rapid Prototyping Feat!

To read the full story in the Chicago Tribune click here.