For the last 6 weeks SD3D has been working with Aon to design and 3D print a record breaking 9′ x 10.5′ city. This giant city helped to show off the vast portfolio offered by Aon to it’s clients and allowed us to test our printing abilities. This is one of our favorite large format 3D printing projects that we have worked on to-date.
When it came to designing this city, we were given the 2D drawing you see above. From that, our team was able to use Rhino design software to make this drawing come to life in 3D.
Spending over 200 hours of design work, we were able to get some of the results you see below:
Printing something this massive was not an easy task. We sectioned the surface area into 9″ x 9″ squares that aligned with the roads. We would then also section the tall skyscrapers into parts that were no larger than 9 inches in height.
In total, there were over 300 of these quadrants printed! And that is before getting into 3D printing the small trees, plants, tall skyscrapers, and other items scattered throughout.
Large format 3D printing means long 3D print times – and this project certainly did not disappoint in that department. In total there was over 3,000 hours of printing time!
And this was at our draft 0.4mm layer heights, meaning that we ran through the most amount of plastic we could during that time. To be clear, we are talking about roughly 65 kilogram spools. This was done on over a dozen FDM printers. 3D printer models included the Lulzbot TAZ line and our proprietary in-house printer.
Nearly everything was printed in Hatchbox White PLA except the bits of color that you see. This includes the roads in grey PLA, plants in green PLA, cones in red PLA, and water cut out of blue acrylic.
Along with all of the unique quadrants, there was also call-outs to features that Aon offers as an Insurance Broker. This particular section has two skyscrapers with acrylic cutouts showing board meetings within. This was added to highlight the fact that Aon arranges insurance programs for mergers, private risk management, and other commercial activities.
The entire city showed 29 different areas that Aon protects clients. Dedicated callouts included automotive, construction, energy, environment, financial institutions, workers’ compensation, and many others.
After 3,000 hours of 3D printing that produced over 60 kilograms of printed plastic parts, it was time to begin assembly. We started by building platforms so that the city would be sectioned off into 4 areas for easier transportation.
Quadrants were then glued to the platforms according to the proper layout over the next day. All of the external parts, such as plants, were added as the parts rolled off the 3D printers.
Above you can watch a timelapse of the majority of this assembly. What isn’t pictured in this video, or mentioned above, is the mini city that was also printed. Along with the massive 9′ x 10.5′ town, a 1/3 scale version at 3′ x 4′ was also printed.
This mini version (pictured to the right) was sectioned off and assembled in a similar, but simpler fashion. Just about everything, except for the call-outs, are the same on this detailed smaller model. This means there was a lot of small plants that needed to be glued and assembled.
More on Large Format 3D Printing
There will be many more updates coming soon, along with details on how everything was designed and printed. This job was a lot of fun for our team and we hope to continue to print record breaking projects!
If you have a large format 3D printing project that you would like us to work on please do not hesitate to contact us.