Additive Manufacturing Strategies

GE & NRI Bring 3D Printed Flowers to Bus Stops Across Chicago

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Photo by Clayton Hauck for BBDO/GEGeneral Electric is one of those companies who have been representative of America since they were founded back in 1892. They have continued to be a mainstay towards the top of the list of Fortune 500 companies in the United States. In the past we have covered many stories in which the company has used 3D printing technology to innovate in ways that other companies are not quite ready to attempt.

Last year, GE opened what they call “GE Garages” in Chicago. These are skill-building centers that function as advanced fab labs for entrepreneurs, makers and all sorts of technologists. It’s there way to show that technologies such as 3D printing will serve for the growth of not only their own business but for that of others as well. 3D printing along with other advanced manufacturing techniques are what many believe will lead America to the 3rd industrial revolution.

Recently, to promote these GE Garages in The Windy City, General Electric contacted advertising agency BBDO to help them come up with a creative way of publicizing their new initiative. BBDO put together quite the impressive “3D Billboard” within bus tops across Chicago. The billboards were very unique, and featured all sorts of tools hanging up on what looked like a typical tool hanging pegboard.

Photo by Clayton Hauck for BBDO/GE

BBDO then contacted a company called NRI to ask them if they could 3D print a large variety of flowers for the advertisement. The flowers would be displayed in a window, to make it appear as though one is standing inside a garage, looking out, when in the bus stop. They needed 300 of these flowers to be 3D printed in various types and sizes.

Arthur Young-Spivey, NRI’s Digital Fabrication Specialist proceeded to compile a set of 3D images of flowers for BBDO to choose from. They ended up choosing 5 different varieties which were then adjusted and printed out by NRI at their headquarters in New York City. To print out the colorful, realistic looking flowers, they utilized a 3D Systems ProJet 660 Pro 3D printer, which uses high performance composite powder in order to print in full color.

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“This project presented an innovative way of advertising and promoting a productand in the end created a 3D actualized billboard,” explained Arthur Young-Spivey to 3DPrint.com. “Having a promotional piece be 3D instead of the traditional 2D opens up the possibilities of future advertisements having a new level of interactivity with potential consumers.”

The project took NRI approximately 3 weeks, which included print time as well as post-production prep. BBDO and GE were very pleased with the results, as they were the perfect final touch to the GE Garage Billboards, as well as a way to represent one of the technologies available in these garages.

Photo by Clayton Hauck for BBDO/GE

What do you think about these unique billboards? Discuss in the GE 3D Printed Flowers forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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