“It is the mind that makes the body rich.” Andrew Carnegie

And you can let your mind prosper indeed wandering around the Carnegie mansion in a 3D virtual tour.

3D Printed Replica of Andrew Carnegie Mansion

3D Printed Replica of Andrew Carnegie Mansion

lt’s not often that you have a stunning 3D printed replica of the Carnegie Mansion as a party tabletopper. If you had the privilege to be at the The Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards Gala recently, you would know this was indeed the case though, along with the audience being encouraged by Caroline Baumann, Director of Cooper Hewitt, to download the 3D design files from their website and “go wild with the mansion!”

Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum

Before anyone could go the slightest bit ‘wild’ with the 3D model, however, 3DSystems–in collaboration with Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum—had their work cut out for them with a meticulous scanning project of the 64-room museum situated in the former home and mansion of Scottish American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie. Famed steel magnate of the 19th century, Carnegie was also one of the greatest philanthropists of all time.

In scanning and producing the 3D model that 3DS was to donate to the museum, designers from the company began working this summer, scanning the entire interior of the mansion, including areas like stairwells. They then scanned all of the exterior walls outside and linked them together, scanned the rooftops, and then melded it all together to create a single model with millions of measurements taken with a lidar scanner, which casts a laser off of a spinning mirror. The 3DS designers were then able to digitally make a ‘mesh’ onto which they mapped hundreds of pictures, ultimately allowing them to make a ‘textured model’ that was a replica of the actual mansion.

In working to modernize the Carnegie Mansion while still retaining the character of historical building, the museum has been closed for several years. Crews have been working to make repairs, provide enhanced lights and signs, and allow better public access for the museum’s grand re-opening in December.

There has been plenty of planning and activity going on behind the scenes, and one such bit of planning involved the desire of the museum to find a suitable way to integrate 3D printing into something fun and interesting regarding the museum and the mansion. In their ‘push to make design more accessible to all,’ the 3D printable download of the model created by 3DS is available to everyone.

The museum has made these 3D printable designs available at their website. They strongly encourage the public to take advantage of this multi-faceted freebie that rewards the user with insight into a stunning piece of architectural history–now in highly detailed 3D digital form.

Once downloaded, you can enjoy:

  • Taking a virtual tour in your computer.
  • Examining all the architectural and historical details.
  • Creating 3D prints.
  • Creating a video game.
Caroline Baumann

Caroline Baumann

“We’re all about providing access to great design, and we can’t wait to see what you do with these unique assets,” said Baumann, who has been acting director of the museum since September 2012. She also served as associate director, acting director, and deputy director between 2006 and 2009.

Using the 3D model, the museum will be accessible not just for fun, but also for those involved in planning exhibits and learning more about the technical details of the mansion, which was the first structure built in the United States featuring a structural steel frame. It was also one of the first homes in New York to have a residential Otis passenger elevator.

The file for download comes in the following formats, hosted by Smithsonian X 3D:

  • FBX format file set containing full geometries and color textures including interiors on each floor and full exteriors ready to import into 3D production tools for use in animation, historic re-creations and gaming (324.3mb, zipped).
  • STL format containing a simple hollow model ready for 3D printing (6.2mb zipped).

All in the name of progress, innovation, and a ‘rich mind,’ hurry and download your file now. Please let us know how it turned out in the 3D Printable Carnegie Mansion Forum thread at 3DPB.com.

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