AMS Spring 2023

Drone Photography Meets 3D Printing in SkyeCam Productions’ Aerial Models

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Houses are not just commodities on an over-bloated real estate market; although somelogo investors may see them this way, they are the places where we ideally make memories we will cherish for many years. The home in your heart may be a new one that you worked hard to purchase, a modest family heirloom that your great-grandfather built, or a modern wonder designed by the latest trendy architectural team. Regardless, The Wizard of Oz‘s Dorothy was so spot on when she spoke the phrase, “There’s no place like home.” Given the sentimental place that the notion of home holds in American culture, and a development climate demanding innovative approaches for business and government, it is not difficult to imagine there would be a clientele for Skyecam Productions‘ new first-of-its-kind service: a 3D printed model of your home.

SkyeCam is a Baltimore-based aerial photography and videography company that utilizes drone technology to capture unimaginable views never before possible. Any 3D printing devotee sees right where this is going: if you can photograph something, you can also design it for 3D printing. And this is exactly the new service SkyeCam Productions offers. You can also see right where this is going regarding demand. People seeking a memorable keepsake of an important home or iconic local building, such as a capitol building or other important monument, can now consider a customized aerial view 3D model as a viable option.  (Developers will also find a use for this, no doubt.)

3dprinted-house

Up until drone aerial photography, the greatest source for aerial photography has been the helicopter. When you consider the benefits of drone technology for aerial work (which Google has already introduced the world to) you will not be surprised to discover that helicopters are little league compared to new technology. According to the company’s website, SkyeCam Productions is capable of photographing from angles previously unachievable by helicopter photographers, and it is cheaper to have a drone take photos than a helicopter. Most notable is the fact that drones can fly “from 4 – 1,000 feet from a house”, whereas helicopters need to stay “100-200 feet away” from a home as a safety precaution. Wow: that’s a really big difference. Capturing the expansive view, as well as the nook and cranny details, is a job for drones, and SkyeCam is ahead of the pack in combining drone technology with 3D printing to create models of homes, buildings, cityscapes… You name it.

SkyeCam’s explanation makes the process from drone photography to 3D model sound easy enough. To create a 3D printed model of a home, SkyeCam takes several hundred photos with a camera stabilized and separate from the drone itself. This avoids the blurrySkyeCam-Sharpsburg-12_small effect of many other drone photography companies that use unstable cameras influenced by the drone’s movements. After the photographs are taken they are stitched together, and the rendered product is 3D printed, using ABS plastic and a dual extruder that can simultaneously print two colors. SkyeCam uses a MakerBot 3D printer to create their models. All of this occurs at the company studio. The models can be painted, and they are capable of printing a single standing model that is up to 9x6x6 inches, or bigger, by joining pieces together. And an average project can be completed within a week.

The occasion? Who knows! A model of the house where your parents lived their lives together — as a 50th wedding anniversary, perhaps? What we do know is that this is a first-of-its-kind service, likely to be replicated as 3D printing grows more common. The sky is becoming more and more the limit with every passing day when it comes to 3D printing applications.  (For an example of a SkyeCam Aerial 3D printed model, check out the company’s Instagram account; this model took just two hours to print using their MakerBot 3D printer.)

Let’s hear your thoughts on this use of 3D printing and drones in the 3D Printed Home forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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