Leapfrog 3D Finishes a Massive Model of ‘The Forbidden City’ Using 3D Printers

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Who knew that it would take only a few months to 3D print an entire city?

OK, we never said it was a real city, but it’s still a huge accomplishment to print a miniature model.  An accomplishment that has never been done before.

Leapfrog 3D, manufacturers of 3D Printers, set out to start and print a 1:300 scale replica of The Forbidden City from the Ming Dynasty. The Forbidden City was originally completed some 592 years ago in 1422, under the rule of emperor Yongle. It was located in the Chinese capital of Bejing.

All in all, there were 980 different buildings that were printed, including temples, houses, gates, bridges, walls, and towers. The replica has been being built since October 5, 2013 at the Dutch museum, De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Visitors to the exhibit could check out the city, as well as watch live as buildings were getting printed out on hand by 3D printers.

Today was the day that the final piece of the city, The Meridian Gate, was added to the floor plan. Preparation for the development of The Forbidden City was quite extensive, explained Engineer at Leapfrog, Lucas Janssen, who made many of the drawings himself:

“We carefully studied the city and the basic architecture and we decided on which scale to
print, which came down to a scale of 1:300. The next step was to determine which features
make the palaces unique, like the roofs ‘curling’ up on the side and the pillars: we wanted to
make sure those characterics came back in our modelling. Colors are also important,
especially taken the symbolics behind the colors in Chinese culture: The Forbidden City
consists of a lot of reds ands golds: red is the color symbolizing happiness, gold was the color
of the emperor. In the last stage we studied every single building and modelled 30 basic
drawings with which we can print the entire city.”

For those familiar with 3D Printing, the majority of the model was printed using a plastic called PLA. In fact, if you have your own 3D Printer at home, you can now download the .STL files and start printing the city out, building by building right now! All of the buildings consist of 2 colors, and will require a dual extruding printer.

Head of exhibitions at the De Nieuwe Kerk museum, Marlies Kleiterp explained how the idea of 3D printing came to life:

“To be honest it was a spontaneous idea to make the exhibition interactive, and it was related to architecture. Unfortunately we could not bring the Forbidden City 1:1 to Amsterdam. But how would we be able to realize this then? While brainstorming we thought of making a large floor plan, followed by an enlarged photo that visitors could walk through, and then came to this beautiful idea.”

This was the first known 3D model to be printed out of an entire city. It certainly won’t be the last. Discuss this project, and tell us if you are attempting to print out any of these building yourself at: https://3dprintboard.com/showthread.php?1549-LeapFrog-3D-prints-out-the-entire-quot-Forbidden-City-quot-for-Museum

Also check out some of the images supplies by LeapFrog below

:leapfrog6 leapfrog5 leapfrog4 leapfrog3 leapfrog2 leapfrog1

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