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3D Printing large 3D Models of London


a year ago

AccuCities is a leading 3D City models provider for planning, engineering and architecture. As soon as our 3D model of London was large enough, we were keen to 3D print it. We have chosen Digits 2 Widgets to 3D print two versions of 6 km2 city map in 14 by 14 cm tiles, using their professional SLS 3D Printers. The tiles are well made from a sturdy and durable plastic. With our background in city planning, we are able to include major consented and under-construction landmarks in our models.


3D Printed London model was produced in two sizes. Large model tiles have larger buildings and cover 500 by 500 metres of real-world London. Small model tiles cover a much wider area of 1,000 by 1,000 metres and therefore have smaller buildings. Tiles are fully modular and can be easily attached to each other using built-in magnets, hung from a wall or left on a table top as a contemporary decoration. This allows you to choose a 3D print suitable to your needs, preference and available space.




The 3D printed London model has been exhibited at Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, travelled overseas to the United Nations exhibition and even made an appearance on news and regular programming on TV.




Mapping digital 3D city models from aerial photographs

Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs. It is a photography with a purpose – to accurately measure from it. 


We use stereo photogrammetry in our mapping process, always using the most recent aerial imagery available. The aerial imagery collection is done using fixed-wing aircraft. As the aerial mapping plane flies over a city area, it takes series of photographs which overlap by 60%. With each photograph its GPS position, height, tilt, pitch and roll are recorded. Using this data + camera calibration data (to eliminate lens distortion effects), the imagery is triangulated to its correct real-world coordinates.


In areas where two images overlap, we project one image into one eye, the second image into another eye and and this way we are able to see the Z value (depth). We then manually capture this point. On buildings and features we capture as much as every visible change, making sure that each captured point is within 15 cm tolerance. On terrain we use the same technique, capturing points manually at curbs (at the curb height) and where land use changes (for example at the edges of park paths). We follow these natural breaklines and capture every height change, working towards 25cm accuracy.



3D Print your own piece of 3D London

We have just published new 3D London model samples here at MyMiniFactory. The digital city model is accurate to 15 cm in all axis. Captured from the latest 2016 High-Res imagery, the model represent 1000 x 1000 meters of London. Buildings are captured with correct roof shapes and all features such as chimneys, parapet walls or dormer windows. 3D terrain is separated into land use categories. The 3D city model includes The Shard, News Building, London Bridge station, Southwark Cathedral, full width of the river Thames and its embankments and four London Bridges.


Please note: Our sample files cover the exact same area in the same accuracy and level of detail. However, these are not the same files as those used for this wide area 3D Printed London project. Digits 2 Widgets have done quite a bit of work on them, most notably trees trunks / features thickening, exaggerated curb drops to show the roads, the back fastening, magnets holders and the 3D model hollowing. 


Tile TQ3280 is also available in CAD solid, SketchUp, Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) projects and Twinmotion scene from our website.


Smaller 500 x 500 meters tile TQ3280 SE is also available in fully 3D printing optimised and hollowed out STL format (for 14 x 14 centimeters 3D print). Due to its size (200 floppy discs) we will not be publishing it here for now but happy to send you a link, just let me know you are interested.








We hope you will find this London model useful for your projects - do share with us your experiences / photos. We cannot wait to see what you can do with our model and we might publish your work on our website. Of course, do feel free to let us know if you need any assistance or if you have any questions!

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