Coming out of San Diego, California, SD3D Printing has slowly cultivated popularity with services such as their Printer Farm, which we covered back when it began operating around 2014. Equipped with both 3D printing power and a group of eager entrepreneurs, SD3D has just completed what could be their most ambitious project yet. Teaming up with Aon, one of the leading global providers of risk management, insurance, and a handful of other services, SD3D has just 3D designed and printed the largest 3D printed city to-date. The city, which is called Aon Town, measures a whopping 9 x 10.5 feet, and took a total of six weeks for SD3D to model and print every building, street, and tree.
Starting with a 2D drawing, SD3D utilized Rhino design software to bring the city into the three dimensional world. The design work alone took over 200 hours to complete. Once the team was finished with modeling the city, they began 3D printing it in 9 x 9 inch squares, while printing the taller skyscrapers in sections. Before the trees, plants, skyscrapers, and other features were even printed, SD3D had already constructed over 300 quadrants. After about 3,000 hours of printing time on over a dozen 3D printers— which included both the Lulzbot TAZ and their proprietary in-house printer— and running through approximately 60 kilograms of plastic material, SD3D had manufactured Aon town.
Most of the city was printed in Hatchbox White PLA, aside from the road (grey PLA), plants (green PLA), cones (red PLA), and water (blue PLA). To assemble the city, SD3D first glued the main quadrants together, then began to implement the smaller features as they went along. The team also constructed a mini-city as well, which was scaled down about 1/3 the size of the full-sized model. Though the idea of 3D printing a city this large has enough merit on its own, there was a purpose for both Aon and SD3D to get involved with the project.
For Aon, the city helped to give consumers a visual representation of the vast services that Aon has to offer. For instance, one particular section features two skyscrapers, which were equipped with acrylic cutouts, showcased a board meeting to advertise their insurance programs for mergers, private risk management, and other commercial activities. In total, the city displays 29 different areas that Aon can provide for potential clients, For SD3D, the point of the project was to showcase just how much they could accomplish with their 3D printing services. Though I’ve yet to see this miraculous 3D printed city myself, I feel confident enough to say that SD3D did indeed prove their 3D printing capabilities with the Aon town project.