Art & Sculpture

Motor City gets rebuilt by 3D printing

In order to facilitate a large-scale development of downtown Detroit, developers have created 3D printed scaled models of the area. Construction is currently underway on the enormous 50-block project, known as The District Detroit. When completed the zone will have a sports arena as well as countless other businesses, restaurants and shops.

The focal point of the development will be the sports stadium, Little Caesars Arena, which will become home for the Detroit Pistons NBA team and the Red Wings ice hockey team. Olympia Entertainment, the owners of the two sports teams, are responsible for the construction, which was designed by HOK (the largest architecture-engineering firm in the U.S.). Now a local architectural design agency Zoyes Creative Group are displaying their impressive 3D models made in association with Stratasys.

The 3D printed model of the area included complete model of the arena. Image via Stratasys.
The 3D printed model of the arena being assembled. Image via Stratasys.

Downtown Detroit

The team created a 3D printed model of the arena, complete with 20,000 miniature people models before moving on to create an even larger model of the downtown Detroit area. In order to meet their deadlines and create this large model to a high standard, Zoyes used Stratasys’ Direct Manufacturing 3D printing bureau service.

The 3D printed version of Little Casers Arena. Image via Stratasys.
The 3D printed version of Little Caesers Arena. Image via Stratasys.

Accelerating the 3D printing process 

In a video created by Stratasys, a member of the Zoyes Creative Group explains how they acquired a Fortus 450mc 3D printer as soon as they were given this project. However, upon realizing the scale of the task Zoyes decided to enlist outside help to ensure the project was completed on time.

Gif shows Tom Wilson demonstrating the 3D printed model. Images via Stratasys.

Increased sales and the “game changing” impact of a 3D print

President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, Tom Wilson, praises the 3D print and attributes success in the marketing of the construction project down to the models,

That model actually puts you in real Detroit, there’s no question that this was the game changer for us. We had a dream that within six months we would be able to market all of our suites and we would be happy with that, as it turned out, in 40 days all the suites were gone … we got there so much faster.

Gif shows the scale of the 3D print of downtown Detroit. Images via Stratasys.

The final printed models are certainly impressive and show a fine level of detail. The project is another example of how 3D printing can bring designs to life, and in this case generate financial rewards. For a look at a different type of project using 3D printed architectural models take a look here.

You can also sign up to our newsletter for more information about how 3D printing can bring a competitive advantage to your business.

Featured image of the 3D printed model of downtown Detroit. Image via Stratasys.