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Doctor Octoroc Feb 26, 2017 6:11 PM

1:2000 3D Printed Skyscrapers
Awhile back, I embarked on a project to 3d print Philadelphia which eventually turned into other skyscrapers from around the world. Lately, I've been adding some of the world's tallest and will probably keep doing so for the next few months, at least. I'm happy to take suggestions for others as well!

For starters, here's a link to my Shapeways shop containing the skyscrapers I've already completed. The first ten, as of this post, are from all around the world while the remaining models are all in Philly.

I actually started by building full blocks of Philly containing all ground details, planters, etc but wanted to separate the individual buildings from each block to make them available to print on their own as well.

As of now, i haven't actually printed any of them as I don't have the funds to allocate to the project just yet but I will be doing so in the future and I wanted to make them available to anyone else that wanted.

And then here are some screen grabs directly from Solidworks to show off some of the finer details of some of the structures.

Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE

CN Tower in Toronto, Canada

Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan

International Commerce Center in West Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

Willis Tower in Chicago, IL, United States

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Empire State Building in New York, NY, United States

I also did 432 Park Ave and One World Trade Center in New York, NY and Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China but haven't taken screen grabs of those yet. You can visit the Flickr! photo album containing all of them here.

Each model has a 2mm thick base to stand on and to support smaller details like columns. I've included as much detail as possible that I'm confident will show up in the 3d print of each and any structure over 400m tall has been separated in two or more parts with lip/groove joints to allow them to be printable in materials with smaller build volumes but still be able to be easily assembled. Some models contain details as small as .075mm which will be more suggestive in the final print but I thought 1:2000 was a good scale to allow details but also not break the bank on the cost to print. All models have been hollowed to a 1mm shell to cut back on material costs.

I'd love to get some feedback, as well as suggestions for future models!

spidey7312 Feb 27, 2017 12:12 AM

These all look great! I also like the new and updated Philly city block models. Could you show me a comparison between polished white, unpolished white, metallic, & frosted?

Doctor Octoroc Feb 27, 2017 4:11 AM


Originally Posted by spidey7312 (Post 7724536)
These all look great! I also like the new and updated Philly city block models. Could you show me a comparison between polished white, unpolished white, metallic, & frosted?

Thanks! I remember you from the previous thread for the full color Philly blocks. Unfortunately, they didn't have the success rate I was hoping for hence the new (and improved, in my opinion) models for printing in various plastics with 'nicer' tolerances.

You can see the Shapeways renders for all of the materials on each product page by choosing the material from the drop down box on the upper right side of the listing - what you'll see are the separated parts for each model (2 or 3 for each over 200mm tall) - the default image when you first visit the page shows a render of the 'assembled' model that I uploaded to get the matching Shapeways render image to use in the actual listing. Since I haven't printed any of them yet, I can't show off the actual material prints, but the renders do a pretty good job of conveying the look. Here are a few below for the Oriental Pearl Tower that I just uploaded!

White Strong and Flexible and White Strong and Flexible Polished:

Metallic Plastic and Frosted Ultra Detail:

They're not the largest images since they have to create these renders for every material and every model uploaded but they give a good indication of the look of each material.

And here are some Solidworks screen shots showing the vector lines on the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Any suggestions for the next one?

Doctor Octoroc Feb 27, 2017 3:17 PM

Here's the newest skyscraper to join the 3d printed crew - the John Hancock Center in Chicago, IL, United States!

This was a quicker build than others since it's a basic tapered box shape with symmetric reliefs. I split the model at the top since the antenna are what make it over 200mm tall (models need to be under 200mm in any direction to be printable in various material options such as polished or dyed).

spidey7312 Feb 27, 2017 9:12 PM

I'm impressed with the amount of detail on Oriental Pearl Tower.

I have a request for you, please do Key Tower in Cleveland, Ohio (more specifically, the whole block the building is on):

Doctor Octoroc Feb 28, 2017 11:31 AM


Originally Posted by spidey7312 (Post 7725519)
I'm impressed with the amount of detail on Oriental Pearl Tower.

I have a request for you, please do Key Tower in Cleveland, Ohio (more specifically, the whole block the building is on):

Key Tower on its own would be easy enough - not sure if it would be a best seller but I'd be happy to add it to the shop if you're interested in grabbing one for yourself. The cost would probably be close to that of the stand alone One Liberty Place model currently there.

For now, I'm working through the tallest or most popular ones then I'll get to some of the tallest in each state.

Doctor Octoroc Mar 1, 2017 3:49 AM

Here's the newest model finished, the Shanghai World Financial Center.

I thought this would be a simpler one but I never realized just how complex the base portion was. Also, without proper Google Maps street view (not available in some countries...) I had to search out the Chinese version of Maps which offers street views but no models. I did the same for Shanghai Tower and I'll probably have to do the same with the Jin Mao Tower when I get to it.

Here are the Solidworks views.

Doctor Octoroc Mar 2, 2017 12:04 AM

One more finished - the Tokyo Sky Tree in Tokyo.

This one was a crazy one to model with all the mesh. Between the vertical, horizontal and angled pattern of 'wires' and the fact that it transitions from flat to circular at the top of the form, it took some creativity to get it just right.

Here are the Solidworks renders:

spidey7312 Mar 2, 2017 2:04 AM

Tokyo Sky Tree looks great! Keep the models coming :tup:

Doctor Octoroc Mar 4, 2017 6:49 PM

Here's the next model, Canton Tower in Guangdong, Guangzouh, China!

This one took the better part of the week to build Since the tower shape is so funky. Going into this build, I always thought it was perfectly round with a 180 degree twist but it turns out it is an ellipse with the top section being rotated 45 degrees and offset from the center axis of the lower section. The 'vertical' beams are straight lines connecting points on the top and bottom at greater than 45 degrees from each other, which I always though they were helical. On top of that, the top is also tilted at an angle and the whole thing tapers as well so all of these add up to a ton of features and sketches just to build the outer mesh. I was luckily able to find a plan view that showed the base and top section relative to each other, as well as showed the position of the vertical beams and the offset of the inside main section from the outer mesh. The observation deck on top, not shown in that plan, has a specific layout that is hard to get a read on just by looking at photos so it took awhile to figure out how all the stairs interact with the center circular base for the antenna and how to build those sections.

Also, due to the mesh outer layer encompassing more than a 200mm height at this scale, I was unable to viably split the model for printing in materials with a smaller build volume so unlike the other models thus far, it's only available in a few materials.

All in all, I'm super happy with the way this one came out considering how far it pushed the limits of my modeling abilities. I definitely learned a few new tricks!

Here are the Solidworks screen shots:

Doctor Octoroc Mar 5, 2017 10:27 PM

Two new models finished!

First up, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, China.

This one is a bit further down the list on the world's tallest but seems to be a popular one so I got to it sooner. Pretty basic, generally speaking, but fun angles all around! Solidworks screenshots below:

I went with vertical impressions for the windows versus horizontal ones like most of these 3d printable models. I felt it represented the form better in contrast with the diagonal framing, especially on the angled top portions. In order to represent the fact that the front and rear entrance are at different levels, I created the sloping features along the sides of the building as shallow extrusions leading from the front to the back so the ground level at the rear would match its real life location but the model itself would maintain the 2mm base feature - otherwise, the back entrance would just be floating in the air.

Next is the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China - the third tallest of the 'big three' under the International Commerce Center and Shanghai Tower. These three are referred to as the 'past, present and future', respectively.

This one took some time to get the proportions just right since the stepping in and tapering out of the many layers makes it difficult to find the right position of features in relation to each other, especially near the top. Here are the Solidworks screenshots:

Doctor Octoroc Mar 7, 2017 4:53 AM

Another one added, the Chrysler Building in New York City, NY, United States!

I'm really happy with this one. It's not dissimilar from the Empire State Building in the layout and arrangement of windows but many of the elements are unique to this structure, such as the ornamental designs around certain roof portions and the gargoyles/statues on the corners of two levels, not to mention the iconic curved, tiered roof design with triangular windows.

I never knew that the back side was angled - this provided a unique challenge to duplicate the elements on the front side while having them follow the facade at the appropriate angle.

Doctor Octoroc Mar 9, 2017 7:15 AM

New model finished - the Ostankino TV Tower in Moscow, Russia!

A relatively simple one with most of the detailing on the middle portion - since much of the tower consists of thin mesh elements surrounding solid forms, those details are more suggestive and akin to those on the top portions of Canton Tower above its roof.

Doctor Octoroc Mar 10, 2017 6:00 AM

Here's another one - I'm just barreling through these! It's Kingkey 100 in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China!

This one was pretty simple, save the curved entrance feature. Originally, I created the one side and mirrored it, not even thinking about the fact that the entrance feature is only on the one side, so I ended up recreating a bunch of features on a duplicate side of an earlier version of the model to create the other side.

Unlike other structures with exposed details, KK100 has many of its details behind glass, so I decided to build them as they could be seen through the glass exterior to give it more character.

Doctor Octoroc Mar 12, 2017 5:47 AM

Another one for the top 10 tallest buildings (not including towers) in the world (as of right now), Zifeng Tower in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China!

This one took a lot of researching to get the reference material since it's not a popular one. I'm not sure why, it's a fantastic structure! The main issue was finding reference material for the overall shape and details on the roofs. I sort of fudged those since the only material I could find were satellite views in Google Earth. But much like Shanghai Tower and the Jin Mao Tower, I had to resort to China's version of Google Maps for street views to get the right details on the ground level as well as on some of the sides of the building.

I'm going to search out some cool shorter structures (200-400m) next, including the request for Key Tower.

Doctor Octoroc Mar 12, 2017 10:40 AM

Okay, by request, here is Key Tower in Cleveland, Ohio, United States!

This model is much like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building with its tiers and window layout. I even modeled the key into the top of the four sides of the spire!

spidey7312 Mar 12, 2017 12:42 PM

Key Tower looks great, thanks for making it!

Doctor Octoroc Mar 13, 2017 6:41 AM


Originally Posted by spidey7312 (Post 7737876)
Key Tower looks great, thanks for making it!

No problem! I figured fulfilling your request would get you to start responding to the thread again haha. Not as much activity as I had hoped, generally speaking...

Big addition time!

I already had done Shanghai Tower in Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai, China but the model encountered some build errors after export so the file to print was fine but the Solidworks file was all sorts of funky. I finally got around to fixing it so I can show off the SW screen shots.

Here's the Shapeways listing for Shanghai Tower, followed by screen shots.

I also completed Guangzhou International Finance Centre in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.

Compared to some of the other buildings in China, this was was pretty simple but I had to use some tricks to get the diagonal mesh around the outside. In reality, this feature is under the glass but I wanted it to be represented so I 'encased' the outside in the form to give it more character. The best part for me, however, is the roof which accurately represents the faceted glass on the original.

I also embossed the "IFC" on the three sides of the top of the structure. The actual letters are displayed in lights as a marquee behind the glass but I wanted it to show in the print so I created a small extrusions from the surface over the other details to represent it.

I also did the helicopter pad markings as a small engraved detail.

And lastly, finished just tonight (only took a few hours), the Borj-E Milad in Tehran, Iran!

Another simpler TV/radio tower with some more intricate ornamental features on the roof of the base and around the main tower portion.

I still need to take screen captures of One World Trade Center.

spidey7312 Mar 14, 2017 1:29 AM


Originally Posted by Doctor Octoroc (Post 7738636)
No problem! I figured fulfilling your request would get you to start responding to the thread again haha. Not as much activity as I had hoped, generally speaking...

It is kind of disappointing that there is no activity here these days. I still look whenever you make a new post, I just usually don't respond.

Another request, perhaps to save for later when you have no other ideas. I would like to see the metro station at the base of Tokyo Skytree included with the model as well as the ~500 foot tower also attached to the metro station.

Again, great work with the models!

Doctor Octoroc Mar 15, 2017 12:53 AM

One more new model and I finally got around to taking screen grabs of One World Trade Center in New York, NY, United States! Here's the Shapeways render and link to the product listing:

And below are the screen grabs. While I do love the design of this one, it's the super fine details that give it real character so at this small scale it's more suggestive of the faceted sides. The most detail in the model is on top.

And here's the new model, Princess Tower in Dubai, UAE.

I love the details along the faces of this building, between the windows, balconies and other ornamental details.

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