Wednesday, October 28, 2015

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DUBAI: The city has been recreated in a model, believed to be the largest of its kind, using 3-D printing technology.

The 3-metre by 2-metre map was created by Generation 3D, a Dubai-based company, and is an almost exact replica.

World-famous landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab have been reproduced as models, along with almost every other building in the city.

The map was developed for Ejadah Asset Management and could be the largest fully 3-D printed map.

“We are immensely proud of the eventual outcome and thankfully, so is the client,” said Generation 3D’s co-founder, Dominic Wright.

“We worked with our client for a month, working on concepts of how a model can best represent their assets throughout Dubai while remaining aesthetically pleasing.”

The model was commissioned as a showcase for Ejadah’s assets and its growing presence in the country. It went on display during the CityScape exhibition last week.

The map is now at Ejadah’s office in Knowledge Village and will be used as a decision-making tool for the company on current and future projects.

Meticulous planning was required to make the map as accurate as possible.

“We created a computer-aided design model of Dubai using Google Maps as our reference in just under three weeks,” said Max Reynard, Generation 3D’s co-founder and technical director. “We have a small team of four people so there was a lot of time spent on computers going through the data. We then went to print over seven days.

“The model is also very portable and can be assembled and taken apart in just 10 minutes, as well as fitting easily into two flight cases.”

Mr Reynard, who used 3-D printing on projects with Formula One teams in the UK before setting up Generation 3D in January, said the speed and flexibility of the technology made it attractive.

“Unlike the more traditional model-making you’ll see and which is often handmade, this is much faster,” he said.

“Typically, a client would want a model done in six to 12 months to prepare for events or projects. With 3-D printing we can do it in a month and it is much easier for us to incorporate any last-minute changes that are required.”

A form of powdered plastic was used as the primary material in making the model because it allowed for a range of different colors.

The map was made on a state-of-the-art 3D Systems 860Pro, which is the largest 3-D printer of its kind in the GCC, said Mr Reynard. “The great thing is that we can use all kinds of materials in 3-D printing, from clear materials to plastics, metals and even gold,” he said.

“That is great for developers, architects, engineers and the wider construction industry.”

With the experience gained from the Dubai map, Generation 3D has now started work on a similar model of Abu Dhabi.

“We’ve just started that but, with the lessons learnt and techniques we have developed on the Dubai project, it would not take as long,” Mr Reynard said.

Ejadah also commissioned the Abu Dhabi map, which is expected to go on show at CityScape in the capital next year.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, chairman of the UAE National Innovation Committee, said earlier this year that the aim was for Dubai to become “a global hub for innovation and 3-D printing”.

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