3D printed model of The District Detroit development helps garner support for the project

Dec 13, 2016 | By Tess

Over recent years, the city of Detroit has become a symbol for urban decay and the fall of the American automotive industry. And while many of us may immediately think of dilapidated buildings or of high unemployment when speaking of Detroit, it seems the city center will soon be getting a facelift with a brand new stadium facility for its beloved Detroit Red Wings hockey team. Olympia Entertainment, the owner of the Detroit Red Wings and the company behind the new development initiative, has teamed up with 3D printing company Stratasys to create a 3D printed architectural model of the new facility.

The stadium, called Little Caesars Arena, will be the main attraction of the larger “District Detroit” development, which will span 50 blocks and will seek to bring sports, entertainment, retail, office, and residential spaces back to the Detroit downtown. The ultimate goal is to help redevelop the Michigan city and boost its economy by creating new jobs and urban spaces.

The 3D printed models of the project were created through a collaboration between Olympia Entertainment, local architecture agency Zoyes Creative Group, and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. The multimedia preview presentation of The District Detroit is helping to gain attention for the new Detroit development. The demonstration, as the company’s explain, comprises of two main parts: a 3D printed, extremely detailed scaled model of the Little Caesars Arena, and a miniature 3D printed version of the whole 50-block The District Detroit.

Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, has expressed excitement about the 3D printed model saying, “That model actually puts you in real Detroit…You can always look at a rendering and you kind of get a feeling for how it is going to look, but it really doesn’t have the chance to come alive until you can put yourself and your clients in it. There’s telling the story, and then there’s being part of the story. When you see the model and the detail, the city comes to life.” To give an idea of the detail put into the models, the miniature arena houses 20,000 individual 3D printed people.

To bring the 3D printed models to life, Zoyes Creative Group first had to transform the basic designs and renderings of the stadium and development into 3D printable files, a task which required much skill and many adjustments. With the 3D printable models complete, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing offered its expertise to help check and ensure that all the models were actually 3D printable. From there Zoyes used its own in-house Stratasys 3D printers to bring the project to life.

“There was a lot of time pressure, from the stadium, from the city, from everywhere and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing jumped right into the water with us. The day we sent them our first files, they were printing. Four days later, they were shipping here,” said Zoyes Creative Group’s Imaging Director, Rich Rozeboom. 3D printing also allowed for the companies to make adjustments on the fly, cutting down turnover times, and allowing the project to move swiftly along.

In the end, 3D printing helped to speed up the overall process of creating the miniature models, which in turn generated excitement and support for the development at a much faster rate. As Wilson explained, “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 of the suites were gone.”

The arena, which is set to open in 2017, and The District Detroit are expected to generate $2.1 billion for the city of Detroit, according to a study from the University of Michigan.

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Posted in 3D Printing Application

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