New 3D Landscape Printing Service Launched in the UK

UK company 3Distributed launched a new 3D landscaping service this week called Printscape 3D. The goal of this service is to use modern printing technology to create highly detailed and accurate landscapes off of 3D scanned maps and data.

They have recently exhibited one of their printed 1/800 scale printed landscapes at Petworth House in West Sussex.  The landscape was created by using an aerial form of ground scanning radar known as Lidar to scan the landscape and build a highly detailed model on the computer.  From there the Prinscape 3D system was able to print out the 10’5” by 7’2” landscape in 220 separate sections that were fitted together on site.

In their press announcement 3Distributed said that “in our first test prints we were delighted to see how well the layers of the print mirrors the contours of the landscape.  Since then we have been thoroughly convinced that the 3D printing and lidar scanned landscapes complement each other very well.  The 3D printed process abstracts natural forms in such a way that the end result is intrinsically informative and highly readable.”

The team also believes that they are the first to create this type of 3D landscape and have petitioned the people at Guinness for a world record listing.


So what is this for?

close_up_large3Distributed sees two primary applications for this technology, teaching and city/architectural planning.

They believe these landscapes can be used as advanced teaching tools.  They foresee the printed landscapes being used as center pieces in museums to easily show locations and relative positions of important events in an impressive way.  Beyond museums 3Distributed believes the landscapes could find a place in an academic setting by offering a tangible and scientifically accurate representation of large scale geographic information.  Specifically they believe it will be applicable to disciplines such as geography, archaeology and hydrology.

The team also sees this type of printing as a valuable asset for architectural firms, which are already well versed in using CAD programs and wide format printers to produce blueprints and diagrams.  They could use the same process to create a 3D model of their diagram that Printscape 3D could then produce as a fabricated model.

3Distributed also pointed to city planning, which uses a large amount of survey data and contoured maps to design function roadways and infrastructure systems.  With Prinscape this data could be imputed and printed out in a more accurate and easy to read format.