Middle East company 3D printed the entire country of Bahrain
Micro CADD Services (MCS), a 3D printing service bureau based in Bahrain in the Middle East, has 3D printed one of the world's largest models of an entire country, Bahrain, using Mcor Technologies' Matrix 300+ paper based 3D printer.
This 1:10,000-scale model is 5.4 meters long and 2.2 meters wide. To create the model, MCS first used Mcor's SliceIT software to separate the digital map model into smaller tiles then they printed each part out and subsequently glued them together. They then printed out strips of gray paper as roads and glued them onto the terrain, making it a slightly elevated roadway just like on real landscapes.
"A 3D printed map has so much more informative than a piece of paper, a flat map or a computer screen. It's really captured people's imaginations and is an incredible sales tool for us, demonstrating our capabilities in a novel way," said Ian Best, managing director for MCS.
MCS specialises in 3D printing architectural and GIS models, including very large-scale models for the government that are placed on public display following their practical use in master planning. Previously MCS outsourced building models from China, but that process often took weeks and thousands of dollars for models handcrafted from architectural drawings.
When MCS investigated the opportunity to incoporate 3D printing into services, they discovered Mcor's paper based 3D printers.
"When we saw the Mcor Matrix 300, we were immediately drawn to its exceptional affordability," Best said. "Since it creates durable physical models from ordinary office paper, we knew we had a tremendous, low-cost alternative to outsourcing models to craftspeople in China."
The Mcor Matrix 3D printer uses A4/Letter paper to make 3D objects. The system loads the first sheet and uses a roller cutter to slice in the form of the first layer. It then hot presses the layer, applied a layer of adhesive, then the next layer is added, and the process repeats.
"By 3D printing the model ourselves, we're spending only one-third to one-half the money we otherwise would and saving several weeks in the process," says Best. "And because our build material is paper, we don't have to worry about material cost as we would if we had selected other 3D printers that require expensive plastics or powders."
The 3D printed map has captivated the attention of the country's national and local leaders, who are able to use the map for master planning.