What started as a fun hobby creating the Dallas skyline in a 3D printed model has turned into a full-fledged business for Brandon Warman with new cities and iconic buildings being added all the time.
He calls the company 3D Printed Skylines and he’s constantly improving the 2.25-inch scale models.
So far, he’s created Fort Worth, Houston, and the Texas state capitol building. He also redid the original Dallas skyline so it’s bigger and features more than 70 individual buildings.
Demand has gotten so high, he’s letting people vote on the website for what cities or buildings they’d like to see next.
He needed more 3D printers to keep up with the demand, so he decided to have a monthlong Kickstarter. His goal was $7,000.
“I reached $8,000 in eight hours so there’s definitely a lot of interest,” he said. “That’s the cost of a few more 3D printers to put me in production capacity for a sustainable business.”
NEXT SKYLINE MODEL: CHICAGO
“I reached $8,000 in eight hours so there’s definitely a lot of interest.”
Though he met his goal, the Kickstarter continues through Nov. 3 and contributors get a discount on the skyline of their choice. At the time of publication Oct. 12, the campaign had raised more than $10,000 from 87 backers.
His next model to tackle is Chicago’s iconic skyline, featuring Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center.
Other contenders include Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Wall Street, and Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.
The public also can request something if they don’t see it on the website.
“I think doing stadiums would be really cool,” Warman said.
Through Kickstarter, the white plastic skylines are $65 before Christmas and $55 after Christmas. Also, the Dallas Museum of Art sells them at its stores.
CRAFTING SKYLINE REPLICAS
The process to design each replica starts with satellite imagery to get the details of each building. Warman also looks up the basic measurements for the building’s height and width to get each structure to scale.
Warman and a team of engineering interns take that data and build the 3D model on the computer. Then, it’s time to let the 3D printer do its work, which can take up to 10 hours.
He’s experimented with 3D photogrammetry to get 360 degree views of buildings from satellite or drone footage. The software then builds the 3D model on its own. This method works best for standalone buildings rather than an entire skyline, Warman said.
The majority of the skylines are made from PLA, a plant-based, eco-friendly recycled plastic.
He’s also started using a blend of PLA and stainless steel filament to create dark grey models that almost look like diecast metal. The filament that feeds into the 3D printer is 20 percent stainless steel and 80 percent plastic fused together.
All the new skylines come on a wooden base with the city’s name etched on it. He added Houston Strong to the Bayou City’s skyline in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“They’re coming out really nice,” he said. “It really adds a nice touch to the skyline.”
With the Kickstarter in full swing, he expects to buy new 3D printers and add a new city skyline every six weeks or so.
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