This week’s selection is the huge MANHATTAN city 3D print by Luca Liguori of 3DCityFrames.
This is a massive multi-part 3D print of most of Manhattan, including known buildings in 3D form. It includes features such as the Empire State Building, UN Headquarters, and Central Park. However, they are quite tiny when seen on this huge 3D map, which represents about 50 square km of surface area.
The dimensions of the incredible MANHATTAN 3D map are a whopping 1300 x 700 x 7 mm, meaning it is 3D printed in multiple sections, and then assembled.
Liguori sells the 3D model for MANHATTAN on his Etsy store, delivered as three huge ZIP files. Once obtained, you’ll have to print each of the 45 sections separately, which apparently takes about a day for each. The sections are uniformly 150 x 150 mm in size, making it relatively easy to assemble.
“If you love art and architecture you are in the right place. You will now have the opportunity to make an high detailed miniature of your favorite city. Give it to a friend or keep it for yourself, inside the package you will find a .STL file for 3D/CNC printing as well as a template to create a custom frame for your model once it’s complete.”
Liguori’s Etsy shop contains similar 3D model packages for a number of other notable cities, including Berlin, New Orleans, Chicago, London, São Paulo, Hong Kong, and many more. There’s also a number of city squares for places with smaller downtown areas.
Liguori sells these 3D map models for various prices, with the MANHATTAN option going for US$131. That may seem steep for those accustomed to downloading 3D models from Thingiverse at no charge, but there’s some reasonability here.
It is not easy to build a 3D model such as these, even though much of the raw data is available online.
One way is to use CADMAPPER, which we wrote about three years ago. It’s an online service that allows you to download map sections from anywhere in the world, but at a cost for each piece. They also have a free service, but it works only for single, 1km squares. You could in theory use CADMAPPER to download and assemble all of Manhattan in small squares, but it would be incredibly tedious and time-consuming to do so. It’s likely a better option to buy the 3D model and avoid all that work.
I’ve used this myself, but only for a small 1km section.
Another option is to use a free experimental add-on for Blender that connects with Google Earth. This tool, called “MapsModelsImporter” can extract 3D data from Google’s databases and present it in Blender. However, it’s by no means 3D printable at that point and you’ll have to spend considerable time fixing the model before you can 3D print it. The add-on is also a bit tricky to set up and use.
If you’re a fan of Manhattan or any of several other major cities, please check out Liguori’s work at Etsy.