3D printed Ground Zero models bring scale of devastation to Fire museum visitors

Today at ground zero is a memorial to the lives lost on September 11th 2001; the memorial is calm and serene, a tranquil place in the heart of Manhattan. Though the wide black spaces on the ground where the towers were and the gap in the skyline show clearly something is missing coming here to ground zero you get little idea of the utter devastation that was left after the two towers fell. The pictures and video exist and have been seen by most of the towers falling and the aftermath but David Munson felt a physical representation of the site was needed and so created a model of ground zero, in situ with the rest of the world trade center site and nearby buildings surrounding it. The models can be seen at the New York City Fire Museum and do give a much clearer idea of the scale of the devastation than TV pictures ever could. The size of the site is shown relative to the buildings around and the amount of debris left.

There are in fact three incredibly detailed models of the ground zero site including the site with the towers still standing, the site after the towers fell and the site as it is now as a memorial. It is difficult to see how Mr Munson get the level of detail though, in fact he used a 3d print service to generate the 17 inch by 17 inch models. A 3d print service gives fantastic detail and minute detail that would be near to impossible to create by hand. The accuracy is also far better than a hand built model could ever be meaning that the 3d print service was able to print with perfect detail. This detail is of course important for this kind of project and though the 3d print service was vital to print with such accuracy the accuracy of the 3D CAD model created by Mr Munson had to be perfect as well. Mr Munson’s job was in many ways as a collator of data, he had to bring together information from pictures and satellite imagery as well as dimensions of buildings to create the 3D CAD model. Each part of the model is based on several images, measurements and satellite imagery from Google Earth and other sources as well to make sure that there is no margin for error.

The 3D print service was completed using a ZPrinter from ZCorp, the printers were ideal as they not only gave perfect dimensions but also perfect colors. The colors and details of the buildings were taken from photography and made to really make the model look real and recognizable to both residents and workers in Manhattan as well as tourists.
Mr Munson was able to use a number of different pieces of software to create and pool data to create his final design ready for print in 3dsmax. The software he used included AutoCad and Photoshop but also Google’s Sketchup software that is free to use and is used by many to share 3D creations, many of the buildings of Manhattan and elsewhere are already available as 3D CAD models, which could in theory be sent straight to print.

3D Print Service by ZCorp
Picture Credit: Z Corporation

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