Man 3D Prints Entire SF City in Homage to Beloved Hometown


When folks yearn for dwelling, some watch films about their metropolis or name up household. San Francisco native Nick Hollister, nevertheless, 3D-printed an enormous topographically correct map to really feel nearer to his roots.

“Printing every tile, I bought to know every neighborhood a bit,” Hollister stated. 

Hollister grew up within the Western Addition along with his three siblings earlier than shifting in June to Windfall, Rhode Island, the place he works for Hasbro designing toys.

The Purdue College product design graduate now proudly hangs the framed mannequin of his native metropolis on his wall.

It appears like a plaster forged, however is definitely printed from 4 spools of white plastic filament spanning 2.5 kilometers in size. 

The whole scale-model of San Francisco, fabricated from 36 eight-inch plastic tiles, took roughly 720 hours to print.

The filament is “extruded”—consider a scorching glue gun—by an Ender-3 Professional 3D printer layer-by-layer, 0.2 millimeters at a time into 8-inch tiles. The tiles are finally pieced collectively like a jigsaw puzzle into the 14-by-10-foot, birds-eye-view of San Francisco.

Particulars of San Francisco native Nick Hollister’s 3D-printed maps of San Francisco | Courtesy Nick Hollister

To create his 3D mannequin, Hollister makes use of topographical knowledge produced by LiDAR scans taken from December 2017 by April 2018 by the U.S. Geological Survey—obtainable on OpenTopography, a public database of topographical scans. 

The info is then ingested by 3D modeling software program Blender to create recordsdata the printer can learn, after which it’s only a matter of letting the roughly $200 printer do its job. 

One of many advantages of utilizing this knowledge is the accuracy, Hollister stated. As a result of the maps are created utilizing aerial topographical scans of San Francisco, Hollister feels it’s a extra genuine type of re-creating San Francisco than portray or sketching a map can be.

Toy designer Nick Hollister 3D-printed a scale-model of San Francisco with 2.5 kilometers of plastic filament. | Courtesy Nick Hollister

If he zoomed in sufficient, Hollister says, he might print automobiles and folks precisely as they have been at that second in time.

“It’s fascinating to carry the tile as a result of it’s like a freeze body of that second in 2018,” Hollister stated. “It is a extra correct portrayal of the town.”

Hollister stated he misses San Francisco for the ample parks across the neighborhood he grew up in, but additionally the industrious power he believes San Franciscans emanate.

“The sensation of the town, it’s younger. It’s one thing you don’t get in rural areas like the place I went to highschool,” Hollister stated. “Everyone’s doing one thing.”

See Additionally

Particulars of San Francisco native Nick Hollister’s 3D-printed maps of San Francisco | Courtesy Nick Hollister

Hollister has additionally 3D-printed a mannequin of the Foggy Backside neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the campus of his alma mater, Purdue College, and, earlier this yr, a separate 3D map of a few of San Francisco’s northern neighborhoods, together with the Presidio, the Marina District and North Seaside.

Hollister used to promote the digital 3D printer recordsdata he created for between $20 and $30, however stopped after being overwhelmed with 3D-printing troubleshooting questions from prospects. 

He stated he would probably promote different 3D-printed maps if time permits, however cautioned they’re time-consuming and can be dearer in consequence, so it might be months earlier than he is able to arrange store—if he ever decides to try this.

“I haven’t arrived at an precise value,” Hollister stated of creating new mannequin maps for purchasers.

Hollister stated his two present SF mannequin maps are priceless and never on the market.

“They maintain private worth,” Hollister stated.