As one of our first tests of our rapid prototyping machine, the ZCorp 310, the University of Michigan 3D Lab digitally recreated the president’s house of the University of Michigan circa 1900 AD. With help from the Millenium Project and their deep collection of information about the campus and it’s many changes, we were able to secure a 3D model of the house from the same time period. Since the state of the model wouldn’t allow it to be printed we needed to rebuild the house as a water tight mesh so the printer could successfully dissect it into slices for accurate printing.
Using the original model as a digital 3D blueprint the UM3D Lab modeled every window and every railing. Due to the delicate nature of the model and the printer’s material properties, which we didn’t fully understand at the time, we printed several versions of the house. Often the railings would blow away when depowdering them. To work around this we printed caps which protected the railings during the aggressive process.
As we became more familiar with the machine and the post process involved we created a pristine model which was then given to Mary Sue Coleman for her inauguration Since then we have printed the model several times as gifts for various individuals. One can see a version of the house on display in the UM3D Lab.