3D Printing Dubai's Tower Structural Model

The requirements: 3D printing the structural aspect of a tower that is to be built by WSP in Dubai

Bright Mind was approached by a structural engineer from WSP Middle East with a 3D printing project requirement; Creating a physical model of a tower that will be built in Dubai - UAE.  The purpose of prototyping this model was not to display the aesthetics of the tower.  However, the purpose was to display the structural aspect of the tower.  The following photos are screenshots from the CAD model that was presented to us; First photo is a full CAD model of the tower, and the second photo is a close up to some of the details)

Tower structural CAD Model
Tower structural CAD Model (Close Up)

The client's desired height of the physical model was 18.0 cm, and all details that appeared in the CAD model had to be present in the 3D printed model.

The challenge in this 3D printing project was the overhangs:

A close look at the 3D CAD model above reveals the high amount of overhung structures that appear in this 3D model.  Overhangs can be problematic in 3D printing as all of 3D printers print models layer by layer starting from the layer closest to the printing/laser head and moving to the layers further from it. This means any 3D printed layer that is not supported with more layers below it, must be supported by support structure.  

If a 3D model contains many overhangs, that makes 3D printing it with FDM 3D printing impractical.  For this tower case, SLA or SLS 3D printing seemed to be better 3D printing technology choices as they deal better with support structure: SLA 3D printing requires less dense and softer support structure, and SLS 3D printing does not require support structure at all.

For this project we chose to go with SLA 3D printing technology, and the following photo is of the 3D printed model of the tower:

3D printed tower model by SLA 3D printing

We were happy to help our client in 3D printing their tower model. Our client was kind enough to give us a review on this project:


" Collaborating with Bright Mind team through an intense period of optimization, they managed to produce and extremely detailed tower miniature, within our tight timeframe, and proved to be up to the challenge "