3D printing the Ming Dynasty

The Ming Dynasty, aka the Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China for 276 years (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, described by some as “one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history,” is also best known for completing the Great Wall of China and constructing The Forbidden City. According to Wikipedia, the Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is currently listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Image Credit: Prsnlz.me

Recently, the Museum De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam decided to resurrect the glory of the Ming by hosting a 3D printed replica (courtesy of Leapfrog and Bloemen Architects) of the Forbidden City, which will ultimately house all 980 buildings, including the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

“Museum De Nieuwe Kerk asked us to collaborate in printing The Forbidden City and we immediately got very excited. For the museum it is a great chance to show visitors the enormous scale of The Forbidden City and for the project is suitable to help people envision the possibilities of 3D printing,” Leapfrog engineer Lucas Janssen told Daniel O’Connor of Prsnlz.me.

Picture Credit: Rabs003 (Wikipedia)

“The project really shows the added value of 3D printing for this group. Before, architects had to make scale models using styrofoam, glue and scissors. Now they can simply press ‘print’ and their drawings come alive. It also shows 3D printing is not only suitable for printing a scale model of a single building, but also for an entire city.”

Interested in learning more about 3D printing The Forbidden City? Leapfrog has released the relevant STL files, which are available here.

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