Italian engineer Angelo D’Angelo has two big obsessions: travel and 3D printing. Worthy obsessions indeed, even on their own, but the creative D’Angelo has come up with a way to combine his two passions into an ongoing project that he shares with the world through his blog. A writer on several travel blogs, D’Angelo has also been working with 3D printing since 2011, and now, whenever he travels, he brings each city a little 3D printed piece of itself.
“Basically what i do is create models of monuments of places where i’m going (or download them), 3d print them using different materials depending on the model and take a picture of the model in front of the real monument, then i share the shots on my Instagram profile using the hashtag #3DPrinTravel and the models on my thingiverse profile,” he explains to 3DPrint.com.
The project, which he calls #3DPrinTravel, is a simple concept. Before he goes to a new city, D’Angelo chooses one of the location’s iconic monuments, then searches for a 3D model of it online; if he can’t find one, he designs his own model and prints it. He brings the 3D printed models with him, and when he arrives at his destination, he photographs the 3D printed miniatures in front of the actual monument or site.
The project started as a whim in 2015, with a 3D printed model of the Duomo di Milano, or Milan Cathedral, in D’Angelo’s hometown of Milan. The model was designed and printed by the local +Lab on a LumiPocket DLP printer, and D’Angelo photographed it in front of the actual cathedral. A few days later, on a trip to Athens, he decided to do the same thing with the Parthenon, finding a 3D model on Thingiverse and having it printed on an Ultimaker 2+ at 3DiTALY.
The whim then turned into a project. D’Angelo bought his own FABtotum 3D printer before a trip around the Balkans and 3D printed models of the Orthodox Church of Skopje, Macedonia; the Orthodox Cathedral of Tirana, Albania; and the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica, Montenegro, all designed in Tinkercad.
Since then, #3DPrinTravel has grown into a collection of 21 models from 17 different countries in Europe and Asia in less than two years. It’s a unique travelogue that also offers a tour of the 3D printing world, showcasing a wide variety of materials that D’Angelo carefully chooses for each piece – for example:
- Models of the Gëlle Fra Monument of Remembrance, the Petronas Towers and the Cologne Cathedral were 3D printed in gold and silver PLA from FABtotum
- The Aspire Tower and the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest – wood PLA from FABtotum
- Library of Birmingham – light blue PLA from Eumakers
- Marina Bay Sands – transparent blue PLA from FeelColor
- Vilnius Cathedral – White XT by colorFabb
- Leaning Tower of Pisa and Neuschwanstein Castle – Monumental marble filament by TreeD
D’Angelo selects each filament based on what he feels will be the best match for the original structure. His personal favorite is the Palace of the Parliament, which took him several hours to design in Autodesk Fusion 360, using photographs and satellite images to create an accurate replica.
“With this project I want to show some beautiful parts of the planet I was lucky to see and introduce people to the amazing world of 3D printing,” D’Angelo tells 3DPrint.com. “It is also a great opportunity to test new materials and new 3D printers and get in touch with other travellers and 3D printing fans like me.”
Several of his models are available on Thingiverse, and you can see more of his work by following him on Twitter and Instagram.
[All photos: Angelo D’Angelo