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Minecraft Map of Northwestern Campus Printed In 3D 70

Posted by timothy
from the rock-hammer-for-scale dept.
erich666 writes "Ben Rothman has created a five-foot-wide scale model of most of Northwestern University, where he was a sophomore this past year. This campus model is unique: it is the first modeled in Minecraft and then printed on a 3D printer. It is also the largest Minecraft 3D print to date, and will be on display in the main lobby of the largest building on campus in a few weeks. Ben began in November and spent about 600 hours recreating the campus. He notes that "this felt like playing a game more than a modeling task." The cost of the print material was about $2000 to $2500, well less than the cost of the display case being built for it (admittedly, labor costs are included for the case). The free Mineways program was used for export. It can help upload an exported Minecraft model to Shapeways, i.materialise, or other 3D print service. Models cost as little as $5."
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Minecraft Map of Northwestern Campus Printed In 3D

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  • Poor guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by C_amiga_fan (1960858) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:29AM (#40219947)

    Wasting primetime college years not getting laid.

    • Re:Poor guy (Score:5, Funny)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:33AM (#40219993)

      It's a tech college. There's no women there.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        ::sigh::

        I took my daughter who is considering graphic design up to RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) a while back --- when we returned, and my wife asked her over dinner what the most interesting thing she had learned was, her response?

        ``There aren't many girls attending, so the girls all have their choice of boys, so everyone has a _really_ nice boyfriend.''

        So the solution is to be one of the nicest guys (as perceived by the girls) around.

        • Re:Poor guy (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:43AM (#40220109)

          RIT has a saying: The girls are like parking spaces. The good ones are handicapped or taken.

          Oh god, I'm going to hell.

        • Or do the smart thing and look for girls in a place where offer and demand are not so skewed to the wrong side.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Chees0rz (1194661)
          Beware of this. As an RIT alumn I can tell you that this causes a very strange social dynamic. It's kind of creepy. (OK - it is continually getting better)

          One time... i witnessed a group of students walking towards GCCIS (the computing college). This group was composed of about 10 guys, and 1 female (very typical at RIT). The girl was in the back of the pack.

          The first two guys reach the doors and grab the handles. They pull the doors open and stand to the side. One by one, the guys stand to the
      • Re:Poor guy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:46AM (#40220141)

        My experience in a similar situation was the 99% female nursing college was about 100 feet from the electronics lab building. There was a biz school with excellent M/F ratio a couple blocks away, but the nurses outnumbered us guys, so never bothered with the bean counters. Technically there were no women, you had to walk at least 100 feet. The key isn't how many women are signed up, its how many women per square mile in the greater campus area. Are there "tech schools" out there that are sausage fests surrounded by 100 miles of nervous sheep with no NEARBY women?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Not quite a hundred miles, but Michigan Tech fluctuates between 4 to 1 and 3 to 1 (used to be 8 to 1) male to female ratio, and the nearest school with even close to a 50/50 ratio is a 2 hour drive away through wilderness. The end result is a lot of drinking and any girl with an interest in anything technical is extremely popular.

        • by antdude (79039)

          At my college/university, I think it was 3 (females) to 1 (males) ratio back in the late 1990s/90s. Its computer science (CS) department were right next to the nursing department in the same building on the other end. They both shared the same entrances and exits. I never saw both groups talk to each other. Lots of attractive gals too. I only knew one CIS major who dated a nurse from there. Of course, me still a virgin and single as of today. :(

      • Huh? Northwestern is divided into separate "colleges," but they're all on the same campus and students can take courses from all of them. There is nothing (aside from lack of social skills) preventing a student in Tech from spending most of his free time with theater majors.

        Of course the theater / Radio / TV / Film majors tend to drop out and head to Hollywood after a year, so there's that.

      • actually, its a university. and there are more women than men.
      • by erich666 (109137)

        Northwestern University has more female than male undergrads [collegeprowler.com]. Oops, my nerd-streak is showing, I shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good joke.

      • by shiftless (410350)

        That's the excuse all the beta males use to justify why they're not getting laid. Meanwhile the confident dudes at the school have no problem pulling fine ass all day long.

    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      How long until we find out he's on academic probation after pulling a 1.22 GPA this past semester.
      • by iamhassi (659463)
        Soon, I hope, because if their classes are so easy that students have 600 hours of free time in a 6 month period then they're doing it wrong. That's roughly 4 hrs a day, every day, for 6 months straight. Wish I had that kind of free time when attending MST
        • NU is on quarters rather than eternal semesters...
        • 600 hours, 100 of which were over spring break with a friend (50 hrs each) = 500 hrs. My calculation had me spending 14 hrs/weekend (which is somewhat accurate). 6 months = roughly 25 weeks = 350 hrs on weekends. Now I have 150 hours spent over 25*5=125 weekdays. That's basically an hour a day, which I easily took out of the time I usually spend messing around online / playing video games. In conclusion, I'm rockin' a 3.5
  • cheater (Score:5, Funny)

    by demonbug (309515) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:36AM (#40220025) Journal

    I don't see any tell-tale creeper scars in there. I bet he wasn't even mapping in survival mode; cheater.

  • Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:40AM (#40220065) Homepage Journal

    A site which doesn't use that craptacularly insecure Flash to display simple pictures.

    And on one page no less!

    Maybe that supposed Mayan prediction is coming true after all.

    • Here is your Flash Fix [planetminecraft.com]

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Coool. I want to print-out the internal map for Link to Zelda. (Or maybe just a giant GIF.)

      >>>A site which doesn't use that craptacularly insecure Flash to display simple pictures.

      Wow? I've never seen sites that use Flash just to display pictures. Well a few but not that many. Most websites download just fine as JIFs and JPEGs.

      • I've never seen sites that use Flash just to display pictures.

        I have. CNN is one that used to do this. One picture for the story in Flash.

        I know a few of the sites that have been linked from /. have also done the same thing in the past.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't this violate the copyright held by the architect?

    • by jdgeorge (18767)

      Interesting question, but there are numerous architects, and this would be protected as "fair use" for a number of reasons. See Google Maps, Google Earth, etc for similar representation of copyright-protected architecture.

    • by BatGnat (1568391)
      No, it is a parody.
  • waste (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:46AM (#40220133)
    While this would be a cool spare-time project, I don't really see how using Minecraft to model something is even a remotely useful skill that a school would want to teach, let alone spend $5000+ on. He should have spent the 600 hours learning a real CAD or modeling software package. 600 hours is enough to get really good at just about anything. Seems like a waste of school resources to me. Flame away.
    • by vlm (69642)

      Typical education vs training situation. Never seen the campus but if the architecture of the campus is worth anything, he probably learned an awful lot via osmosis if nothing else. Although, yes if you're in training to be a solidworks operator, spending 600 hours on minecraft is a complete waste of TRAINING time. I don't know why you'd pay extreme money to go to a university merely to get training on a specific software package, I'd rather get an education in architecture or engineering for that kind o

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      in 40-50 years all standard construction will be designed out of 1m^3 cube templates, really not a bad idea from an insulation and materials standpoint which will be good because the only CAD program left will be minecraft Pro version 37
    • This is basically just a PR stunt. Nothing wrong with that. The kid shows he's a diligent worker and able to bend existing tools to his needs. Minecraft gets some PR. Northwestern gets some PR. The whole "3D printer" thing has another example. If this gets the kid a summer internship or a leg up in the job market, then it did everything it needed to do. For the rest of us, it's just "cool". To be honest, I was ready to scoff that he cheated by just doing the buildings in 3D but laying them out by hand (Mi
      • by erich666 (109137)

        You might be interested in the history of the project [reddit.com], which shows it's what you might expect: guys starts out small with Minecraft, goes into "gotta build it all" mode. Ben didn't have a plan at first, didn't get paid, and did it mostly because it was fun and exciting. From what I can see, no real PR stunt, which is a nice change of pace.

  • This sounds eerily like a page taken from the Dresden Files books, in which the titular character builds a model of Chicago in his basement in order to better keep an eye over his home town using magic.

  • Seriously the last line just kills it. "Models cost as little as".

    • by erich666 (109137)

      Yeah, I should have said that better. The sad thing is that people see, "$2000 to $2500" and conclude "nope, I couldn't ever afford that myself". So excuse my weaksauce "order by midnight tomorrow" text; how about, "Small models are quite cheap"?

  • how much time would it take to make that model in blender instead?
    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      how much time would it take to make that model in blender instead?

      Assuming you know how to use Blender. Likely far less time, a simple object like a cube is dead easy to duplicate numerous times in Blender, you can create multiple sets in one go and the camera controls for editing are superior to that of what you can get in Minecraft.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The Worldedit plugin for Minecraft can vastly decrease the amount of time needed to create buildings and such.

        No idea if it was used in this creation or not.

  • SSSsssssss! Ahem, anyway, what's with all the bum hurt in the posts? Modeled the university and made a physical model cheaply, win win. Looks better than the dioramas I see in museums.
  • This is actually the first time I've seen 3D printing material up that close. It actually doesn't look very high quality. The edges are not at all sharp. It actually looks a bit like some kind of foam rubber or styrofoam cut into those shapes with an exacto.
    • by erich666 (109137)

      In fact, this particular material is called "sandstone" (really, a gypsum powder glued together, then coated with superglue). It's heavy and a bit cold to the touch, and is definitely bumpy - see this closeup [flickr.com], for example. There are plenty of other materials out there, this just happens to be the one that Shapeways provides that can print with a wide range of colors. That said, they don't have any really great smooth plastic multicolor material available now. Here's an example [google.com] (excuse my crappy camera phone

      • by utkonos (2104836)
        Thanks for that ultra closeup. That explains a lot about the material. It would be nice to have something with clean edges like molded plastics can exhibit. On the topic of cheaper, what is the material cost of a model like your example?
        • by erich666 (109137)

          Shapeways has a good materials cost chart [shapeways.com] (I don't work for Shapeways, by the way, I just use them a fair bit). Cost is all by weight (plus a fixed fee per model), so complexity is free. From what I can tell, their markup for labor doesn't seem to be all that much, maybe 50% above "retail" materials, if you had your own ($70k) color 3D printer? I suspect I'm spending someone's venture capital when I make an order, as their prices seem pretty low all in all.

  • Gotta mine that....

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

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