As the 3D printing phenomenon continues to take Britain by storm, a new 3D printing hub for the North of England opened in Manchester yesterday, with the launch of Hobs Studio in Dale Street. Supported by £250,000 of investment from Britain's leading independent printing company, Hobs Reprographics, Hobs Studio offers a one stop shop for 3D scanning, 3D drawing, physical model production and reprographics, at all stages of the design process. This new 3D hub has been established to meet rising demand for 3D printing from architects, engineers, medical product developers and media designers.

This is the first 3D hub of its kind in the UK; until now, 3D printing services have been offered from a number of different locations, but Hobs Studio brings everything together under one roof, offering the latest technologies such as 3D printing, 3D scanning and laser cutting, saving time and increasing efficiency. With onsite 3D printing Hobs can genuinely offer turnaround times for printing of 3D models in as little as 24 hours.

Hobs Studio will also offer Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). AR is the next big technology that allows clients to simply point a tablet or smart-phone at a QR code and visualise a completed project in reality, to scale and more realistically than traditional 3D imagery. VR uses the same tablet or smartphone to enter a virtual reality computer simulated environment that can simulate a real or imagined world.

Commenting on the Hobs Studio launch, CEO of Hobs Reprographics, Kieran O'Brien says, 'What puts Hobs Studio in a league of its own is that at present no other company offers all these very relevant AEC services under one roof. The launch of Hobs Studio will bring huge benefits to designers, architects and product developers who need to produce 3D models. If you think of the AEC sector, 3D printing used to be brought in at the end of a build, with models created in London and then transported. With our new hub, 3D models can be produced right at the beginning of a development, complete with internal 3D models and landscaping if required, saving clients valuable time and money.'

Hobs Studio is on the site of the MPG printing business, and has 6,000 sq ft of space, in a city centre location with convenient transport links, so designers can see their model progress, and its production can be fully integrated into the design process. MPG was acquired by Hobs Reprographics in January 2013 and MPG staff are now working within Hobs.

3D Printer by Ciell via Wikimedia Commons

3D Printer by Ciell

Hobs has invested in a number of key individuals to run the new Studio, including Andrew Conley, one of Britain's foremost 3D model makers. Andrew was an architectural model maker at Foster & Partners working on the Wembley Stadium design & press release models, plus other London projects such as One London Wall and HSBC Canary Wharf.

Andrew has experience of manufacturing all types of architectural models from early design, through design development, to public consultation and marketing models, often working from hand drawn sketches. He can incorporate interactive components & lighting to a model to communicate the different stages of a development, emphasize key features, and add drama to a presentation. Andrew comments, 'I am looking forward to combining my knowledge of traditional model making with the speed and efficiency of 3D printing to draw on the best of both worlds in 3D modelling.'

For more info on Hobs Studio, visit www.HobsStudio.com or call 0161 237 9566. Twitter address is @HobsStudio.

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