This is a to-scale model of downtown Houston. The boundaries are set by the roads, Bagby St, Texas Ave, Austin St, and Clay St.
The entire city is 3D printed as one piece. It is then attached to a 3/4" hand-cut walnut wood base. The base provides additional stability and a hand-crafted look to the piece.
Each building was modeled 1 at a time for precision. This takes a lot of work but is the best way to ensure an accurate replica of the downtown area. The scale is set at 1:5806, or every 1in is equivalent to 484ft in real life (1mm is ~19ft). The tallest building in Houston is the Wells FargoPlaza which is 992ft; it is 2in in this model (52mm).
PLA (polylactic acid) is one of the best materials to create objects with a 3D printer. It is a bioplastic made from a number of plant products including corn, potatoes and sugar-beets. PLA is considered an 'earth friendly' plastic that is environmentally friendly and can be composted at commercial compost facilities. PLA can easily be painted with cellulose spray paints and oil paints, although acrylic paints are considered the best choice.