Old Trafford, nicknamed the Theater of Dreams by England international and Manchester United football great Sir Bobby Charlton, has been the home field of Manchester United's team since 1910.

Aside from a short hiatus due to some unfortunate aerial bombing from 1941 to 1949 when the Red Devils shared the Maine Road ground with hated local rivals Manchester City, Old Trafford has served as the most iconic of English football club stadiums.

Now Hobs 3D, a recent venture from the Hobs Group of Companies, the largest independently owned reprographics organization in the UK, uses 3D printing in the firm's arsenal (football pun intended) and has recently opened a new Hobs 3D studio in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

Following traditional methods, architectural context or master plan models were made by hand and the scaled-down buildings produced in foam, plastic or wood finish. But the advent of 3D printing technology now allows architects to design their work in 3D and print physical models overnight.


To celebrate this new venture, Hobs 3D has produced two singular architectural models, one of Old Trafford and one of rival Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, as giveaway prizes in a newspaper contest. The company says the unique replicas show the iconic grounds in remarkable detail.

Hobs used ZMapping data to produce and 3D print the architectural models.

Kieran O'Brien, the Chief Executive of Hobs Reprographics, says the launch of the Manchester studio represents a high water mark for the technology.

"Manchester is leading the way with this and really is top of the pile," O'Brien said. "But we are just responding to the demand from businesses in the area. There are so many ways of using the technology I cannot imagine what's going to happen. As the market grows, the cost of production and of materials will go down. So that will really democratize the technology and open it up to people. As long as you can produce a 3D image of something, or we can scan it, then we can produce a model of it. At the moment, architects and engineers are our main clients, but I think fashion and jewellery will become big secondary markets as well."

The stadium models, which measure 250 mm wide and 75 mm high, are said to have a value of approximately $1600 apiece. Both of the replica models, printed in high resolution and detail on an SLS machine, are being offered as contest prizes by the Manchester Evening News.