3D imaging used for new Raleigh cathedral

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"The modeling allows us to put all of that information into one place so that it is all visible in 3D." (WTVD)

As the Diocese of Raleigh prepares for the Wednesday dedication of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, the company that designed parts of the dome is showing ABC11 what went into the design.

Harry McKinney, director of virtual design and construction for Clancy & Theys, the company that constructed the cathedral, said building information modeling (BIM) was used for this project.

BIM is a process which involves 3D imaging which allows McKinney to zoom in so far that he can see each individual bolt on the computer.

"The modeling allows us to put all of that information into one place so that it is all visible in 3D," he said. "It helps us to better understand all of the challenges of how different systems are intermingling with each other."

McKinney and his team of about a dozen people designed the intricate ladder and catwalk system inside of the dome.

He said this unique project is made of copper, weighs 162 tons, and has eight windows with the ladders.

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"It is such an iconic type of a building, one that you don't see built in the United States or really anywhere anymore," said McKinney. "To see that rise up so often as I'm driving through Raleigh, I'm amazed that I'll look and I'll see the dome of the cathedral popping up above the trees."

McKinney said only those with special training will be able to climb the ladders, such as maintenance crews working on the sprinkler system.

To give you an idea of how high they'll be climbing, the dome is 170 feet tall at its highest point.

The Catholic house of worship will seat about 2,000 people.
Perhaps its most recognizable feature is the copper dome. Crews used a crane to lift the dome onto its foundation in October of last year.

The cathedral dedication Mass is at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. We'll be streaming it live on our website.
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