Hong Kong Celebrates an Anniversary with a 3D Printing World Record

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For over a century, Hong Kong was ruled by Britain, until in 1997 the island was finally returned to China. This month, the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule was celebrated, and a Guinness World Record was set in the process.

For such a small region, Hong Kong is a large presence in the 3D printing world, with noteworthy uses of the technology in the medical sector as well as in research. It makes sense, then, that a celebration of the last 20 years would include a 3D printed tribute, put together by a group of secondary school students. As part of the anniversary celebration, a competition was held asking local students to reproduce buildings from the island’s waterfront. 1,236 students from 123 secondary schools participated in the competition, resulting in 236 entries. The top four entries received awards at an unveiling on Sunday.

All together, the 3D printed waterfront is 35 square meters and consists of 1,214 3D printed items, earning it the Guinness World Record for largest 3D printed sculpture display. 20 landmark buildings from the north and south sides of Victoria Harborfront were 3D printed, including the International Commerce Center, International Finance Center Two, the Court of Final Appeal Building, and the Convention and Exhibition Center.

[Image: Dickson Lee]

First place went to a group of students from Bethel High School, who 3D printed a model of the Shun Tak Center and the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan. According to 15-year-old William Liu, it took the team three months and three different models before they accomplished the perfect one – and the hard work obviously paid off in more ways than one. Not only did the team take home the top prize, but at least one future architect may have been born from the process – Liu says that he is already planning his next 3D printed sculpture, a model of his school.

That’s exactly what the government hoped would happen. The competition was launched not only to celebrate the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, but to get students interested in and excited about technology, and to begin considering careers in the field.

“When they get involved in this competition, they’re not only copying they are thinking about how to redesign a lot of features,” said Thomas Lee Kwok-keung, General Manager of the Hong Kong Productivity Council, which organized the competition. “After the whole process a lot of students said they liked technology, they like 3D printing. We hope a lot of students will go for technology courses instead of commerce.”

Anniversary celebrations are always a time to reflect on what has happened over the last however many years, and much has changed in the last 20 years, not only for Hong Kong but for the rest of the world. While plenty of students in 1997 may have gone on to pursue careers in technology, 3D printing was hardly well known at that time, and it certainly wasn’t being taught in schools. Now the idea of students building 3D printed models of their local architecture seems like a natural way to celebrate a landmark occasion. Only time will tell how many of these students will be inspired enough by the project to go on to pursue careers involving 3D printing or architectural design, but for some of them, this project may only be the first world record they’ll achieve. Discuss in the Hong Kong forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: South China Morning Post]

 

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