The Pagoda has been undergoing a Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) restoration, and one of the most important parts was replacing the dragons that were either sold off or simply rotted once they were taken down from the roof. The organization wanted the replacement dragons to look authentic, but also needed them to be able to withstand the English climate, unlike the originals. HRP turned to 3D Systems‘ On Demand Manufacturing team, which used Geomagic software and SLS 3D printing to create lightweight, intricate replicas of the original dragons.
First, the On Demand Manufacturing team 3D scanned a carved wooden dragon with a FARO Design ScanArm into Geomagic Design X reverse engineering software. Using CAD allowed the team to add hidden features for mounting the dragons to the pagoda, as well as to make the dragons 60% lighter than a wooden counterpart would have been. These lighter-weight dragons put less stress on the pagoda’s roof. Using CAD also enabled the designers to scale the dragons to different sizes from 1150 to 1850 mm in length.
“We turned to 3D Systems to provide the rapid throughput, accurate details, and excellent finishing that was needed for this project,” said Craig Hatto, project director, Historic Royal Palaces. “The engineering skill of 3D Systems’ team, the opportunity to light-weight the dragon statues, and the material longevity of SLS 3D printing were key considerations for this project.”
“In 3D printing, we are not limited by the need or time required to wait for tooling,” said Nick Lewis, General Manager, On Demand Manufacturing, 3D Systems. “The existence of digital 3D data gives us freedom to produce parts rapidly, and with custom sizes.”
The dragons were 3D printed in DuraForm PA, a durable polyamide 12 material that gave them the look and feel of the original dragons. They were then finished and hand-painted by 3D Systems’ artisans.
“We so often see 3D printing technology applied to new innovations that when we get the chance to literally make history, it is quite exciting,” said Phil Schultz, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Plastics and On Demand Manufacturing, 3D Systems. “In this collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces, we were able to bring new technology to bear on a historical landmark – restoring it to its former beauty and helping to ensure its future for generations to come. It’s a testament to the capabilities and expertise of our On Demand Manufacturing team. Our full suite of durable materials, 3D printing technologies, reverse engineering software and practical expertise allow us to create a custom solution no matter how unique the customer’s needs.”
3D Systems first showed us the 3D printed dragons last fall at the TCT Show, and the Great Pagoda at Kew will open to the public on July 13th.
3D printing is increasingly coming into play around the world to preserve and restore UNESCO sites, allowing for greater access to cultural heritage.Discuss dragons, pagodas and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.
You May Also Like
Launcher’s New Orbital Transfer Vehicle to Rideshare on SpaceX Falcon 9 in 2022
Launcher’s new orbit transfer vehicle (OTV) will debut on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare for its inaugural flight to Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) in October 2022. Known as Launcher Orbiter, the...
SpaceX Successes Drive off-Earth Innovation, So Do Its Failures
After a highly anticipated test launch, SpaceX‘s Starship SN11 prototype finally lifted off for a planned test flight. Climbing up from out of the cloud deck at the company’s South...
From Magnets to Harpoons: How to Catch Space Debris
The world’s first commercial test mission to locate and remove space debris has finally launched to space. On March 22, 2021, Astroscale’s End-of-Life Services demonstration (ELSA-d) mission took off from...
Relativity Space Preparing for Next Year’s Rocket Launch with New VP and Verified 3D Printing Tech
In the last few years, there has been excitement for the new race to the moon. But as deadlines for rocket launches and crewed missions get closer, space companies begin...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.