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UNESCO Cultural Heritage

72 3D-Printed Dragons for the Great Pagoda in London

The Great Pagoda was built in 1761 for King George III by William Chambers, who was architecturally inspired by travels to China. At that time, the unveiling ceremony attracted a crowd that was impressed by the exotic splendour of the pagoda. Among the highlights were the detailed wooden dragons, which were hand-carved, painted and gilded.

However, these were removed twenty years later due to roofing work and have not been reused to date. Now, 250 years later, the pagoda in London’s Royal Botanic Garden is getting its former adornment back thanks to 3D printing.

The project involved 3D Systems, a 3D printing expert whose team used SLS printing, scan-to-CAD workflow, Geomagic software and meticulous reworking to create deceptively real kite replica.

3d systems 3d-gedruckte drachen scan 3d printed dragon

Source: 3D Systems

3d-systems 3d-gedruckte drachen replika software 3d printed dragon

Source: 3D Systems

First, a reconstructed, carved wooden dragon was digitally captured with the FARO Design ScanArm and then processed with the 3D Systems software so that the result is 60 percent lighter than the wood version. The developed hollow structure of the replica not only saves material costs but also protects the building in the long term from excessive weight. In addition, the kites could be scaled to different sizes, between 115 and 185 cm in length, using CAD data.

Source: 3D Systems

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