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How to Help Older Dragons Lose Weight

& Look Great with 3D Printing

Despite their fiery exterior (and interior) dragons are delicate creatures that require careful attention… and occasionally a major makeover. Take the case of the 80 painted wooden dragons that once adorned The Great Pagoda at Kew in London.

The Pagoda was commissioned in 1761 during the reign of King George III. Crowds came to marvel at the striking 163-foot structure with its ornate and highly fashionable Chinoiserie style. The dragons were a standout, adorning the octagonal corners of each successive level.

Roof repairs in the 1780s necessitated the temporary removal of the dragons but for some reason they were never replaced.  Their disappearance sparked several rumors, including one that they had been used as payments for royal gambling debts. Experts believe however that the wood simply rotted over time.

3D printed SLS dragon on the shop floor at ODM High Wycombe, UK

Case Study Overview:

The 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing facility in High Wycombe, UK accepted the challenge from the Historic Royal Palaces of reducing the weight of the dragons before they could make rise again. 

  • The Great Pagoda at Kew has become a UNESCO World Heritage site and needed major restoration.  Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) took on the challenge of restoring the architectural treasure to its former glory.  The project ran into some particular problems in terms of design, quality, time, weight and cost. 
  • Biggest concern? How to reduce the weight in 80 large-scale figures since they could be too much for the aging structure. The project required research, reverse engineering and rapid digital production
3D scanning with a FARO design Arm and Geomagic Design X software

Read more about the processes used and the results of the project, please download the case study. 

Please visit the company’s website to learn more about 3D Systems' On Demand Manufacturing.