The Largest 3D-printed Statue
Case Study: Building a 30-foot tall statue with 3D printing technology
Table of Contents
3D Statues + Technology
Creating the largest 3D-printed statue in the world takes a lot of creativity, planning, attention to detail, and teamwork. WhiteClouds was commissioned to build a 30-foot-tall statue, named Scout for CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 in Las Vegas. This awe-inspiring statue was made to honor women in the construction industry. The composite statue incorporates multiple technologies, including 3D-printing, fiberglass, cementitious, expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, wood, vinyl, and steel.
Our expert design team started with the client’s files to create a digital file that would then be sent to print. This was done using state-of-the-art software and took a total of 60 hours. The combined designs incorporated a permanent forklift-enabled structure at the base and is attached with bolts for easy removal for relocation. The architecture at the base of the statue emulates a slab of broken concrete and is attached to 6-inch channel iron and ¼-inch steel plate.
Our fabricators chose 3d-printing technology to produce the foundation of the statue. Each piece was 3D-printed in ultra-fine layers of plastic, then bonded together and assembled around an internal structure built with 2-inch and 4-inch square tubing that supports the massive statue and gives it strength and stability. The faux slab of concrete that surrounds the statue’s feet is created with expanded polystyrene foam.
Next, the team applied a layer of fiberglass then prepared the statue for finishing. Scout was given a rugged finish of cementitious mortar that looks like concrete and acts as a barrier against the elements. Applying the cementitious mortar was the last step in combining the various components of the composite structure. The statue was then painted with a gray colored paint to emulate cured cement. At this stage of the process, the team also built a large cradle for the statue to rest on during transport to the expo.
The 10-foot tall cage was constructed to support the weight of the colossal 3D-printed statue and placement of heavy balancing weights inside to prevent the statue from toppling in high winds. The steel supports are coated with a rust-proof finish to protect it. To complete the look, vinyl-wrapped wood panels with the lettering CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 skirt the base. The vinyl panels were secured with lightweight corner posts built with hidden wood cleats for easy removal. The corner posts were painted and air brushed to imitate rusting steel girders. The bolts were made from wood on a CNC machine.
The manpower and hours spent on this project are just as monumental as the statue itself. Scout was engineered for a 20-year lifespan, combining structural design with aesthetics. 3D printing was used to enhance the small details of the statue, which is made of 365 individual prints. Each print took on average 28 hours to print for a total of 10,220 hours on 55 different 3D printers. About 190 rolls of filament were used to 3D print the statue from head to toe. The development and construction of the largest 3D-printed statue involved 18 employees and took a total of 8 weeks to complete and weighs in at 2,800 pounds. This 9.14 meter statue almost triples the Guinness World Record for 3D printed sculptures. To learn more, visit our 3D Statues page.
Product Fast Facts:
- Height: 30 feet
- Weight: 2,800 pounds
- 15 gallons of resin were used to adhere the fiberglass
- Scout is filled with 7 gallons of expanding foam
- 23 pounds of welding rod were used to weld the frame
- 190 spools of filament were used to 3D-print the statue
Technology Fast Facts:
- Scout is made of 365 individual 3D-printed parts
- Each print took 28 hours to print
- 55 3D printers were used
- Scout took 10,220 hours to 3D print