ST3P 3D, “a tight-knit team of Product/Industrial Design Engineers located in Glasgow, Scotland,” recently fielded a request to 3D print a horse’s head. Unlike, I would assume, most 3D printed horse heads this one, a 1 to 1 replica of a Ban Josip Jelačić statue, is nearly life-sized. Or, technically speaking, “gigantic” in 3D printing terms.

The first challenge to this undertaking was that ST3P 3D received a 3D scan of the head that was of a fairly low resolution. When scaled to the correct size, a few gaps were left over, which were corrected with their 3D CAD program.

The second, and probably more obvious problem, was that the head was huge at roughly 1 meter x 1 meter x 60 centimeters. Since their printer couldn’t handle something quite this large, the assembly had to be broken up into 124 individual blocks to be stitched together later. These blocks varied greatly in time to print, taking between a half hour and fifteen hours.

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The pieces were test-fitted together using tape, and a few of the larger pieces had actually warped during printing. After correcting this, in some instances by splitting them up into smaller segments, the pieces were permanently attached  with epoxy resin. Even after all of this effort, a “general purpose filler” had to be used to fill in any remaining cracks.

When completed, this head was successfully displayed in the ‘People Love Monuments’ exhibit at the Transmission gallery in Glasgow, Scotland.

original statue image source