January 10, 2014
Answering A Girl’s Wish With A Titanium 3D Printed Dragon
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A seven-year-old girl’s wish for a dragon was answered by CSIRO with the help of a 3D printer. Sophie, from Brisbane, Australia, wrote to scientists at CSIRO asking the "lovely scientists" if they could make her a dragon.
“My name is Sophie and I am 7 years old. My dad told me about the scientists at the CSIRO. Would it be possible if you can make a dragon for me. I would like it if you could but if you can’t thats fine,” the girl wrote. “I would call it toothless if it was a girl and if it is a boy I would name it Stuart. I would keep it in my special green grass area where there are lots of space. I would feed it raw fish and I would put a collar on it. If it got hurt I would bandage it if it hurt himself. I would play with it every weekend when there is no school.”
At first, the scientists took the letter as encouragement to “start accelerating our dragon R&D program.” CSIRO scientists thanked Sophie for the thought, and said they were “looking into it.” However, as Sophie’s letter gained attention across the Internet, CSIRO scientists decided to oblige her request by making her a dragon.
CSIRO said that not only did national news outlets like TIME and Huffington Post pick up on the story, but people offered to help financially. DreamWorks Studios even called the scientists, saying they knew how to train dragons and would like to speak with Sophie.
“We couldn’t sit here and do nothing. After all, we promised Sophie we would look into it,” CSIRO wrote in a blog post. “So this morning at 9:32 a.m. (AEDT), a dragon was born.”
Scientists headed over to the Lab 22 at the manufacturing facility in Melbourne to print off the dragon “Toothless” using titanium. CSIRO scientists have had plenty of success printing things in the past, including anatomically correct insects, biomedical implants and aerospace parts, but never dragons.
“Being that electron beams were used to 3D print her, we are certainly glad she didn’t come out breathing them … instead of fire,” quipped Chad Henry, CSIRO’s Additive Manufacturing Operations Manager. “Titanium is super strong and lightweight, so Toothless will be a very capable flyer.”
CSIRO said Toothless is currently in route to Sophie’s home in Brisbane, where it will find its home in a special grassy, green backyard in hopes of being bandaged and eating raw fish.