Aug 30, 2016 | By Alec

Just a decade ago, the term 3D printing never appeared on the Guinness World Record radar – but that is changing rapidly. Just last week, a 3D printed Batman outfit was awarded the record for most functional gadgets on a cosplay suit for the Guinness World Records 2017: Gamer’s Edition. And earlier this year, British startup Backface were awarded the honor of “tallest 3D printed human” when they unveiled a 2.05 m (6 ft 8”) 3D printed sculpture of Jon Bentley, presenter of UK television program The Gadget Show.

But the most coveted 3D printing record, for the biggest 3D printed object in the world, has now also been claimed as well. The lucky record holders are researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (the ORNL, part of the US Department of Energy), for a 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall tool 3D printed for Boeing. Of course this is not the first large 3D printing project the ORNL has worked on, as they have been at the forefront of industrial 3D printing development for years. Among others, they revealed a 3D printed home and car that can power each other with solar energy or natural gas about a year ago, while they have also done extensive work in the field of metal 3D printing. Their undisputed highlight, however, is their gorgeous 3D printed replica of a Shelby Cobra.

But this Boeing tool certainly takes the cake in terms of size. Specifically, the record holder is a trim-and-drill tool, that has been 3D printed in carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite materials – using ORNL’s custom Big Area Additive Manufacturing 3D printer. Weighing about 1,650 pounds, it took only about 30 hours to 3D print the tool. With its massive length of 17.5 feet, it is about as long as a large sport vehicle. Not only was it cheaper and quicker to manufacture than existing trim-and-drill tools, it is also expected to save time and money during use by Boeing.

Boeing itself will be using this gargantuan tool as a test surface during the construction of Boeing 777X passenger jets – which are scheduled to enter production in 2017 with a delivery target in 2020. Specifically, the tool will enable them to secure the aircraft’s composite wing skin for drilling and machining before final assembly. “The existing, more expensive metallic tooling option we currently use comes from a supplier and typically takes three months to manufacture using conventional techniques,” said Boeing’s director of structures and materials Leo Christodoulou. “Additively manufactured tools, such as the 777X wing trim tool, will save energy, time, labor and production cost and are part of our overall strategy to apply 3D printing technology in key production areas.”

But of course a Guinness World Record is not handed out lightly. During the award ceremony at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL (where the 3D printer is housed) judge Michael Empric therefore measured the tool meticulously. He found that the object indeed exceeded the required minimum of 0.3 cubic meters (about 10.6 cubic feet), and proclaimed it a world record.

Judge Michael Empric awards record to ORNL Laboratory Director Thom Mason, Boeing’s Leo Christodoulou, ORNL’s Vlastimil Kunc and Boeing’s Mike Matlack.

Understandably, ORNL was very happy with this kind of recognition, and praised the abilities of their 3D printer. “The recognition by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS draws attention to the advances we’re making in large-scale additive manufacturing composites research,” said Vlastimil Kunc, who heads ORNL’s polymer materials development team. “Using 3D printing, we could design the tool with less material and without compromising its function.”

The tool itself is still present at the ORNL facility, where it is being tested and verified. Upon completion of those steps, Boeing is planning to bring the trim-and-drill tool to their facility in St. Louis and provide practical feedback to ORNL during use. The project was supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Advanced Manufacturing Office.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


I.AM.Magic wrote at 8/30/2016 1:17:21 PM:

Cool but, aren't 3D printed houses bigger?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive