May 6, 2016 | By Alec

Records are meant to be broken, but that can be quite tough. The Guinness World Record for tallest 3D printed sculpture of a human being was set at a massive 2 meters, and that requires some serious 3D printing to beat. Fortunately the Birmingham, UK-based 3D printing startup Backface loves a challenge and has just broken this record by an impressive 5 cm. The sculpture in question was of Jon Bentley, the presenter of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show, and the record-breaking result is set to be showcased in tonight’s episode.

Backface is a Birmingham-based startup that bring creative projects to life through 3D printing and 3D scanning, and have been in business for less than two years. As they explained to, they were approached by The Gadget Show earlier this year. “We were challenged by the popular television program ‘The Gadget Show’ to attempt to break the world record for the tallest 3D printed human. Naturally, not being folk that run from a challenge we said, ‘YES!’,” they recall.

The first step of the record-breaking project was simple. As Backface has high quality 3D scanning equipment available, Jon Bentley simply visited their studio for extensive 3D scanning. “We scanned Jon using our custom built photogrammetry rig, which consists of 96 DSLR 18 megapixel cameras which all fire simultaneously - this then produced a point cloud of just over 40 million points which we converted into an OBJ + texture file to work with,” Backface explained.

Choosing the nicest pose, this model was reworked by their in-house artist to make it suitable for 3D printing. “We cleaned and detailed the scan in ZBrush. As this print was to be significantly larger than our usual models, we spend a day cleaning and detailing, and also produced a couple of smaller scale test prints to check some areas colors and to assist us into digitally cutting the model in the best places,” they revealed.

The challenge only really began when it was time for 3D printing. The massive print took about a month to complete (working almost 24/7), and was broken up into about 30 separate pieces to become 3D printable. Each part was 3D printed in full color in a gypsum composite on their ProJet 660 printer. Together, they consist of more than 50,000 layers (each 100 microns thick). Thanks to that high 3D printing resolution, the joints were barely noticeable. The model was also hollowed out to make it transportable, with the separate parts being glued together.

But as this was an official Guinness World Record attempt, they couldn’t just measure it in their workshop. Instead, an event was organized at the Birmingham National Exposition Centre, which was filmed for The Gadget Show as well. Nervously, the Backface team prepared the model before it was officially measured by the Guinness representatives. “We did it and are now the Guinness World Records holder for the tallest 3D printed sculpture of a human!” they proudly revealed.

It must have been a nerve-wrecking project to work on, with a 3D printer running almost continuously for about a month. But it was all well worth the effort. The final model is 2m, 5cm from head to foot (about 12 percent larger than the real Jon Bentley), and weighs about 15 kg. “The record attempt was already a challenge but attempting to print something this size on a full color 3D printer made the achievement even more exciting!” Backface’s Tim Milward said. “However, I'd have to say the most difficult part was carrying the finished, assembled model down the stairs at our studio!” If you’re interested, tune in for tonight’s (Friday 6 May) episode of The Gadget Show on Channel 5. We wonder what record they will target next.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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disappointed wrote at 5/9/2016 11:05:19 PM:

this is a bologna record if you can just glue stuff together until it gets tall.

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