Jan 3, 2018 | By Tess

The New Zealand city of Rotorua will soon be the site of a large-scale 3D printed sculpture honoring the region’s native Te Arawa history. The impressive piece, designed by a team from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, will be additively manufactured in partnership with local company Kilwell Fibretube.

The 12-meter 3D printed sculpture will be installed at Rotorua’s southern entranceway, Hemo Gorge, to greet people entering the city. Fittingly, the sculpture’s design was inspired by the Te Arawa tohunga (high priest) Ngatoro-i-rangi, who led the Māori people to Aotearoa (New Zealand) long ago. 

"The design is derived from customary whakairo rākau (wood carving) elements, yet is interpreted in a contemporary way," added Stacy Gordine, the head of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute’s National Stone and Bone Carving School.

Kilwell Fibretube, which specializes in the design and manufacturing of composite tubing, will soon begin 3D printing the sculpture using a fleet of 3D printers. The work will be executed in close collaboration with Te Puia/New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, the Rotorua Lakes Council, and Derek Kawiti, a digital design lecturer at Victoria University.

The large-scale statue was initially going to be constructed out of stainless steel, but when issues arose in its planning, the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute set out to find alternative manufacturing methods.

Fortunately, Kilwell reached out to the local council with a potential solution that would allow them to accurately construct the sculpture and manufacture it locally: 3D printing. “It's fantastic to be able to showcase the work we do to our local community and be part of the sculpture that will welcome visitors to our city from the south,” said Craig Wilson, CEO of Kilwell Fibretube.

Kilwell Fibretube CEO Craig Wilson with a miniature 3D printed mockup of the Hemo Gorge sculpture

“We always wanted to involve local business and to be able to do this is a fantastic result. It is set to be a stunning piece of art for Rotorua,” commented Te Puia chief executive Tim Cossar.

Rotorua-based Kilwell estimates the project will require almost 16,500 hours of 3D printing, and it plans to run its fleet of machines for 21 hours a day, seven days a week for a total of 79 days. The sculpture, printed from roughly 63 km of PLA filament, will then be coated with a layer of carbon fibre for extra strength and durability.

If all goes well with the 3D printing and post-processing stages, the 3D printed sculpture could be installed as soon as August 2018.

Additionally, because the Hemo Gorge sculpture will be made from lightweight PLA and carbon fiber materials, it will only weigh about 800 kg meaning that once it is complete it can easily be transported to its installation site and lifted into place. To put the weight into perspective, if the sculpture had been made from stainless steel, it would have weighed about 12 tonnes.

It will be exciting to see the final result of the large-scale 3D printed sculpture when it is installed in Rotorua later this year. The project is estimated to cost NZ $570,000.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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New Zealand is a lie, its not clean and green wrote at 1/4/2018 12:19:19 AM:

Once again local councils wasting money on 'art' when the local community is desperate for money just to keep people feed go without!

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