Here be 3D printed dragons

Earlier this week we posted about a letter we received from Sophie, a 7-year-old girl. All she wanted was a dragon.

letter

Sophie’s very polite letter.

“Our work has never ventured into dragons of the mythical, fire breathing variety. And for this Australia, we are sorry,” we replied.

Sophie’s letter, and our response, made an unexpected splash across the globe. It was featured on TIME, Huffington Post, The IndependentYahoo, Breakfast TV, the list goes on. People contacted us offering to help, financial institutions tweeted their support and DreamWorks Studios phoned (seriously), saying they knew how to train dragons and wanted to speak with Sophie. The dreams of one little girl went viral.

We couldn’t sit here and do nothing. After all, we promised Sophie we would look into it.

So this morning at 9:32 a.m. (AEDT), a dragon was born.

3D_Toothless

Toothless, born today, is a blue female dragon. Species: Seadragonus giganticus maximus

Toothless, 3D printed out of titanium, came into the world at Lab 22, our additive manufacturing facility in Melbourne. The scientists there have printed some extraordinary things in the past—huge anatomically correct insects, biomedical implants and aerospace parts. So they thought a dragon was achievable.

“Being that electron beams were used to 3D print her, we are certainly glad she didn’t come out breathing them … instead of fire,” said Chad Henry, our Additive Manufacturing Operations Manager. “Titanium is super strong and lightweight, so Toothless will be a very capable flyer.”

Toothless is currently en route from Lab 22 in Melbourne to Sophie’s home in Brisbane.

Sophie’s mother Melissah said Sophie was overjoyed with our response and has been telling everyone dragon breath can be a new fuel. “All her friends are now saying they want to be a scientist and Sophie says she now wants to work at CSIRO. She’s saying Australian scientists can do anything,” Melissah told the Canberra Times.

We’d love to have you in our team, Sophie. For now, stay curious.


Video: The birth of Toothless

* * *

UPDATE: Dragon delivery complete.

Sophie and Toothless.

Sophie and Toothless.

Media: Vanessa Hill,  +61 412 409 971  vanessa.hill@csiro.au.     Media resources: More images and video: A 3D printed dragon


Accelerating our dragon R&D program

Smaug

A mythical generator: Could the fire in Smaug’s belly power a small city?

We’ve been doing science since 1926 and we’re quite proud of what we have achieved. We’ve put polymer banknotes in your wallet, insect repellent on your limbs and Wi-Fi in your devices. But we’ve missed something.

There are no dragons.

Over the past 87 odd years we have not been able to create a dragon or dragon eggs. We have sighted an eastern bearded dragon at one of our telescopes, observed dragonflies and even measured body temperatures of the mallee dragon. But our work has never ventured into dragons of the mythical, fire breathing variety.

And for this Australia, we are sorry.

This came to our attention today when we received the following letter:

Hello Lovely Scientist

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. 

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. 

Love from Sophie

letter

Fanmail, with a call for dragon R&D.

Last week the Scientific American hypothesised whether dragon fire would be produced by flint, gas, or rocket fuel. We already do some research in alternative fuels, so perhaps dragon fuel is a good area for us to start accelerating our dragon R&D program. Hobbit fans would have observed the amount of fire in Smaug’s belly. But how much energy could it produce? Would dragon fuel be a low emissions option?

Thanks for the fuel for thought, Sophie. We’re looking into it. In the meantime, you can always admire the brood of Daenerys Targaryen.

Dragon

Sophie’s dragon.

 

*  *  *

UPDATE: We made Sophie a dragon. Really. Check it out in our latest post, Here be 3D printed dragons.


Friday Fish Time: How to train your dragonfish

Common Name: Threadfin Dragonfish. Scientific Name: Echiostoma barbatum. Family: Melanostomiidae. Image: Australian Museum

Suit up, knights in neoprene armour. If you’re looking to impress a potential mate, look no further than the potential of a dragonfish. Luckily we have some tips on how to catch and train your dragonfish.

  1. Dragonfish live in the dimly-lit twilight zone, like 200 or so metres down. Contact James Cameron to hitch a ride.
  2. It’s dark down there. Take your fashionable underwater headtorch.
  3. Look, shiny object! Don’t be distracted by the dragonfish’s illuminated barbel. Repeat after me: I am not prey. I am not prey.
  4. Steer clear of it’s numerous large pointy teeth.
  5. Raise your lance (or speargun) and take accurate aim. Dragonfish are around 30cm in length.
  6. Stick it with the pointy end.
  7. Train* your dragonfish to woo your desired mate with it’s mesmerising blue and pinkish light. Hello ladies.
  8. You now rule the ocean.

Dragonfish have never been known to breathe fire.

* We recommend consulting the works of Pavlov


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