RedEye On Demand Uses 3D Printing to Create Museum-Quality Statue of Thomas Jefferson for Smithsonian

3D printing supports Smithsonian mission to enhance visitor education

MINNEAPOLIS — (BUSINESS WIRE) — March 6, 2012RedEye On Demand, a digital manufacturing service and business unit of Stratasys, Inc. (NASDAQ: SSYS), has collaborated on a project with the Smithsonian to create one of the largest 3D-printed, museum-quality historical replicas in the world.

RedEye On Demand split Jefferson into four parts for printing, and then pieced the statue together w ...

RedEye On Demand split Jefferson into four parts for printing, and then pieced the statue together with pegs to deliver a seamless look. (Photo: RedEye On Demand)

The life-size statue of Thomas Jefferson is a central piece of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) exhibition, “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty,” which runs through October 14, 2012.

“The details RedEye On Demand incorporated into the Jefferson statue and the quality of the model exceeded our expectations,” says Dorey Butter, Project Manager, NMAAHC. “3D printing supports the Smithsonian’s mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. Touchable models and scientific replicas can help further our efforts to educate our visitors, and the technology and services at RedEye On Demand have opened our eyes to different possibilities.”

To develop the statue, the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office took 3D laser scans of an already existing statue created by StudioEIS and residing at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home near Charlottesville, Va. That data was sent to RedEye On Demand as a digital model, and the statue was produced in four parts using Stratasys’ patented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology.

The statue was created entirely from production-grade thermoplastics for strength and durability. RedEye On Demand employed a sparse-fill technique for the interior of the statue, much like a honeycomb, to reduce the figure’s weight and lower cost while still preserving quality and retaining strength.

Total build time was nearly 400 hours, or about two and a half weeks, compared to a several month production time for a traditional bronze statue of this size. Once assembled, the figure was “bronzed” through a creative application of primer, paint and wax to give the statue a realistic patina.

“The statue points to the range of possibilities with 3D printing and production,” says Richard Garrity, VP of RedEye on Demand. “We are expanding the reach of our services beyond traditional design firms and product development, and our work with the Smithsonian demonstrates our ability to offer customized parts and products for unique, one-off applications in an affordable way. As demand for this kind of rapid customization continues to increase, so do the capabilities and quality of our work, and this project is just one example of what we can do,” he adds. Once the Smithsonian exhibition ends, the statue may be used for educational purposes at Monticello.

Multimedia content showcasing the Jefferson statue build and installation process, as well as additional RedEye On Demand applications, include:

For more information on RedEye On Demand’s 3D printing and digital manufacturing services, visit

RedEye On Demand, a business unit of Stratasys, offers direct-digital-manufacturing services worldwide. RedEye has developed a global distributive manufacturing network of more than 125 additive manufacturing systems around the world producing rapid prototypes and low-volume production parts from engineering-grade thermoplastics. Users of the web-based service can upload 3D CAD files, receive an instant quote and have their project delivered in days. Online at:

Stratasys Inc., Minneapolis, is a maker of additive-manufacturing machines for prototyping and producing plastic parts. The company markets under the brands uPrint and Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus Production 3D Printers. The company also operates RedEye On Demand, a digital-manufacturing service for prototypes and production parts. Stratasys manufactures 3D printers for Hewlett Packard, which it sells under the brand Designjet3D. In 2011 Stratasys acquired 3D printer maker Solidscape Inc. According to Wohlers Report 2011, Stratasys had a 41-percent market share in 2010, and has been the unit market leader for the ninth consecutive year. Stratasys patented and owns the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM®) process. The process creates functional prototypes and manufactured goods directly from any 3D CAD program, using high-performance industrial thermoplastics. The company holds more than 285 granted or pending additive-manufacturing patents globally. Stratasys products are used in the aerospace, defense, automotive, medical, business and industrial equipment, education, architecture, and consumer-product industries. Online at:

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