Some Of The World’s Largest And Smallest 3D Prints

Some Of The World’s Largest And Smallest 3D Prints
A microscopic David Bowie-inspired figure in the stop-motion film Stardust Odyssey[Image: Stardust Odyssey]

3D printing is in the record books — specifically the Guinness Book of World Records — for some unusual creations.

3D Printing World Records

First? Biggest? Smallest? Longest? Heaviest? There’s a record for that. The Guinness Book of World Records is of course a treasure trove of the unusual, the unignorable, the one-of-a-kind or best-of-a-kind. Having an entry in this book isn’t altogether an unusual ambition, but perhaps we don’t often think much about how 3D printing may have made its way into the records.

We talk often about the rising adoption of 3D printing, and for the most part these days we’re talking industrial usage. Some of those industrial uses have, as it happens, set some records. But so have some just-because uses…because, hey, world record.

Let’s just take a look at a few of the ways that 3D printing has entered the record books in terms of some of the biggest — and smallest — objects ever to emerge from 3D printers.

My quick search of the Guinness site’s record holdings reveal 22 results for “3D printed” (and 28 for “3D print” but several of these aren’t actually related).

Largest Solid 3D Printed Item AND Largest 3D Printed Boat

Some Of The World’s Largest And Smallest 3D Prints
[Image: University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center via Guinness]

Sometimes going big in 3D printing means going big. This project tallies a total of three world records, and they seem… well earned, to put it mildly. You can see more, including a time-lapse of the build, here.


  • Who: University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center
  • What: 2.06 cubic meters (for largest solid item) / 7.72 meters (for largest boat)
  • Where: United States (Orono, Maine)
  • When: 10 October 2019

“The largest solid 3D printed object measures 2.06 m³ (72.78 ft³) of 3D printed material, and was made by the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center (USA) in Orono, Maine, USA, on 10 October 2019.

The boat is named 3Dirigo, after the state of Maine’s motto, ‘Dirigo’.”

Per the Wikipedia entry about that state motto, it seems appropriate for a double-record-setting build:

“Dīrigō (Latin ‘I direct’ or ‘I lead’) is the state motto of Maine, having once been the only state to hold its elections in September. (Politicians kept their eyes on these elections for evidence of a trend. Prior to the New Deal, Republicans claimed ‘As Maine goes, so goes the nation.’)”

Largest Prototype Polymer 3D Printer

Some Of The World’s Largest And Smallest 3D Prints
[Image: University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center via Guinness]

Let’s not leave Maine quite yet, as the 3D printer used to make the 3Dirigo boat was itself a record setter:

  • Who: University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center
  • What: 343.61 cubic meters
  • Where: United States (Orono, Maine)
  • When: 10 October 2019

“The largest prototype polymer 3D printer measures 343.61m³ (12,134.47 ft³), and was achieved by the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center (USA) in Orono, Maine, USA, on 10 October 2019.”

Tallest 3D Printed Sculpture of a Human

  • Who: James Bruton
  • What: 3.62 meters
  • Where: United Kingdom (Winchester)
  • When: 20 October 2017

“The tallest 3D-printed sculpture of a human is 3.62 m (11 ft 10 in) and was achieved by James Bruton (UK) in Winchester, UK, on 20 October 2017.

James has a keen interest in robotics and technology which he explores via his YouTube channel. The sculpture was of himself and was displayed and measured at Winchester Discovery Centre.”

Smallest Sculpture of a Human

Some Of The World’s Largest And Smallest 3D Prints
[Image: Jonty Hurwitz]

The story of the teeniest 3D printed human ever does not have a happy ending. The beyond-wee-bitty sculpture was unfortunately lost forever shortly after its creation. That makes it no less beautiful or impressive…and is in fact perhaps a helpful reminder to always watch yourself around precious art. Anyway, Guinness says:

  • Who: Jonty Hurwitz
  • What: 80, 100, 30 microns
  • Where: Germany (Karlsruhe)
  • When: 13 February 2015

“The smallest sculpture modelled on a real person was ‘Trust’ by Jonty Hurwitz (UK), a 3D-printed piece depicting a nude and measuring 80 by 100 by 30 microns (or the diameter of a human hair). The statue, inspired by the artist’s first love 27 years after they met, was verified on 13 February 2015 at the Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility in Germany.

Soon after it was measured, the statue disappeared, most probably crushed accidentally by a full-size human finger. The sculpture was created by ‘digitizing’ the posing model into a 3D computer image using a multiple-camera technique called photogrammetry. This file was then then miniaturized, sculpted and ‘printed’ using multiphoton lithography, a technique in which a pliable material is polymerised piece by piece by focusing photons onto specific points.There are around 1,000 microns in one millimetre.”

Smallest 3D Stop-Motion Animation Character

  • Who: Thibaut Pinsard, Université de Franche-Comté, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • What: 0.3 millimeters
  • Where: France (Besançon)
  • When: 14 December 2018

“Thibaut was keen to explore animation on a microscopic level. The character was 3D printed and stars in the stop-motion movie ‘STARDUST ODYSSEY’ which was shot using a scanning electron microscope.”

The making-of video highlights more of the behind-the-scenes goodness on this Bowie tribute:

Via Guinness World Records

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