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Crystal Palace Dinosaur "Face-Lift"

The beloved Megalosaurus, a popular favourite in the collection of 30 iconic sculptures, was given an emergency face-lift during the 2021 lockdown. The giant Grade I listed statue, standing at 3.5m tall and 10m long was in serious danger of deteriorating beyond repair, so work began to repair and restore a section of its jaw that had collapsed in May 2020.

Credit - Historic England

Using a combination of 3D scanning, 3D printing and scenic finishing, 22 new teeth, a new nose and light-weight ‘prosthetic jaw’ were installed in Crystal Palace Park, and then scenically colour-matched to the original 167-year-old body.

The project involved taking the original fragments of the statue’s face and scanning them using white light techniques and cross-referencing them and matching them with archived 3D scans which built the basis of a model that could then be printed using additive manufacturing technologies.

Selected for its suitability with outdoor installations and UV resistance, the prosthesis was printed in ASA using Stratasys FDM technology. The build volumes of Fluxaxis’ two machines (measuring 914 x 610 x 914mm) meant that the model could be printed in fewer sections and larger pieces to ensure strength and stability, with the 22 teeth being printed separately using the HP Multi Jet Fusion technology in Nylon PA12.

Post-print, the sections were assembled, bonded together and then primed by the finishing department, to a smooth “paint ready” surface finish, removing any remaining layer lines to provide a blank canvas for our client to conduct the final scenic finishing on site.

The operation was made possible thanks to a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, fundraising by the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs and the commitment of Bromely Council, together with the support of Historic England.