Microlight3D
3D-printed replica of the Statue of Liberty.

A 3D-Printed Nod to Lady Liberty

Jan. 20, 2021
A French manufacturer of high-res micro-scale 3D printing machines commemorates Inauguration Day with a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty.

A specialty manufacturer of high-resolution micro-scale 2D and 3D printing systems has 3D printed a micron-sized replica of “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.”

Microlight3D printed the world’s tiniest Statue of Liberty, a replica measuring 1.8 mm high by 0.6 mm wide, to commemorate Inauguration Day in the United States. The statue is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy and was a gift from the French in 1886 commemorating the alliance of France and the United States during the American Revolution.

The statue is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy and was a gift from the French in 1886 commemorating the alliance of France and the United States during the American Revolution.

Microlight3D, based in Grenoble, France, noted that the statue breaks the height limitation and demonstrates the ability to 3D print minute structures up to 10 mm high while maintaining micrometric resolution. Previously, the height of objects was limited to 0.3 mm.

The advancement is intended to address demands of researchers and industrial developers working on applications in mechanical micro-parts, meta-materials and medical devices. The company noted that users can make alignments on a preexisting pattern and print exactly where they want. The replica of the statue, for example, was positioned on the word “Liberty” on a U.S. penny.

Users can make alignments on a pre-existing pattern and print exactly where they want, noted the company. The replica of the statue, for example, was positioned on the word “Liberty” on a U.S. penny. 

Philippe Paliard, co-founder of Microlight3D, said researchers and industrial developers are looking to work on metallic or silicon wafers. The company’s 3D microprinting system is compatible with a wide range of materials and substrates, he said, and allows users to micro-fabricate structures they couldn’t before. The µFAB3D-Advanced 3D microprinter can align the laser and print on the tip of optical fibers for micro-optics applications, said Paliard.

The company highlights two 3D microprinting innovations:

  • OrmoGreen, a special polymer doped with silica nanoparticles that the company developed

  • Long-range Z, a feature enabling Microlight3D’s µFAB3D-Advanced 3D-microprinter to go beyond the microprinting height limits of earlier models, achieving structures up to 10mm in height 

The statue was printed directly onto the coin to demonstrate compatibility with different printing substrates, notably metallic and opaque substrates.

Microlight3D’s technique is based on two-photon polymerization, consisting of a green pulsed laser (operating at 532 nanometers wavelength), which combined with ultra-precise moving stages creates 3D objects in a photoresist with sub-micron resolution. A simple solvent bath removes the unpolymerized resin.

Microlight3D has previously printed miniatures of other objects to commemorate events: a pyramid of the tiniest champagne flutes for New Year’s Eve, and for the second season of the Disney+ show “The Mandalorian,” a replica of the Millennium Falcon.

About the Author

Rehana Begg | Editor-in-Chief, Machine Design

As Machine Design’s content lead, Rehana Begg is tasked with elevating the voice of the design and multi-disciplinary engineer in the face of digital transformation and engineering innovation. Begg has more than 24 years of editorial experience and has spent the past decade in the trenches of industrial manufacturing, focusing on new technologies, manufacturing innovation and business. Her B2B career has taken her from corporate boardrooms to plant floors and underground mining stopes, covering everything from automation & IIoT, robotics, mechanical design and additive manufacturing to plant operations, maintenance, reliability and continuous improvement. Begg holds an MBA, a Master of Journalism degree, and a BA (Hons.) in Political Science. She is committed to lifelong learning and feeds her passion for innovation in publishing, transparent science and clear communication by attending relevant conferences and seminars/workshops. 

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