CSIRO 3D prints titanium dragon for little girl; apologises for lack of ‘dragon research’


Scientists at the CSIRO were more than happy to grant the wish of 7-year old Sophie Lester from Queensland who wrote to them about her special request—her very own dragon.

Meet Toothless, a blue female dragon. Species: Seadragonus giganticus maximus Image: CSIRO News blog
Meet Toothless, a blue female dragon. Species: Seadragonus giganticus maximus
Image: CSIRO News blog

“Hello Lovely Scientist My name is Sophie and I am 7 years old. My dad told me about the scientists at 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 that’s fine. I would call it Toothless if it was a girl. And if it is a boy I would call it Stuart.”

With a letter as sweet as that, how could the scientists say no?

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

Scientists at the CSIRO’s Lab 22 in Melbourne spent two days designing and printing a dragon for Sophie using their state-of-the-art 3D printer.

“Her letter was very hopeful and it was very polite and we wanted to encourage her curiosity and encourage her love of science,” said a spokesperson for the CSIRO, quoted in a Sydney Morning Herald report.

Chad Henry, Additive Manufacturing Operations Manager of CSIRO Titanium Technologies, talked about the creation of the dragon “Toothless” on the CSIRO news blog.

“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 Mr Henry.

“Titanium is super strong and lightweight, so Toothless will be a very capable flyer.”

The research agency has “apologised” for not putting more time into their dragon research program.

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

A number of international outfits picked up the story which created waves across the world. Sophie’s letter was featured on TIME, The Huffington Post and Yahoo, among others.

Dreamworks Studios, the company which produced the movie How To Train Your Dragon even called up Sophie’s mother Melissah.

“Someone from Dreamworks called this morning and the director had asked to ask Sophie why Toothless is a girl? They were fascinated that Sophie thought Toothless was a girl,” she said on Friday.

”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,” she told the Canberra Times.

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

Check out the video showing the birth of Toothless here.