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See Michelangelo's David as a super-tiny 3D-printed sculpture

Engineers shrink the iconic statue down to the height of a pencil lead. Hold me closer, tiny David.

This minuscule 3D-printed David is made from copper and is 1 millimeter high.
Giorgio Ercolano/Exaddon

Michelangelo's sculptural masterpiece David is a near-perfect piece of Renaissance art, but it has one problem: It's not very portable. Researchers at ETH Zurich university in Switzerland have fixed that issue, except their version of David is so small you almost can't see it. Nice try, though.

What's so remarkable about this David, besides the size, is how it was made. It comes from Swiss 3D-printing company Exaddon, an offshoot of the university. Exaddon specializes in 3D-printing metals on a mindbogglingly small scale. The David, pedestal included, stands just 1 millimeter tall and is formed from pure copper.

This even smaller 3D-printed David is just 0.1 mm high.

Giorgio Ercolano/Exaddon

The little statue shows off Exaddon's ability to print complex forms. "The sculpture was printed in one go, without supports or templates, and didn't require any firing or tempering," the university said in a release Wednesday. 

Exaddon engineer Giorgio Ercolano also 3D-printed an even smaller version that came in at 0.1mm high, but the resolution is noticeably blocky. Though it took 30 hours to print the larger David, the itsy-bitsy one took just 20 minutes.

The team behind tiny David published a paper on the printing tech this week in the journal Micromachines.

Exaddon's technology is aimed at the electronics industry, but this diminutive David shows how art and science can get along beautifully.

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