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This 3D-Printed Tank Is the Answer to Everything

Artist Peter Mountain spent four years designing and building a massive tank jigsaw puzzle. Then he set it on fire.
August 17, 2016, 4:15pm
Images courtesy the artist

3D-printed weaponry is here, and it's frightening—for proof, just watch our sister site Motherboard's documentary, Click. Print. Gun. This weekend, an artist in the UK (which has much stricter gun control laws than the United States), takes this statement to a new scale by 3D printing and assembling a US Army tank to scale.

Peter Mountain's Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Army Tank is a virtual model of the war machine, rendered by hand in thousands of slices of plywood (rather than the extruded plastic normally associated with 3D printing). Immediately after assembling it in the courtyard of 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, which housed Liz West's rainbow mirror installation Our Colour Reflection, the artist lit his painstakingly crafted sculpture on fire. The controlled blaze left charcoal-colored marks all over the wood, creating the illusion that the non-functional vehicle has actually seen combat. The tank is dotted with the faces of children, imitating the iconic photograph of kids climbing an empty tank like a jungle gym during the Arab Spring in Libya.


Inspired by the photo, Mountain applied his years of research with Salford University’s Department of Virtual Environments to recreating the scene with video game design software, which he translates into reality in his new sculpture. Four years of design and 120 man-hours of CNC machining and assembly later, Mountain had made his tank. The artist has been exploring computer-aided design since 2004, applying the budding technology to his former practice of slicing up and reassembling cars and other large-scale industrial objects. This is the first time Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Army Tank has been displayed in corporeal form, existing only as a virtual object until now.

Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Army Tank, will be on display at 20-21 Visual Art Centre through April 30, 2017. See more of Peter Mountain's work on his website.


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