The project
The Black Chair – Y Gadair Ddu
  • SLS
  • Finishing & Painting
  • Traditional Modelmaking
The Challenge
Working in partnership with Cardiff University and the Welsh Government, Drumlord were asked to create a life-size, 3D printed replica of the famous Bardic Chair, ‘Y Gadair Ddu’ (The Black Chair).


The Process
Once the original char had been scanned and a 3D CAD file created, we worked with a team of technicians at Cardiff University to devise a way of splitting the 3D file of the chair into sections that ensured the minimum disruption to the intricately carved patterns and features of the original chair while allowing for the finished SLS’s to be assembled into a structurally sound piece of furniture.


Once built, each part had to be assessed for dimensional accuracy and straightness and we then undertook a process of straightening all the parts that showed any sign of warping that occurred during the build. These parts were heated at high temperatures in specially manufactured jigs and braced during the cooling process to bring them back into their correct shape. After completing a trial assembly our craftsmen designed a hidden ‘threaded bar and bolt’ structure that could be drilled into the sections of the chair to allow for each part to be assembled securely. It was this steel skeleton that enabled us to knit together the SLS sections and ensure that, once fully assembled, the finished chair was as solid and stable a structure as possible while keeping the steelwork hidden from view.

The trial assembly also revealed where there were gaps in the SLS joints and misaligned patterns. Our craftsmen used a range of traditional model making techniques to fill and blend all jointed areas to ensuring the continuity of the intricate and complex patterns within the original carvings. Once the blending and finishing was complete the chair was primed and spray painted the clients’ chosen colour.

The Result

A beautiful 3D printed recreation of a culturally significant treasure.