Several museums make good use of 3D printers, as the technique enables them to easily get an accurate copy of a statue, sculpture or even a dinosaur fossil. The problem with traditional reproduction is that it’s less accurate and time-consuming, and museums therefore try their luck with 3D technology. In this light, a new collaboration between paleontologist Jeffrie Parker, of Western Paleo Labs, and Kirk Brown of Stratasys reseller GoEngineer caught our eye.
They wanted to 3D print an entire dinosaur – more specifically the replica of a dinosaur’s skeleton. Parker had uncovered this skeleton in Wyoming and wanted a large model of the creature, counting 50 inches in length and 15 inches in height. An interesting case, because 3D printers have one disadvantage and that is that most of them cannot print out large objects. They, however, managed to do so by dividing up the scanned model into 20 different STL files.
In order to print all pieces, they used a Stratasys SE Plus and printed it in five batches in an ivory ABSplus material. In addition, they printed it two times per piece, because both Brown and Parker wanted a model for their offices. On the Stratasys blog, Brown said: “I like having a project like this to work on because it’s nice when we work on living history and open up our eyes to the endless possibilities of 3D printing.”
Parker goes more into detail about 3D printing technology in the paleontologists world:
“3D printing allows a paleontologist to quickly reproduce a fossil bone that can be used for academic study and for building museum exhibits that can be enjoyed by everyone. Having a 3D printer is like having your own little robot factory.”
They want to continue these experiment and Parker would like the next project to regard to printing a Jurassic period 3D printed tableau, consisting of four dinosaurs: the Dryosaurus, , two Allosaurs and a Ceratosaur. He ends: “When I 3D print this group of four dinosaurs and build the exhibit, this will show the museum world what 3D printing can do!”
Image credits: Stratasys.