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Re: 3D fossil printing

as long as you can get an stl (or even an obj) 3d file, you can just go to a site like www.shapeways.com for 3d printing - you upload it and they send it back - the price depends on materials and the volume of material used, but typicaly it's about $1 per cubic cm. the price does mount up quickly, but it's cheap emough to do a test for yourself if you're curious (I've only ever used it for arty stuff, never fossils btw).

The main drawback is that while surface detail comes out well, there are limits to "wall and gap thickness" - so if you've got knobbly bits on your model it will work OK, but if you've got thin bones or struts or objects close to each other, you'll need to upsize so that the thinnest is more than 1mm (I think it's 1mm) or risk that detail not appearing correctly. And of course, upsizing increases cost.

Christian Darkin

----- Original Message ----- From: "Dann Pigdon" <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:38 PM
Subject: Re: 3D fossil printing

I've seen an enlarged 3D print of an Ausktribosphenid mandible. If the quality of the scan is good (access to a synchrotron helps), the details in the replicas can be amazing.

On Thu, Jan 24th, 2013 at 4:41 AM, "Richard W. Travsky" <rtravsky@uwyo.edu> wrote:

This sounds very cool. I'd love to have some early homninid printings.

I wonder how detailed this can get

3D print a fossil with virtual palaeontology

SERGIO AZEVEDO was prospecting at an old railroad site in So Paulo state,
Brazil, when he discovered the fossilised bones of an unknown animal.
"Many times when you find a fossil in the field it's impossible to
determine how much of the ancient animal you have," he says. "Sometimes
you have just part of a bone or a tooth." Azevedo has a solution to this
perennial problem, which also acts as a safety net in case a stray hammer
blow destroys an ancient fossil during excavation. Just scan it and print

His team at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio used a portable CT
scanner to determine the orientation of the specimen in the ground, then
they cut out a large section of rock to take back to the lab. There the
encased fossil was probed using a more powerful scanner - and a 3D replica
printed out in resin.


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj