The Different Applications of 3D Modeling and Printing

Topics: 3D Printing

How is 3D imaging and printing helpful with the skeletal collection documentation? Why are these techniques being used in addition to or in place of other forms of recordation? 3D technologies are being used by researchers to create images of the vast amount of skeletal remains that have been discovered. 3D scanning techniques are being used so that the artifacts can be represented and organized digitally rather than physically. The 3D models that are created can then quickly be loaded on a computer for viewing or studying rather than having to physically search for the artifact in a storage facility.

The 3D imaging methods are being used more often because they allow the museum’s artifacts to be accessed instantaneously and internationally. The 3D models also allow researchers to study and learn from these artifacts without have to actually have access to or handle them. The general public can also print the models that are made with access to 3D printers.

This opens up a large amount of teaching and learning possibilities.

What are some of the limitations of 3D printing for digital fabrication and exhibition design? Although 3D printing technologies allow for almost endless innovation and possibilities for exhibition design, there are many limitations to 3D printing. Even with the 3D printing industry growing readily, there is still a very high monetary cost for 3D technology. The equipment needed to produce 3D objects is very costly; printers, scanners and print materials all cost a significant amount of money, especially higher end models.

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It is also important to point out that high quality prints can only be produced by high-end equipment, and museum exhibits should only be presented with high quality. Another limitation would be the software that is necessary to produce models and the expertise needed to use these types of software. Another limitation would be storage space for the props displayed in each exhibit; printing a large amount of props for an exhibit would mean there needs to be display space as well as storage space when the objects are not on display. It is also important to point out that eventually it is possible that software will change and certain file types may not be accessible by basic software in the future.

Explain how large scale terrains can be 3d printed, and how might these prints be utilized? Do scalar differences between the real object and the 3D printed object matter, and if so how might this be overcome? 3D technology experts are able to create very large-scale prints by connecting a large number of separate and smaller prints. Connecting these smaller prints allows a very large product to be created. Using a powder material these print types can be created as the Smithsonian researchers did with whale fossil found in South America. Prints of this large size can be used as museum pieces or by researchers to study artifacts on a much larger scale. It is important to ensure that pieces of this size are scalar to the objects that they represent. This is important because any piece that is being used for learning purposes needs to be true to its original version. Experts can solve this problem by using 3D software to accurately measure their models before printing to ensure that they are true to object that they are representing.

How might 3D imaging and printing be useful for rare, fragile, or hard to understand processes and/or objects such as fossils? 3D imaging technology allows researchers to create models of sensitive artifacts without actually handling the artifacts. This means that researchers are able to learn everything about an artifact without ever moving it from its original position. This reduces the risk of breaking or harming the artifact or fossil. 3D technology also allows for non-contact display meaning the pieces can be represented in a museum setting without the risk of viewers damaging the piece. These methods for modeling are much safer than previous methods such as molding or casting because they cannot damage the artifact. 3D technologies also allow for the models to have very high levels of resolution and accuracy that other methods may not be able to achieve. The only disadvantage to using 3D technologies to make models is that the cost to own and operate these methods is still very high.

Describe three different ways in which 3D printing is being utilized for learning and interpretative experiences. Give two examples how 3D printing might be used to answer research questions. 3D printing is being utilized in museums to create dioramas, understand and process complicated terrain, and to discover and explore certain sites and artifacts. In the Smithsonian, curators have used 3D printers to create some of the models that are on display in the museum’s dioramas. The dioramas depict different scenes from history or nature in vibrant and beautiful ways. 3D technologies such as LiDAR are being used to survey and understand landmasses. 3D printers can be used to print these pieces of surveyed land in smaller models. The models can then be used to test how certain situations would affect the land. For example a print of valley area could be used to test how a large flood would fill the valley. Finally 3D technologies are being used to survey and represent areas that usually are not accessible to humans.

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The Different Applications of 3D Modeling and Printing. (2022, Mar 07). Retrieved from

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