The Smithsonian Institution, guardian of the nation's historical awesomeness, is building a new archive of 3-D digital models for key pieces in its collection. It starts with a statue of Thomas Jefferson and ends, we sincerely hope, with full-scale replicas of every item in the National Air and Space Museum, which we can personally print out with a souped-up Makerbot.
CNET reports that that some 3-D scanned items will become 3-D printouts, and others will remain digital models (which could also conceivably be printed, or used to help restoration efforts). Replicas would probably go to schools or other museums, but it would be fairly simple to put the plans online somewhere and let people hook up their own laser sintering devices.
A Smithsonian spokeswoman said this is not in their current plans, but hey, one can dream.
This would be amazing — instead of tinkering over hobby-store models, you could just print your own Spirit of St. Louis. Or the Apollo 11 command capsule. Or SpaceShipOne. What if you could print every single item in the collection and put it in your garage?
I personally choose the Wright Flyer, Friendship 7, Apollo 11 command module, and a Mars rover. (I already have a mini Spirit of St. Louis, so that's accounted for.) If you could 3-D print awesome aerospace replicas, which would you choose? (There are lots of other items related to our nation's history that are not aerospace, too.)
Already, you can check out several pieces from the museum's Human Origins exhibit, featuring early hominid and primate fossils. The virtual objects on display here were either CT or laser scanned, according to the museum.
Smithsonian curators also scanned and 3-D printed a statue of our nation's third president. It's a replica of a Jefferson statue installed at Monticello, and it was apparently installed as part of a preview exhibit for the just-groundbroken National Museum of African American History and Culture. CNET has the scoop on how curators used a $100,000 Minolta laser scanner and worked with Studio EIS to generate a 3-D model, and studio RedEye on Demand to generate a 3-D printout. Head over to CNET for more details and a photo gallery.
And tell us what piece of our nation's history you would print out, given the chance.
Too bad it would just be the other shape of the item; you could certainly make a model of the stuff but nothing functional. I doubt they will deconstruct and scan every part separately. Either way, this is fantastic.
Im gonna be honest i think the idea of a 3d printer is pointless for non work purposes. Now a 3D interactabele hologram is different and might actually take off.
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@Contoria.......calling someone out for for beginning a sentence a certain way makes me think you need to get a life.
This is awesome stuff really......I'd take the ISS if given a chance.
Really, the way i talk shouldnt have been a concern in the first place, i was stating my opinion and thats the whole point of commenting. Not to get offended by a state of fact and start going on some rant about religion and science. We get it your probably pissed off but guess what the title of this article is "Smithsonian Is 3-D Scanning and Printing Part of Museum Collection" Im positive that has nothing to do with what your going on about. So calm it down Contoria.
They should add the models to a virtual tour. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, (which is a much larger air and space museum) has an impressive one. Search on "Air Force Museum Virtual Tour" and it will come up. They have 92 panoramas all linked up and tons of embedded material. Adding models via a 3D object viewer would be a piece of cake.
The Smithsonian's Natural History Museum has a nice tour as well, so it is puzzling why the Air and Space does not. It seems like a far more obvious first use of the models than printing. Understandably not quite as "sexy", but their mission is supposed to be outreach. Which method reaches a bigger audience? It's kind of obvious right, so I wonder why they missed it??