3D printing is picking up momentum in almost every tech space on the internet right now. Although for now it remains a development hobby for home enthusiasts and an expensive method of production on a professional level, 3D printing has been potentially tipped as the next next World Wide Web-sized revolution.
It’s not just the future that 3D printing has been shaping either; it’s also helping us uncover our past. Here are five ways 3D printing has aided history (thus far).
Building Prehistoric Tools
Israeli designers Ami Drach and Dov Ganchrow showcased these tools at the 2012 Budapest Design week, clashing modern production with the prehistoric method of flint knapping. The tools were made with the purpose of raising questions to the observer, such as how the digital age influences the making of such tools and how craft gets updated in the process.
Building Dinosaur Reconstructions
Back in July The Verge ran a fantastic story on how 3D printing has been aiding palaeontology. The structure and movement of dinosaurs as we understand them is continually changing. 3D scanning and printing is helping to fill the gaps between discovered fossils and the speculated gaps lost in time.
Only just recently Paleontological Reconstructionist Tyler Keillor successfully Kickstart-funded a project to build a Dryptosaurus. The project, which managed to raise over 4 times the needed funds, will be the first time in Keillor’s decade-long career that he has used 3D printing in a reconstruction.
Restoring a Family Heirloom
Milwaukee MakerSpace Member Michael Massie (try saying that fast over and over) has put his 3D printer to the test by restoring an antique violin handed down in as a family heirloom. At the time of writing Michael is only as far as replacing the tuning pegs, with a 3D printed chin rest, riser and string anchor all to come soon. Keep up to date with the process on Michael’s Blog.
Restoring an Ancient Artefact
It’s not just family heirlooms that can be rescued by 3D printing; Loughborough University designers have used 3D scanning and printing to restore ancient artefacts from the Palace Museum in Beijing. The results have been quicker and cheaper than conventional restoration methods.
Building a Mummified Human Replica
King “Tut” Tutankhamun is possibly one of the most famed discoveries from Ancient Egypt. However, intensive study and transportation is just not possible with a 3351 year old preserved body. A combination of CT scans, 3D printing and life modelling artist Gary Stabb has managed to recreate an exact-sized replica of King Tut which can be displayed in museums around the world.
Pete Reynolds runs 3D Printing Is Cool, a blog featuring all the weird and wonderful news from the world of 3D printing. He works for CNC Machine supplier Emco. You can find him on Twitter at @3DprintPete.