Home / Science / Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print | At the Smithsonian
Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print | At the Smithsonian

Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print | At the Smithsonian

Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print | At the Smithsonian

Nov. 27, 2019, 10:02 a.m.

The Smithsonian Institution’s 3-D digitization portal lately options 124 interactive artifact fashions. Of those choices—amongst others, the record comprises Amelia Earhart’s flight swimsuit, a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and the remnants of a supernova—just below 100 are to be had for obtain as 3-D print-ready recordsdata, making it simple for artwork, historical past and science fans alike to acquire their own copies of items from the Smithsonian’s intensive collections.

Printing a miniature type of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit or a T. rex skull is so simple as importing a record to one among the many on-demand printing products and services discovered throughout the internet. Shapeways, for instance, fees $20.53 for a one-twentieth flexible plastic scale type of the famed dino predator’s cranium and $129.51 for a Nine-inch-tall rendering of Armstrong’s lunar tools. Makexyz, in the meantime, fees $48.90 for an FDM-printed plastic model of the spacesuit and $12.90 for a type of the famed dino predator’s head. Other on-line printing products and services come with 3-d Hubs, Sculpteo and i.materialise.

Compare value issues for particular tasks at Craftcloud, then have the fashions very easily shipped in your entrance door. To decrease prices, take a look at resizing renderings or experimenting with printing fabrics from resin to copper, nylon plastic and polylactic acid.

Coral 3-D print
3-D revealed type of a coral skeleton

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

Wiz boots 3-D print
A 3-D revealed type of platform boots worn via actor Carl Hall

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

Novice printing fanatics searching for a extra hands-on revel in would possibly need to test their native library. This Google Maps view spotlights round 900 public, instructional, college and authorities libraries with 3-D printers to be had to consumers; maximum libraries price for fabrics however be offering use of the precise printer at low or no value. Alternative choices come with commissioning a neighborhood printing provider, discovering a within sight makerspace, visiting a 3-D printer-equipped UPS Store or buying a printer oneself.

A couple of pointers from Vince Rossi, head of the Smithsonian’s 3-D program: Artifacts will have to be “watertight solids” missing “really small little delicate parts” as a way to print effectively. A decidedly leak-prone 3-D type of a Revolutionary War gunboat, in addition to the multi-component Wright Flyer, are due to this fact to be had as interactive fashions however poorly fitted to 3-D printing. Some recordsdata would possibly wish to be resized as a way to use printing products and services: Download a loose 3-D modeling program like Meshmixer to scale fashions down. A qualified printing provider is more than likely the most suitable option for the ones hoping so as to add a dash of colour to their fashions.

“By 3-D scanning [artifacts] and making them downloadable to build online, we’re able to increase access,” says Rossi. “That’s kind of our general mission, … to increase access to content outside of our physical walls.”

Regardless of which manner you select and whether or not you’re printing an object as a present, espresso desk ornament or non-public souvenir, listed here are ten Smithsonian artifacts to your attention.

Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops skulls

The artifact: Nicknamed the “Nation’s T. rex,” this specimen—unearthed via a rancher mountaineering in Montana in 1988—measures an impressive 15 ft tall and 40 ft lengthy. Now on view in the National Museum of Natural History’s “Deep Time” fossil corridor, the dinosaur’s skeletal specter grips a hapless Triceratops (in fact a composite specimen assembled from the stays of a couple of dinosaurs) in its jaws.

“The T. rex is decapitating the Triceratops,” Matthew Carrano, the museum’s dinosaur curator, defined in 2018. “You can see the head is being levered off the neck. There are lots of small details there for visitors who take the time to find them.”

3-D T. rex skull
A 3-D revealed rendering of the T. rex cranium

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The 3-D type: In April 2014, the Smithsonian’s 3-D digitization staff used handheld 3-D scanners to seize high-resolution floor and colour knowledge for each and every of the T. rex’s greater than 200 bones, which arrived at the museum in a chain of 16 wood crates. Two years later, the researchers visited the Ontario facility the place the T. rex and Triceratops have been being assembled to file further information with Lidar scanning era. Print-ready recordsdata of each dinosaurs’ skulls (scaled all the way down to one-twentieth in their authentic length) are to be had for obtain by the use of the Smithsonian’s 3-D portal. The web page additionally gives a one-twentieth scale type of the two dueling dinosaurs, however Rossi says the complexity of this record makes it tough to print.

Alternative choices: Make a woolly mammoth skeleton strike a jaunty pose with this movable type created via toy fashion designer Teraoka Gensyou—or stick to the authentic non-articulated model. The obtain browser additionally options the fossilized jaw and cranium of an unnamed dolphin species, the cranium of a shrub ox unearthed in New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, and a Jurassic Period ammonite.

Abraham Lincolns existence mask

Abraham Lincoln Volk life mask
Sculptor Leonard W. Volk made this existence masks of Abraham Lincoln in April 1860.

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: Two existence mask made simply 5 years aside divulge the toll of a presidency marked via civil conflict. Abraham Lincoln’s secretary, John Hays, described one, forged via Chicago sculptor Leonard W. Volk in April 1860, as “full of life, of energy, of vivid aspiration.” He dubbed the 2nd, forged via sculptor Clark Mills in February 1865—simply two months sooner than the president’s assassination—“so sad and peaceful in its infinite repose.” Hays added, “A look as of one on whom sorrow and care had done their worst without victory is on all the features.”

According to the 3-D portal, Volk created his existence masks via overlaying the then-51-year-old presidential hopeful’s face in rainy plaster. After the plaster hardened, Volk mentioned, Lincoln “bent his head low and took hold of the mold, and gradually worked it off without breaking or injury.” Over the subsequent 32 years, the sculpter used this authentic plaster forged to create further busts and statues of the president.

Mills’ existence masks, in the meantime, used to be made via making use of rainy plaster to the president’s oiled-down face and beard. The plaster hardened in 15 mins, at which level the sculptor had Lincoln “twitch his facial muscles until the mask broke into pieces.” Mills then reassembled those items to shape the likeness; his son, Theodore H. Mills, talented a plaster impact crafted from the authentic masks to the Smithsonian Institution in 1889.

Abraham Lincoln Mills life mask
Sculptor Clark Mills forged this existence masks in February 1865—simply two months sooner than the president’s assassination.

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The 3-D type: In 1888, 33 Lincoln admirers donated Volk’s non-public copies of the existence masks, in addition to bronze replicas forged via sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to the U.S. authorities with the caveat that “the authentic plaster casts will have to by no means be tampered with.” To agree to this requirement, the digitization staff scanned a 1917 forged produced from a bronze masks reasonably than the authentic plaster model. The digitized Mills masks used to be scanned from a 1917 forged of the 1889 one talented via the sculptor’s son. Both the Mills and Volk existence mask are to be had for obtain.

Alternative choices: The obtain browser boasts a plethora of presidential subject matter. Among others, the record features a pair of Lincoln’s plaster palms forged via Volk in May 1860, a bronze reduction of Theodore Roosevelt, an Andrew Jackson silver medal, a marble bust of George Washington, a bronze sculpture of James Garfield, a bronze bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt and a blended media shadow field that includes a bust of Jimmy Carter.

Whale fossil

Whale MPC 677
Whale MPC 677 used to be the maximum whole specimen discovered at the website online.

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: Paleontologists unearthed the skeletons of greater than 40 marine animals—the majority of which have been baleen whales—whilst engaging in excavations at Cerro Ballena, a fossil website online in Caldera, Chile, between 2010 and 2011. This specimen, dubbed whale MPC 677, dates to the overdue Miocene Epoch and is between 7 to Nine million years outdated. Per a find out about revealed in Proceedings of the Royal Society B in 2014, MPC 677 used to be the “most complete fossil rorqual [whale] specimen” discovered at the website online. Based on research of the so-called “whale graveyard,” scientists known poisonous algal blooms as the animals’ in all probability reason behind demise.

The 3-D type: Because the Cerro Ballena website online used to be located in the center of a significant development venture, paleontologists handiest had a brief window of time to excavate the skeletons. Rossi and colleague Adam Metallo traveled to Caldera in a while after the discovery. As Rossi instructed Smithsonian mag’s Abigail Tucker in 2012, “Day and night, we passed the scanner back and forth.” Despite the time crunch, the duo controlled to scan the whole website online, together with a 26-foot-long whale skeleton digitized at a “level of detail normally reserved for baseball-size objects.” Using this digitization information, the staff additionally revealed a 30-foot-long copy of MPC 677 this is now on view at the National Museum of Natural History. Both full-scale and scaled down variations of the fossil are to be had for obtain.

Alternative choices: Other fossils primed for printing come with a Priscacara serrata fish, a Stephanoceras juhlei ammonite and a shasta flooring sloth’s coprolite (necessarily fossilized feces). These alternatives are amongst the just about 146 million clinical specimens held via the Natural History Museum.

Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit

Armstrong suit
Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: Neil Armstrong wore this spacesuit throughout his history-making shuttle to the moon on July 20, 1969. As Ellen Stofan, director of the National Air and Space Museum, mentioned previous this 12 months, “The complexity of the suit ensured it could support human life in the harshest of environments: extreme heat and cold, radiation, micrometeorites and the threat of cuts from sharp rocks all had to be taken into consideration.” Still, Stofan added, the garment wasn’t “designed to last half a century on display,” and in 2006, curators got rid of it from public view for intensive conservation.

In July 2019—simply in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 release—Armstrong’s swimsuit went again on view following 13 years of recovery paintings. A Kickstarter fundraising marketing campaign raised greater than $700,000 for conservation efforts, enabling the staff to stabilize and safeguard the artifact, in addition to behavior high-tech scans had to create a correct 3-D type of the ancient apparel.

The 3-D type: The Smithsonian’s staff of “laser cowboys” drew on 4 other scanning tactics to construct a type of the swimsuit. Per the 3-D portal, digitization professionals used laser arm scanning to seize floor element, photogrammetry to make sure correct colour, structured gentle scanning to report colour and geometry, and CT scanning to file the garment’s inside. The ensuing interactive type boasts an eerie, X-ray-like “interior” view of the swimsuit and annotations detailing the swimsuit’s more than a few options: amongst others, an American flag shoulder patch, an oxygen provide connector and a urine switch tube.

“The 3-D model really offers you a deeper experience so that you’re not just kind of frozen in one single view that a photographer has chosen for you, but you have the complete freedom to explore any view,” says Rossi. “You’re able to look at all these new areas that you can’t as a human being in the museum.”

Print-ready fashions to be had for obtain come with the full-size swimsuit, a Nine-inch-tall model of the swimsuit and a rendering of Armstrong’s left glove.

Alternative choices: The digitization portal additionally gives a type of the flight swimsuit worn via aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart when she crossed the Atlantic Ocean solo in 1932 and 3-D print-ready recordsdata of more than a few sections of the Apollo 11 Command Module, together with its hatch door, external and pilot seat.

Seriatopora hystrix skeleton

Seriatopora hystrix
A geologist discovered the coral skeleton specimen whilst engaging in a analysis survey in Fiji.

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: Scientist James Dana gathered this and different coral specimens whilst collaborating in the government-funded U.S. Exploring Expedition between 1838 and 1842. By the finish of his shuttle, Dana had collected 300 geological fossils, in addition to specimens representing 400 coral species and 1,000 crustacean species. (The scientist discovered this particular Seriatopora hystrix skeleton in Fiji.) Charles Darwin later instructed Dana that if he had “done nothing else whatever, [this expedition] would have been a magnum opus for life.” The On the Origin of Species writer added, “I am really lost in astonishment at what you have done in mental labor. And then, beside the labor, so much originality in all your works.”

The 3-D type: Digitization officials used cameras to and scan this S. hystrix skeleton. Per the 3-D portal, the skeleton in fact represents a big colony of person coral animals, or polyps. These anemone-like creatures secrete a kind of calcium carbonate referred to as argonite, enabling them to transform seawater into stone and supply each meals and habitat for different marine animals.

Alternative choices: Flora and fauna featured on the obtain web page come with a Chesapeake Bay blue crab, the Eulaema bee and an Embreea herrenhusana orchid.

Key Marco Cat

Key Marco Cat
The 500- to one,500-year-old Key Marco Cat statue

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: Archaeologist Frank Hamilton Cushing found out the Key Marco Cat whilst engaging in excavations on Florida’s Marco Island in 1896. The 6-inch-tall wood figurine used to be remarkably well-preserved via an oxygen-free layer of dust; even though a lot of the wood artifacts unearthed throughout the identical dig have since disintegrated, the Key Marco Cat stays in reasonably just right form. According to the 3-D portal, the area’s early Calusa population most probably carved the statue—half-feline and half-human, it sounds as if stuck in the midst of a change—between 300 and 1500 A.D. To create the kneeling determine’s “sweeping strains, smoothness, and wonderful, blank edges,” its makers can have used shell scrapers, a shark’s enamel and sandpaper-like shark pores and skin. Animal fats more than likely supplied the carving’s end and varnish.

Key Marco Cat 3-D print
A 3-D revealed type of the Key Marco Cat

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The 3-D type: In 2018, the Smithsonian Institution partnered with the University of South Florida Library’s Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections to hold out structured gentle scanning and excessive definition imaging of the Key Marco Cat. The 3-D type produced via this partnership captures main points similar to cracks in the determine’s tail area, a nicked space on the ear, and cracking and loss on the ft.

Alternative choices: Centuries-old archaeological and inventive artifacts to be had for obtain come with a Shang dynasty lidded ritual ewer in the type of an elephant with mask and dragons; an historic Chinese ewer depicting birds, snakes and people; a bronze fangyi, or lidded ritual wine container, courting to China’s early Zhou dynasty; and a limestone winged monster statue made throughout the Qi dynasty’s reign.

CasA supernova remnant

CasA supernova remnant
The remnants of an exploded celebrity

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: Approximately 330 years in the past, gentle from a stellar explosion 11,000 light-years away in the Cassiopeia constellation reached earth. The supernova launched surprise waves and very sizzling radioactive subject into the surrounding area, leaving at the back of a box of particles known as a supernova remnant. The vigorous outburst fused heavy chemical parts which are handiest created when massive stars cross supernova. These heavy parts inside of supernova remnants —together with Cassiopeia A (Cas A)—are then “swept up via the subsequent technology of stars and planets,” writes Kimberly Arcand, visualization lead for NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Such cosmic explosions are “the way that Earth got the elements that are in our bodies, throughout our atmosphere, and across the planet.”

The 3-D type: Researchers from the Smithsonian’s Astrophysical Observatory collaborated with Harvard University’s Astronomical Medicine Project to grow to be X-ray, infrared and optical information into the multi-wavelength 3-D reconstruction observed on-line. The type options a couple of layers, together with an outer surprise wave, high-velocity plumes (or jets) taking pictures out past the surprise wave, and a small, ultra-dense neutron celebrity left at the heart of Cas A. Different colours constitute more than a few forms of particles produced via the celebrity’s explosion.

Cosmic Buddha
The life-size Cosmic Buddha sculpture

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

Alternative possibility: At first look, a headless Buddha sculpture housed at the Freer Gallery of Art seems to have little in not unusual with the remnants of an exploded celebrity. But each boast connections with the cosmos: The life-size figurine is in fact known as the “Cosmic Buddha.” Carved in northern China throughout the overdue 6th century, the limestone statue’s floor is roofed in narrative scenes that catalog each the lifetime of the ancient Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, and a symbolic “Realms of Existence” map. The Cosmic Buddha 3-D type, made the use of scans taken in fall 2011, permits researchers (and historical past aficionados) to check the sculpture’s intricate carvings in additional element than ever sooner than.

Panel for a cupboard door

Panel for a cabinet door
This panel dates to the overdue 16th or early 17th century.

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: This elaborate French or Flemish panel dates to the overdue 16th or early 17th century. As Cooper Hewitt curator Susan Brown explains, the silk, steel and beaded piece used to be most probably created via a staff of professional male embroiderers: One would have hand-painted the panel’s silk background, whilst any other would have sewn its raised steel options or needle-laced the leaves. According to the 3-D portal, the scene depicted in the paintings alludes to the biblical fall of guy and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Snakes observed circling a tree at the heart of the symbol characterize no longer handiest temptation and evil, however the burgeoning box of drugs; a salamander, in the meantime, represents regeneration and therapeutic.

“Whether the designer intended to captivate the eye with extravagant materials and workmanship or to invite moral and spiritual contemplation,” the Cooper Hewitt notes, “an abundance of detail supports either pursuit.”

The 3-D type: Rossi suggests printing the panel in colour to easiest intensify its intricate main points. Users would possibly wish to scale down the type as a way to use Shapeways, Makexyz and different on-line printing products and services. To resize a rendering, take a look at modifying the record with a loose 3-D modeling program like Meshmixer. Find step by step directions right here.

Alternative choices: Interior adorning buffs can obtain numerous furniture and home goods, together with vases, a Qing dynasty porcelain bowl and a mahogany armchair made in New York round 1810.

Bell X-1

Bell X-1 model
The Bell X-1 aircraft piloted via Chuck Yeager

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: This Bell X-1 aircraft—named “Glamorous Glennis” in honor of pilot Chuck Yeager’s spouse—used to be the first to fly sooner than the pace of sound. During an October 14, 1947, flight, Yeager reached a pace of one,127 kilometers, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 13,000 meters; not up to a 12 months later, on March 26, 1948, he crowned his earlier file via achieving a pace of one,540 kilometers, Mach 1.45, at an altitude of 21,900 meters. According to the National Air & Space Museum, the United States authorities endured the use of the vivid orange aircraft till mid-1950. At the time of its “retirement,” the X-1 had finished 19 contractor demonstration flights and 59 Air Force check flights.

Bell X-1 3-D print
3-D revealed type of Bell X-1

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The 3-D type: Digitization personnel used laser scanners to seize the aircraft’s geometric information and photogrammetry to seize colour knowledge. As Rossi defined in 2015, the staff had bother scanning the X-1’s glass windshield and darkish blue circles painted close to the aircraft’s wings. The glass proved tough to scan as a result of the staff’s lasers merely handed via it, whilst the paint patches failed to take in the pulses of sunshine emitted via the laser. To paintings round those problems, the digitization officials depended on CAD tool and cautious handbook modifying. A scale type of the aircraft constructed from laser scan information is to be had for obtain.

Alternative choices: The gunboat Philadelphia and the Wright Flyer aren’t viable applicants for 3-D printing, however the digitization portal does come with a number of different flight- and transportation-related artifacts: Try downloading Earhart’s flight swimsuit or more than a few parts of the Apollo 11 Command Module.

Costume boots for The Wiz

The Wiz costume boots
Actor Carl Hall wore the platform boots whilst portraying the identify personality in a musical known as The Wiz.

(Courtesy of the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office)

The artifact: Actor Carl Hall wore those platform boots whilst taking part in the identify position in The Wiz, a 1975 Broadway musical that reimagined L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz via the lens of contemporary African-American tradition. The manufacturing—lauded for showcasing an “unapologetically American way of life”—received seven of the 8 Tony Awards for which it used to be nominated, together with the coveted Best Musical prize.

The 3-D type: According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, which properties an array of costumes fashion designer and director Geoffrey Holder crafted for the display, the leather-based boots are affixed atop wood platforms (the soles measure 1.five inches tall, whilst the heels stand three inches tall). A excursion of the 3-D gown type finds another way overpassed main points, like the phrase “Wiz” scribbled onto the footwear’ soles in black ink. These soles are coated in non-skid black rubber to stay Hall from slipping on level.

Alternative possibility: In 1988, 14-year-old Seba Johnson was the youngest alpine skier in the Olympic Games’ historical past. She used to be additionally the first African-American lady to compete in the game at the Olympics. Her vegan-friendly artificial ski boots are to be had for obtain by the use of the 3-D portal.

Rossi and the remainder of the digitization staff plan on including extra fashions to the 3-D portal (which is about to be remodeled early subsequent 12 months) in the close to long run.

I as a Smithsonian worker am extremely lucky as a result of Ill see a few of this wonderful stuff at the back of the scenes,” says Rossi. “But my function is how can we unencumber extra of this assortment. What you spot on the web page is truly only a tiny, tiny, tiny, small fraction of … doable [artifacts]. The factor that excites me is how can we scale up the era in order that we will unencumber extra of those assortment items for analysis [and] training round the nation and the global.

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