rapid prototyping museums

Rapid Prototyping in Museums

With the widespread applications of 3d printing taking the world by storm, it is no surprise that today’s museums are using the technology to preserve, display and protect various valuable artifacts in their collections. Recent years have seen massive growth in this sector continuing to prove its endless possibilities. Additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping and 3d printing have made their way into our jobs, homes, products and even museum exhibits. More and more museums in the developed world are embracing its endless possibilities.

3d Printing Exhibition at Museum of Design, Atlanta

At the Museum of Design Atlanta, 3d printing can be seen as a wholesome experience as they organized a month long exhibition regarding this technology. The museum kept both hands on and sighting experiences with 3d printing technology, also looking at the various methods and applications of the field. The applications in fields such as prosthetic devices, architecture and space exploration were highlighted in the exhibition that was targeted to designers, users and makers who are destined to 3d print future advances. The exhibition led guests to an unforgettable journey towards the evolution, applications and potentiality of 3d printing for redesigning and recreating the future world.
One of its main attractions was the Zero-G Printer- an exhibit that featured some amazing 3d printing setups. These included a space exploration exhibit that shows attempts at printing out lunar habitats. These were done in collaboration with the European Space Agency and Foster+Partners-an architecture firm. The museum will have on display the ‘made in space’ Zero-G Printer that NASA sent to outer space in 2014 to help out the astronauts at the International Space Station for repairing parts. Because of the printer, it eliminated the space facility’s complete dependency on Earth sent supplies for repairing of parts.
Another amazing exhibit took visitors closer to the anatomy of the human body. The museum featured an exhibit from the famous Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine- an institute famous for its research on 3d printed organs. These organs are now safe and ready for transplant into human bodies. There was also an interesting 3d printed canal house built by DUS Architects, Amsterdam. This was actually a 3d printed house entirely put together by the firm. The 3d printed Kinematic Dress by Nervous System was also one of the great attractions, which is a complex dress made up of hundreds of interweaving parts.
In addition to the wonderful exhibits, the museum held some lectures, printing workshops and interactive sessions related to the many fields of 3d printing that were represented in the exhibition. Museum of Design Atlanta authorities believe that design and innovation possibilities of 3d printing will bring it to the forefront of technological advancement. The curators believe that the technology will help us interact and become used to the ways in which 3d printing would change our society and lifestyle- whether in outer space or our own bodies.
Printable Artifacts of the British Museum
Imagine being able to view thousands of invaluable artworks and not just viewing them- touching and feeling their historic connection from the comfort of your home. Due to an initiative of the Google Cultural Institute, the exhibits of the British Museum are now available for 3d printing. After the announcement of the Google Art Project in 2011, Google Cultural Institute was formed which functions in a way similar to how Google Street View works. It helps people explore various museums and art galleries virtually, instead of streets, cities etc. Some notable examples of their virtual locations are Chicago Institute of Art, Tate Modern London, and of course, the British Museum more recently. They have launched the nine storey museum’s virtual version and eighty five of its permanent galleries. This happens to be the largest interior project of the Google Cultural Institute. Quite like the real deal, upon entering one will be welcomed in the Great Court which is the largest covered square in Europe- complete with its famous glass ceiling. Your avatar can take you to various other galleries in the same way that Google Street View functions.
However, the main attraction of the virtual tour is the eighty thousand 3d printable artifacts and pieces that are available in the halls of the British Museum. Even though it is about one percent of the museum’s entire collection, but you can view them in the GCI microsite. High resolution photos of more than four thousand artifacts and art pieces have been taken and descriptions have been attached so that virtual visitors can zoom in on the intricate details, as well as historic significance of them.
The greatest advantage however is perhaps the fact that the whole virtual museum is deserted, where you are the only guest. For this, the cameras had to take footage from when the museum was closed, done in a span of five days. Virtual visitors to the museum can actually 3d print some artifacts whose 3d printing files are available at the Sketchfab page of the museum. Hence, the head of Amenemhat III or the bust of Zeus can be easily 3d printed out.

Sculpture Restoration of Cleveland Museum of Art

A valuable sculpture of the Hindu deity Krishna is now kept at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This six feet tall and two thousand pound stone statue was sculpted in the sixth century; telling the story of Lord Krishna’s heroic antic of lifting the Mount Govardhana for seven days and seven nights to provide shelter to villagers during rain. The museum purchased a fragmented and broken sculpture in 1973. When acquired by the museum, the statue was devoid of legs and arms. These were later discovered in the garden of a Belgian sculptor, whose attempt to construct the limbs had failed. However, the sculpture has recently been fully restored thanks to 3d printing technology. A 3d scan was done of this statue in Cleveland, which happened to match a similar statue in the National Museum of Cambodia. The pieces were then digitally re-attached on a virtual screen with the technical assistance of Think innovation lab at Case Western Reserve University. At the facility, two replicas of the statue were 3d printed. The pieces fit together perfectly in both of these replicas.

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