Review of “Use of Hand-held Laser Scanning and 3D Printing for Creation of a Museum Exhibit.”

Posted on May 1, 2011


Though application of 3D printing in medical field common, another interesting and somewhat related application lies in the museum industry. This article touches upon the importance of the technology in re-creating  human remains in a museum exhibit. Using laser scanners to translate the existing objects into a digital file, a Z-Corp printer is then used to create bones for the exhibition.

Our research has primarily focused on printing, but this article gives equal attention to printing and the laser scanning of an object that later leads to the design of the printed object. The process by which an object’s shape can be scanned and translated into a digital representation is surprisingly simple. Using a hand-held wand that can detect the distance from an object, the object was scanned from various angles. According to the article, resolution is dependent upon the scanning rate, noise from outside factors and the integrity of the surface of the object.

The data captured with the wand must then be transferred into a 3D design using special software. This process includes several steps to clean up the data. The steps are as follows:

  1. Registration
  2. Simplification
  3. Detailing
  4. Cleaning

Consistent with other information we have come upon about Z Corp printers, the printer used in this paper was capable of printing in monochromatic or color. They used a plaster substance to build the actual object. For the first time in our research of 3D printing we come across a study that printed more than one object at a time. This makes perfect sense, and it is surprising that we have not encountered this time-saving technique before.

This article highlights the increasingly significant role that 3D printing plays in any number of disciplines. Today, even the museum industry is benefiting from this powerful technology. With the ability to fill in the gaps of remains we can better understand past beings. This article further exemplifies the importance of this technology, in that it can accomplish production that was not previously possible. It helps to bridge the gap between sophisticated capture and output.

Review Submitted by Jennifer Walker

Posted in: Bibliography, Reviews