3D print a T. rexPosted on 31-03-2016 by Redactie
Even though our T. rex skeleton is incredibly well preserved, there are a few missing parts – amongst them the left leg.
This is not unusual, as when a dinosaur dies, a lot of other animals would scavenge the carcasse, or some parts would just get lost over time. To help complete some of the missing parts we turned to 3D printing. The Ultimaker 2+ printer helps us to restore the skeleton in greater detail than initially anticipated. In fact, as they are so realistic, the printed parts will be painted a slightly different colour to make sure there’s no confusion telling the real bones from the 3D printed ones.
The more traditional ways to complete partial skeletons include sculpting bones out of Styrofoam, which requires a very skilled hand to achieve a somewhat life-like result, or to use casts of other almost similar fossils – you can only imagine how difficult it would be to find a bone exactly matching its counterpart in size. For this skeleton, Dutch scanning wizard Valentin Vanhecke of 4Visualization created a 3D scan of the right leg for the museum, and together with Ultimaker, we printed a mirrored version. The bones are currently being painted and will be integrated into the skeleton in the next months.