Thomas Jefferson: The Smithsonian's 3D printing pioneer

Thomas Jefferson: The Smithsonian's 3D printing pioneer

Summary: A new effort at the Smithsonian will create digital 3D models and physical 3D printed of many of the objects in its archives, a step that could help researchers and educators alike.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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  • Jefferson's legs

    In order to create the 3D model of Thomas Jefferson, RedEye on Demand used a 3D printer capable of both museum quality finish and museum-scale size. These are Jefferson's legs.

  • Jefferson in parts

    Making the Jefferson replica statue required 3D laser scans of the existing statue at Monticello. The data that was generated was sent as a digital model to RedEye on Demand, which 3D-printed the new statue in four parts.

  • Upper body

    The replica statue was made from production-grade thermoplastics, meaning that the final product should be strong and durable. RedEye on Demand used what it calls a "sparse-fill technique" for the statue's interior. That's a process that's similar to honeycomb and means that the statue is light and relatively inexpensive, yet high quality and strong.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • 3d Jeff

    3d printing is truly amazing, and this is a very cool use of it. But seeing a 3d printed copy of a historic item is just not the same as seeing the real thing. In the end it is just a copy. Having seen some Smithsonian exhibits I have to say that seeing the real chairs that Grant and Lee sat on at Appomatax is a way better experience than seeing copies of them would be.