The Smithsonian Turns To 3D Printing To Share Its Historic Collection

According to The Creators Project, the Smithsonian has over 137 million pieces in its collection, but only enough room to display about two per cent of them. So it's turning to 3D printing to share as much as it can.

Working with a company called Redeye, who specialises in 3D scanning and rapid prototyping, the Smithsonian hopes to clone many of their pieces so they can be lent to other museums around the world and safely included in travelling exhibitions.

The first piece to go under the laser was a statue of Thomas Jefferson which the Smithsonian is claiming is the "largest 3D printed museum quality historical replica" ever created.

The results are apparently hard to distinguish from the original, and while I like the idea that a 3D digital archive of the piece is also being created, seeing reproductions in a museum just doesn't have the same appeal or fascination as staring at the real thing. [The Creators Project]

Photo: RedEye on Demand/Smithsonian via The Creators Project


    Yeah, would be much better suited to a 3D online archive website, I reckon.

    So, how long until I can download the files to make my own replica museum pieces? It would be really sweet if they made this available to all. The Pirate Bay already has a section devoted to 3D objects. With the availability and price of 3D printers is coming down considerably, it will not be uncommon to share objects for people to share and print. Take a look at the makerbot/thingiverse, It's not perfect, but it's a very good start.

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