My senior project (possibly)
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13-08-2013, 03:52 PM
My senior project (possibly)
I've been looking for something to do for my senior independent project, something that would look good on a grad school application. Well, my archaeology professor is exploring a possible 3D scan database of artifacts that can be emailed between universities so they can be printed out by in-house 3d printers. This way the institutions could study the 3D prints instead of having to spend thousands of dollars on plane tickets and other fees just to gain access to these pieces. Considering that my focus is on primate (including human) evolution, he has suggested that I scan primate and human skulls and refine them with the 3D software so that they are high enough quality to print. If successful, these prints could be used as teaching aids in various classes. In addition, if I can gain permission, I will try to refine MRI scans of 19th-century remains to make prints that could be used in a possible forensic anthropology class that is in the works.

I have very little experience with 3D scanning and printing technology, so this will be a big challenge. However, from what I'm told, everyone who has worked with this program so far has had to learn how to use it on the fly, even the person in charge of the 3D printer itself. I look forward to what I learn and hope I can apply it to future studies. I also look forward to the awesome prints that I will be taking home at the end of all of this!
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13-08-2013, 04:38 PM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
I'm hoping that I can also gain access to past scans of fossil primates. I'll contact scientists working in the field to see if they would allow some of their specimens to be printed out for educational purposes.
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15-08-2013, 06:40 AM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
That sounds awesome!

3d printing is getting better all the time. Right now there are some significant size restrictions but soon they should be improved.

I suppose the largest piece you would print is a humanoid skull.

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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15-08-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
(15-08-2013 06:40 AM)DeepThought Wrote:  That sounds awesome!

3d printing is getting better all the time. Right now there are some significant size restrictions but soon they should be improved.

I suppose the largest piece you would print is a humanoid skull.

Thanks. The 3D printer my school has is pretty basic. It uses a spool of plastic wire as the material. The nozzle is shaped like a cone, which follows a Spirograph-like zig-zag/circular pattern to make the prints. It is excruciatingly slow, but the results are very nice. The current limit is about the size of a football, so anything bigger has to be printed in sections and later glued together. I've been told that they are thinking about investing in a larger 3D printer that uses some type of powder as the printing medium. I think this type is much faster.
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15-08-2013, 11:18 AM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
Get on that project! it probably will be as using a computer in the old days, those guys who took the chance on the new technology got a huge advantage. I'm not sure 3D printing will be as huge as computers, but it has the potential (if usability and cost get better), and I doubt there're many experts on 3D scanning of primate skulls Tongue

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22-08-2013, 04:43 PM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
I go tomorrow to speak with my professor about the specifics. I'll keep the forum updated on my progress as it may be of interest.
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22-08-2013, 08:43 PM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
I love the idea of hi-res scans of artifacts, and the ability to print out a copy - scaled or full size - would be awesome. Plastic recreations would be great teaching aids, and they're even good for decorations (I'm sure anthropologists would love to have copies of historically significant artifacts, or a row of Homo skulls just because).

If something can be destroyed by the truth, it might be worth destroying.

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22-08-2013, 08:59 PM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
Sounds like a great idea to me! My husband used a 3D printer as his previous job and I don't think it was too difficult to use.
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23-08-2013, 04:51 PM
RE: My senior project (possibly)
I found out that I may have to postpone the project until next semester because one of my courses involves a lot of work outside of class. On the up side, I learned something really cool that my archaeology teacher is planning on doing with Google Glass. I don't want to post about it here, but those interested in archaeology are free to ask me about it in a private message.
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