3D printing for casting proportional replicas in the conservation of articulated skeletons

Christine Haynes, Julia Sybalsky, and Fran Ritchie


The anatomical accuracy of natural science specimens is important for their use in education and display. This case study explores the recreation of missing elements of an articulated brant goose skeleton (Branta bernicla) using 3D digital techniques along with traditional mold-making. This research details the options available for 3D scanning, file manipulation, printing processes, and materials with emphasis on cost, practicability, and long-term stability. For this case study, the final cost was less than $60 for the scanning and printing of five small bones. Combining digital technology with traditional mold-making techniques allowed for the more accurate calculation of shape and proportion of the bone replicas and the quick and economical creation of highly detailed molds.

KEYWORDS: 3D Scanning, 3D printing, Rapid prototyping, Plastics, Casting, Replica, Articulated skeleton, Natural history

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2018 | Houston | Volume 25