Print Your Own Dinosaur
Fossils, especially those from very ancient times like when the dinosaurs walked the Earth, can be extremely rare and pricey. That's why museums, schools and exhibits sometimes create molds to have a less costly replica, but those also cost a lot of money to create. However, a new project aims at making all of these fossils free as 3D models, so anyone with a 3D printer could create their own fossils at home.
The project is called the GB/3D fossil project and a number of museums, galleries and organizations are participating to create 3D scans of these fossils, then allow the models to be downloaded for free by anyone. Already, some of the collections available online have more than a million fossils and ancient rocks digitized as 3D models. It takes years to do, but this is something that has been done by researchers and archeologists for quite some time now.
While most of the samples so far are small objects, and a large dinosaurs would be hard to scan, they do plan on adding bones and parts which could one day lead to the creation of a full dinosaur through a 3D printer. And while the uses may be mostly recreational for us, scientists can use this technique in a variety of ways. By using the right compound, the printed model looks almost identical to the real thing. The goal is for this collection of 3D models to be both a great educational tool and a way for scientists to do their work more effectively.