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.