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3D Printing Art History

May 23, 2019
3d printing art history

A large format 3D printed reproduction of a Syrian Funerary Relief Bust manufactured by RapidMade

This Fall, RapidMade worked with the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk, Virginia to help them create high-quality 3D printed reproductions of a number of works from the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art. The pieces were created as part of the museum’s exhibit, 3D Printing The Smithsonian, which aimed to show visitors some of the exciting ways the 3D printing is changing the world of art collection and preservation. You can read more about the exhibit’s curator in an interview she did with Veer Magazine.

These 3D printed replicas are exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, they allow us to preserve one-of-a-kind historic artifacts without risking any damage to the originals. They also help distribute relatively inexpensive copies of these artifacts to institutions around the world for public viewing or academic study. Lastly, they permit viewers to actually touch the art for themselves, something which is strongly discouraged with priceless relics of antiquity, for obvious reasons.

RapidMade printed detailed replicas of a Syrian funerary relief bust as well as a life-size Cosmic Buddha statue using our large format 3D printer and high-resolution 3D scans provided by the Freer Gallery of Art. We then sanded and finished the epoxy-infused PMMA used for printing to create the highly polished finished work. Large format printing is an ideal technology for creating low-volume productions of large, custom objects like these art pieces. Because these artifacts cannot be used to create master patterns with traditional casting and other 3D printing technologies are too small for the job, there really is no other option that is not prohibitively expensive.

The Hermitage Museum also offered hands-on 3D printing workshops and displays of contemporary 3D printed art to further expose the public to new additive manufacturing technologies and educate them about current and future applications in the field. We are fortunate to have educators and artists like those at the Hermitage Museum pushing this technology forward and increasing the public’s knowledge.

If you have a unique project that needs custom low- to medium-volume manufacturing solutions, RapidMade can help. Get in touch to tell us about your needs or use our easy-to-use quote tool to get a quote in 24 hours or less for all of our manufacturing and engineering services. Our engineers will review your project and get back to you, so you can get started fast.

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