If you’ve always wanted to own a historic artefact, now you can own the next best thing: a 3D printed replica of one.
The Smithsonian’s network of museums offer 3D renderings of some of its collection, and more importantly, plans so you can 3D print some of those items at home using your own 3D printer.
Artefacts available for printing range from things like fossils to a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s head.
The idea behind the project is that the museums hold a number of artefacts that many people might never have the opportunity to travel to see in person. The technology can potentially be used to allow educators to download plans for things and print items to show their classes.
3D replicas are also available to view online, so even if you don’t have a printer to make yourself a physical copy, you can get a better idea of what something might look like than you would from looking at a traditional photo.
The Smithsonian notes that only 1 per cent of its collection is on display at a given time, so the 3D replicas also create the opportunity to make more of the collection available to people all the time.
And more and more artefacts are being added to the collection daily. The project has been in the works for a few years now, and new stuff is added all the time, So, even if you’ve checked it out before, it’s worth giving it another look now.