An extension of Google’s Open Heritage 3D scanning project with CyArk the collaboration was set up to create tactile objects of the data generated in this initiative and encourage more cultural exploration.
Bryan Allen, Design Technologist at Google, comments,
“The project was to explore physically making these artifacts in an effort to get people hooked and excited about seeing pieces in a museum or research context. That’s when we turned to 3D printing.”
Making “models that look and feel like the real thing”
Google’s Open Heritage project with CyArk was launched in April 2018. Now, after under a year in operation, the archive includes a collection of cloud-accessible 3D renders from 26 historically significant sites across 6 continents of the globe.
Mapped in full color, capturing this detail was an important part of Google’s decision to physically recreate the parts in 3D. As such, the Stratasys J750 3D printer was chosen for the project.
“The J750 empowers designers to actually achieve their ultimate goal – matching the final 3D print to what is initially seen on the screen” comments Rafie Grinvald, Enterprise Product Director of Rapid Prototyping at Stratasys.
“Combining rich colors and translucency in a single print, designers and engineers can build models with heightened levels of accuracy and realism – mirroring opaque or transparent structures, and even complex materials like rubber,”
“Our relationship with Google Arts and Culture is the perfect demonstration of 3D printing paying off – with models that look and feel like the real thing.”
3D printing in museums
The value of such physical objects is something that is clearly being felt by museums and heritage sites. Challenged with maintaining visitor interest and increasing interaction, 3D printing has become a significant point of interest for many in the cultural sector.
Most recently, serving as testament to an international reaction to the technology, London’s V&A, dubbed “the world’s leading museum of art and design”, accepted a 3D printed bust made by Scan the World into its permanent collection. Speaking at the time of this acquisition by the museum, Jonathan Beck, Manager and Founder of the Scan the World project, said:
“Through collecting this data, the project serves as a public effort to bring art to the masses in a way more tangible than ever before.”
Across the city, the more stalwart British Museum has also embraced 3D printing as part of its daily practice. In fact, a restoration project for the British Museum has also been one of the recent major initiatives of Google Arts and Cultutre. Applying 3D scanning and 3D printing, Google recreated rare plaster casts from Guatamela that were taken by British archaeologist and explorer A.P. Maudslay in the 1800s. The project required the reassembly of multiple parts that had been in storage for over 100 years.
Allen adds, “When we talk to arts and culture preservationists, historians, and museum curators – they’re all absolutely amazed by the ability to fabricate these things with such high fidelity via 3D printing technology.”
Could this be 2019’s award-winning Creative Application of 3D printing? Nominate Stratasys, CyArk, Google Arts and Culture and more for the 3D Printing Industry Awards.
Featured image shows a 3D printed temple model created by Google and Stratasys. Image via Stratasys