Since its inception in 2014, Scan the World has self-funded each and every step of its own development through leading 3D file marketplace MyMiniFactory. In that time, it has built up the world’s largest ecosystem of 3D printable sculptures and cultural artifacts, and now offers over 20,000 free STL files.
Described as a “natural next step”, the crowdfunding campaign will support the project’s continued expansion by funding the community’s future initiatives. Specifically, the Scan the World team will use the funds to undertake new projects all over the globe, connecting users to their favourite sculptures and providing the community with a platform to share their love for 3D printing, culture, and art.
Scan the World: the open-source museum
Founded by Jonathan Beck, Scan the World uses 3D scanning technology to digitize art pieces from all over the world. The models are then optimized for 3D printing before having their STLs distributed for free across the MyMiniFactory platform, granting 3D printing enthusiasts with access to tangible art right from the bedroom.
To date, Beck and his modest team have worked with over 50 public museums and cultural institutions, as well as several private collections, to 3D scan sculptures for the masses. This includes Denmark’s Statens Museum for Kunst, the Thorvaldsens Museum, and Sweden’s Nationalmuseum.
London’s Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum, in particular, was one of the first to recognize just how important the initiative was. In fact, back in 2016, V&A invited Scan the World to participate in the ‘A World of Fragile Parts’ exhibition in conjunction with La Biennale di Venezia. It’s believed that this was one of the first instances of a national gallery choosing to permanently exhibit 3D printed objects of this kind.
More recently, Scan the World also teamed up with Google Arts & Culture to further expand its 3D printable art portfolio. The collaboration means data archived on the Google Arts & Culture platform will be viewable in 3D, with the corresponding STL files made available on the MyMiniFactory marketplace.
The crowdfunding campaign
The crowdfunding campaign will go live on 29 June 2021, running for a full month until 28 July. As well as supporting the costs of scanning and processing sculptures from all over the world, the campaign will also aid creators who develop tutorials and educational videos on the platform. Additionally, it will also provide the wider community with a say in which artifacts and art collections are digitized and launched for free as 3D printable STLs.
Naturally, the campaign will also feature several stretch goals which are yet to be finalized. Pledgers can expect video tutorials on 3D scanning technology, a number of 3D scanning competitions, and several never-before-seen 3D printable cultural objects. This includes scans from Mesopotamia, Mayan artifacts, and more.
As for the pledge tiers, backers can expect a mashup of personalized 3D printable STL files, Scan the World t-shirts, physical A3-sized 2D prints, and even some physical 3D printed models.
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Featured image shows new model renders created just for the crowdfunding event. Image via Michele Ronchetti.