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Archaeology Student needs help with 3D scanning and printing Answered

Hi Guys and Girls, first time posting like this so i hope this is in the right place, and if it is i can get some help.

I'm currently studying Applied Archaeology, in the Institute of Technology Sligo, in Ireland, I'm in my fourth and final year and as part of this I have to research and write a thesis.

The topic I am planning on doing involves 3D scanning, and if everything goes to plan, it will turn out great, and is something no one has done before in Irish archaeology,

Ok so here’s the thing.

It is still early days, I haven’t even decided on the title or gotten a chance to experiment with the scanner, and I am relatively new to 3D imaging and all that it involves.

But as part of the overall concept of my thesis I would like to haves some of these scans print using as many of the various different methods of 3D printing as I can. This is so I can compare and analysis there suitability. This is where I hit a wall and I hope someone can help. There aren’t many companies that do 3D printing in Ireland and those that do usually deal with medium to large company’s and thus are way out of my price range.

Edit: 21.09.2011

Ok after a doing a boat load more reserch I have been able to pick three methods of 3D printing I would like to use:
1. Fused Deposition Modeling using the, RepRap and MakerBot.
2. Laminated Object Manufacturing.
3. Stereolithography.

If any of you out there have an interest in Archaeology and can offer advice on 3D scanning, image editing, has access to a 3D printer or are lucky enough to own one of these machines, and are willing to help me out I would be extremely grateful.
I am more than willing to contribute what I can to the cost of raw material, cover the postage to Ireland and of course give massive amounts of praise and acknowledgement to all those that have helped, when I’m writing my thesis.

Many Thanks




I presume you've tried getting a grant?

A grant would be a good idea but, the college doesn't give grants for per-graduate thesis's and from what I understand they are hard enough to get for a post-grad thesis

How about writing a proposal paper to the department hierarchy to persuade them that 3d printing can be a valuable tool, and that the department should invest in one/some?

Laser (and CT) scanning, combined with 3d printing, can reproduce sturdier reproductions of artefacts that would otherwise be impossible to handle and examine. Important finds could be printed several times, or in several sizes, for display at more than one museum.

As part of the proposal, suggest / request that you are deeply involved in the selection of the particular model of 3d printer, and then write up both the proposal and the results of the selection process as your thesis.

Unfortunatly Im in a catch 22 position, I could use my thesis as a basis for a proposal, usuing the reserch and physical model comparasons. But in order to do the reserch and pratical model Comparasons I need access to various 3D printers such as: RepRap and Makerbot which use fused depostion modeling, Laminated object manufacturing and Stereolithography.

You're in Éire? Are there any Hacker Spaces within travel distance?

How about the other departments of your university? Can you negotiate access to rapid prototypers there?

Many high schools in England have started investing in a variety of 3d printer, maybe contact your own local schools??

Finally, you do not need access to actual printers to make a comparison of their features and abilities. Contact the manufacturers directly, hook up with opnline forums (Thingiverse springs to mind), and get the details of the systems - resolution, speed, cost of hardware, reliability of machinery, cost of raw materials, cost and ease-0f-use of software, compatibility with different formats of scanning originals etc

All good ideas but while it is true that I dont nessary need access to the printers them selves, if i incldue the 3d printing angle I will still need to fabricate the models in order to make comparasons between each type and the the origional.

As far as i know there are CAM machines in our enginering department and i will be looking at getting acces to them.