3D Printing Fossils

I've just discovered the amazing 3D Fossils site of the British Geological Survey.

The GB3D Type Fossils Online project, funded by JISC, aims to develop a single database of the type specimens, held in British collections, of macrofossil species and subspecies found in the UK, including links to photographs (including 'anaglyph' stereo pairs) and a selection of 3D digital models.

What that means is that they have thousands of British fossils available as freely downloadable 3D models! Even better, all the models are Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3).

So, I decided to experiment with printing out a Fossil on the 3D Printer I built for my employer.

I chose a model more-or-less at random - an Ammonite from Dorset.
Fossile Screenshot

I used netFabb for Linux to slice the model along the Z-Axis. This ensured it had a smooth, flat foundation.
Sliced 3D Fossil

The resolution of this particular scan was quite low - and is taken from a plaster cast of the original small fossil - but even still, I'm impressed with how well the print turned out.

Printed Fossil

The printer got a little skew-whiff towards the end of the print, so I finished it early. Even so - it's easy to see how well some of the features have printed out.

Now I need to find some larger, and more interesting things to extrude!

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