PaleoPrint, fledgling 3D print service, hopes to capture the market for 3D printed fossils.
The new service believes they are in a good position to replace the ancient practice of plaster-casting fossils to make replicas. Instead, the new process would involve a detailed 3D scan of the object and then a 3D print on their Zprinter 310 Plus.
They cite several advantages to this approach, not the least of which is that the original fossils will be handled far less often. Handling a fossil potentially dozens of times simply to make repeated casts is probably not the best way to treat a one-of-a-kind, priceless fossil.
In some cases, plaster casts are made at the dig site. The new process would involve 3D scanning on site, then replacing the cast shipment with a digital transmission of the scan.
But for us the most interesting advantage is the ability to change the size of the print. Some fossils are massive, occupying large rooms. These are obviously difficult to house, move, examine and replace. But what if you reduced the dimensions of the print to desktop size? It’s likely many types of research could be done on the small model that could not be done on a life-size version.
Similarly, small features can be expanded. Imagine a 1cm fossil “blown up” into a 1m model for examination. Again, this opens up many research possibilities.
The company has launched via a Kickstarter campaign, where you can donate to their project. Higher level donations will receive a printed item.