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Design of the Week: 6th Century Sword

This week’s selection is Nils Anderssen’s incredible sword from Snartemo replica. 

Anderssen is a teacher who spends his off-hours recreating historical artifacts, such as swords. Normally, he uses conventional techniques, but this time it involved 3D printing. 

Anderssen was asked by Norway’s National Museum of Art to produce a replica of a sword found in 1933 in a tomb at Snartemo in Norway. The original sword has been dated to 500 CE. It’s known as a “Migration Period” sword, as the weapons of that era were transitioning between traditional Roman-style equipment to new Viking designs. The museum’s objective was to have a replica suitable for touch, so it had to have the same heft and weight as the original.

Anderssen used 3DS Max to develop a 3D model of the sword’s hilt, which would have been challenging, given the intricate nature of the hilt’s design shown here. 

The resulting 3D model was printed in several pieces by i.Materialise in bronze. 

The pieces were assembled and joined with a metal blade to form the complete piece, which now resides in the museum. 

Our thought: this project was clearly challenging and likely expensive. If museums were more able to produce accurate 3D scans of complex objects such as this, we may see more replicas in future displays. 

Via i.Materialise and Nils Anderssen

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