Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Does a Printer Make a Fossil?

Scientific American has an article about Lehman College creating ancient fossils using 3D Printers.

Here's an excerpt:

In a small basement in the Bronx, the pride of place does not go to a shelf occupied by blue models of deformed skulls. Instead, the focus of the Lehman College 3D Virtual and Solid Visualization Laboratory is a large gray printer.

This is no dot-matrix monster. It's a precision three-dimensional printer that lays down layers of liquid blue plastic to create 3-D models of "monkey" skulls (fossil primate skulls, actually). Using this method, the lab's founder, paleoanthropologist Eric Delson, creates detailed replicas of fossil finds as well as larger models of them for closer study. These models serve as teaching tools, allowing students to examine replicas of fossils too rare and fragile for direct contact. As a research aid, 3-D printing simplifies fossil reconstruction and even allows Delson to simulate the skulls of primate ancestors whose remains never fossilized.

Read Full Article Here:

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