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Thursday, May 31 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Objects) The Use of 3D Printing for Casting Proportional Replicas Used in the Treatment of Articulated Skeletons

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The anatomical accuracy of natural science specimens is important for their use in education and display. This case study explores the recreation of missing elements of an articulated brant goose skeleton (Branta bernicla) from a study collection in the Ornithology Department at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). The articulated skeleton was treated during a course at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (NYU). In current AMNH practice, molds taken from other specimens of the same species are often used to cast replacement elements missing from an articulated skeleton. However, the goose skeleton in this case study is larger than other brant specimens at the AMNH, so casts made in the usual way would not have been proportionally correct. To create replicas of the required size, the analogous bones from a smaller specimen were laser scanned at NYU’s LaGuardia Studio, a facility providing advanced digital media services to faculty, students, and visiting artists. The scans were enlarged using modeling software and then used to 3D-print a model of each bone. In order to ensure low cost with long-term stability, the printed models were then used to create silicone molds from which casts were made in a stable epoxy. This presentation will detail the options available for 3D scanning, file manipulation, and printing, with emphasis on cost, practicability, and long-term stability. Both the printing process and printing materials will be discussed. For this case study, the final cost was under $60 for the scanning and printing of five small bones. Including creating the second molds, the treatment required about 20 hours, spread over a few weeks. The lag time was mostly due to scheduling with the LaGuardia Studio rather than the necessity of the process. Combining digital technology with traditional mold-making techniques allowed for the more accurate calculation of shape and proportion of the bone replicas and the creation of highly detailed molds quickly and economically.

avatar for Christine E Haynes

Christine E Haynes

Assistant Objects Conservator, Preservation Arts
CHRISTINE HAYNES is Assistant Objects Conservator at Preservation Arts (Oakland, California). Her research interest is in modern and contemporary art, especially plastic polymers and composite material. Christine trained at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts NYU... Read More →

avatar for Julia	Sybalsky

Julia Sybalsky

Senior Associate Conservator, American Museum of Natural History
Julia Sybalsky is an Associate Conservator at the AMNH, where she began working in January of 2010. She was an important contributor in the recently-completed renovation of dioramas in the Hall of North American Mammals and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. Julia's work supports... Read More →
avatar for Fran E. Ritchie

Fran E. Ritchie

Conservator (Objects), National Park Service
Fran Ritchie is the organic objects conservator at the National Park Service (NPS) Harpers Ferry Center where she focuses on natural science materials, Indigenous collections, and archaeological and utilitarian cultural heritage. Prior to the NPS, she worked on projects at the American... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 4:30pm - 5:00pm MDT
Texas Ballroom B Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Objects