CT scans can be converted to specialised CAD images to allow for 3D printing of your scanned object. In many circumstances, the entire object may be printed as a replica. Sometimes, only a section of an object is required for printing to assist with future repair.
There are a variety of materials (usually plastics but sometimes metals) in which objects can be 3D printed. The printed model can be a true representation of the dimensions and shape of the object, or can be scaled up or down as desired.
The printed colour range is usually limited – and if a colour replica is required, specialist painting on top of the printed plastic may be required, like when painting a plastic model.
There are a large variety of 3D printers and materials to print with and we would be happy to advise you with the best approach for your objects.
3D printing is providing novel ways of assessing ancient relics. The research team at the University of Connecticut utilised the technology to print 3D working parts of ancient 19th century musical instruments. The 3D printed models could be used to listen to the way in which ancient musical instruments were meant to sound, without damaging the original priceless artefacts.
Painted 3D models have also been used by museums for their displays and exhibitions – such as in Egyptian mummies displays.
As an example, the team at The Field Museum, Chicago IL, USA, have utilised CT scan imaging and 3D printing to assist with the re-restoration of an ancient skull.