May 19, 2014

Head In Your Hands

Maybe you’re like me and you’re not exactly sure what to make of 3D printers. Sometimes they feel straight out of sci-fi (home print yourself a gun!), at other times they seem like a frivolous way to procure something you could buy at the dollar store. Only time will tell if they’ll be a game-changer like the phone or a 2014 version of Crystal Pepsi.

But one thing brought their worth home for us: the ability to take a one-of-a-kind, totally locked-up-in-a-South African-steel-vault object like the skull of the Taung Child, and put it in our hands while listening to the story. OK, sure, it’s not the actual skull, but when you’re running your hands over the eye sockets and feeling the weight of a 2 million year old cranium, it feels close enough.

This is exactly what happened for us over at Radiolab when MakerBot first sent us a skull to have and to hold while we produced ‘The Skull’.

Picture by Henry Reich of Minute Physics

Photo by Henry Reich of Minute Physics

And then shootdigital took it one step further when they revised the scan to make it as close to lifelike as a plastic object could be.

Here are Jad & Soren holding the shootdigital skull:


Even though we’d had this story around for weeks, there was something about hearing the story while holding the skull in our hands. It closed the distance, in some strange way that made us shiver for a moment. If you’ve got the means, we urge you to visit our Thingiverse page, download the STL file, and let the printer work its magic. 

Shootdigital made a short video of their process—they use a high-end 3D printer that works like this:

If you don't have a 3D printer but you DO happen to be in New York City, you can visit the 3D printed skull at a nifty little place called Mmuseumm.

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