Earlier this year my 10 year old daughter had a school art project to sculpt a figurine out of clay. She came up with this beautiful ballerina figurine and scored exceptionally good marks. On bringing the statue home to come show us the head got broken off, and then the cats managed to bump it off the dresser table breaking the arms off. After gluing the pieces back together a number of time, we decided something needed to be done.
3D Scanning to the rescue
With the availability of affordable desktop 3D Scanners like the EinScan-S from Shining3D, I was able to capture a detailed 3D scan of the figurine in just a few minutes. This allowed me to have a fully digital model available which could be used to replicate the figure at any time.
The EinScan-S desktop 3D Scanner is a very affordable device able to capture very good detail on small to medium objects. The scanner uses structure digital light to project patterns onto the part to be 3D scanned and captures the distortion in the patterns to build up the 3D models. A part is simply placed onto a rotating base which allows the scanner to capture geometry from all sides. The software is simple and easy to use and will allow you to create a fully water tight 3D model suitable for 3D printing.
3D Models can now be easily shared using popular 3D model hosting sites such as Sketchfab. Sketchfab is similar to other foto and video sharing sites, except you can share links and view 3D models this way. You can send a link to someone and they can easily view the 3D model in their web browser or download the 3D model to print out on their own home 3D printer. Imagine being able to send your child's artwork to a family member perhaps living in a different country.
3D Printing Technologies
Various 3D printing technologies are available to replicate the 3D scan which can then be used for various applications. In this case the ballerina was 3D printed on the Asiga Pico2 HD DLP 3D printer. This precision machine uses digital light to project light patterns into a vat of resin material, which cures the liquid into a solid state. Extreme high detail can be achieved suitable for use in the manufacture of jewelry items.
Now we are able to take what was a very delicate clay sculpture created with love by a child, and preserve the work by turning this into a precious and unique piece of jewelry, a silver pendant or perhaps a charm bracelet. Using standard jewelry manufacturing techniques, like lost wax casting this piece can be created in any precious metal like gold, silver or titanium.
Think about the endless possibilities this opens up. Not only is the artwork preserved digitally forever, but it can now be used in a number of processes to create master pieces. Perhaps even a full sized statue which will go down in history forever.