As we enter the Spring semester, our educators spent the weekend preparing sample objects for their students to pass around. In addition to the ability to replicate multiple objects of the same type using 3D printing, teachers have been able to scale their designs so that they better suit the classroom educational use among their students.
A CT scanned mouse skull is very difficult to study in actual scale, while expanded to almost 2 inches in length, the internal sinus voids and other details can be easily identified in study. Combined with a beaver skull that clearly illustrates the growth path of rodent teeth, these examples assist in life science and animal morphology studies.
For our anthropology students, dinosaur skeletons like this Allosaurus claw and petrified whale skeletons from the Smithsonian scanning effort allow individual access to artifacts whose original form would be too fragile and in many cases far too large for manual inspection and manipulation.
As more repositories scan their holdings and share them electronically, teachers will have an increasingly complex range of examples they can fabricate locally using inexpensive 3D Printers.
the resulting objects are easily duplicated for all members of the class, and scaled larger or smaller based on the intended demonstration purpose for the 3D Printed examples.
A few resources for educators:
- Smithsonian Artifacts: http://3d.si.edu/browser
- Thing-I-Verse: http://www.thingiverse.com/search/page:1?q=Dinosaur&sa=
- Human Civilization: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/3d-collection