Tag Archives: China

Rebuild (or Clone) the Forbidden City with 3D Printing

3D printing is being used to restore ancient artifacts from Beijing’s Forbidden City. Through a process of high resolution optical scanning, relics are being digitized and reprinted so that they are not lost.

The team is capturing the shape of the original objects using laser or optical scanners then cleaning up the data using reverse engineering techniques. This allows damaged parts of intricate artefacts to be restored in the 3D model before being 3D printed. This has been possible for some time, but Zhang has developed a formalised approach tailored to the restoration of historic artefacts. The teams is working on the ceiling and enclosure of a pavilion in the Emperor Qianlong Garden.

This technique has also been used to “clone” artifacts so that every museum can host the most valuable collections for its patrons.

The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.has over 137 million artifacts in its collection but only two per cent are exhibited to the public at any one time. Now, the organisation hopes to make more available by sharing its objects with other museums - or at least 3D-printed copies.

It’s interesting how techniques that previously could be considered akin to piracy are now being used to preserve cultural icons.

Via Wired.

Disrupting China: Interview with Horst Hörtner from Ars Electronica Futurelab

Austrian-native Horst Hörtner is a visionary in the 3D printing field and sees a disruptive future ahead. Hörtner is a founder and senior director of the Ars Electronica Futurelab, where innovations have ranged from foldable digital newspapers to car navigation systems.

Disrupting China?

Hörtner comments on the impact of 3D printing to the global supply chain:

In the short-run – about five to 10 years – 3D printing will change our way of how we produce things, it will change the logistics of the entire global production.

[The next big things] could hasten the demise of the traditional factory and manufacturing model that has dominated since the industrial revolution. The business model built around factories that make things – a product-driven business model – is under threat from many transformative forces; 3D printing not least of all.

Hörtner was in Brisbane, Australia this past weekend to share his views. Read more about this interview and his research at the Brisbane Times.