Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Technology

3D-Printed Dinosaur Bones "Like Gutenberg's Printing Press" For Paleontologists 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the dig-and-click dept.
Philip Ross writes "Uses for 3D printers are more widespread than ever, but researchers in Germany are expanding 3D-printing territory even further. For the first time ever, scientists from the Department of Radiology at Charité Campus Mitte in Berlin have recreated dinosaur fossils from blueprints made by computed tomography, or CT, scans. The ability to scan and 3D-print dinosaur fossils could have wide-ranging applications for not only paleontologists but also educators and private collectors alike."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

3D-Printed Dinosaur Bones "Like Gutenberg's Printing Press" For Paleontologists

Comments Filter:
  • Seems like a no-brainer to me. Why go out and dig up fossils when you can just print up a dino-bone. Gap in the fossil record? No problem. Just print up the missing link using a 3d morphing tool and be famous.
    • Seems like a no-brainer to me. Why go out and dig up fossils when you can just print up a dino-bone. Gap in the fossil record? No problem. Just print up the missing link using a 3d morphing tool and be famous.

      Except, you know, carbon dating, Mineral analysis, etc.

    • Re:Why Dig? (Score:4, Funny)

      by DavidClarkeHR (2769805) <david DOT clarke AT hrgeneralist DOT ca> on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:15PM (#45478111)

      Seems like a no-brainer to me. Why go out and dig up fossils when you can just print up a dino-bone. Gap in the fossil record? No problem. Just print up the missing link using a 3d morphing tool and be famous.

      ... and if you do carbon dating of the petroleum products used to make the plastic bones, they're both the APPROXIMATELY the same age, right?

    • You don't understand. You have a complete 3D model of a chunk of thigh bone, but you will not be able to create a full visualization of its owner until you can use it to club your detractors.

      Because screens and CAD tools are just confusing to paleontologists, I guess...

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        yes, exactly this.

        if something is like gutenbergs printing press for these and other guys it is the internet and computers.

        3d printing is more like having sculptors really cheap.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          if something is like gutenbergs printing press for these and other guys it is the internet and computers. 3d printing is more like having sculptors really cheap.

          3D printing is to sculptors what the Gutenberg press was to scribes, and what computers were to computers (before electronic computers, a "computer" was a person hired to perform math).

          You can already make cheap sculptures out of ceramics, this is no different -- an actual sculptor has to sculpt the original your printer is copying, just as Gutenber

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I thought there was already a story about doing exactly that on slashdot? like, taking a piece, taking some sw and extrapolating the rest of the animal from that piece with fancy algos(that just matched it to a similar animal and made up some differing pieces).

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:16PM (#45478121) Homepage Journal

    Print enough bones, take your DeLorean and plant them around the sites the first paleontologist would find ones. Then history would be rewritten and all would believe now that dinosaur were made of plastic, and thats how oil got made.

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Or mutate a dinosaur cell so that it rapidly replicates, then let it grow over the skeleton, which you printed in metal, and...

      Wolverex!

  • Collectors? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:20PM (#45478143)

    Because what private collectors interested in rare antiquities want is a plastic copy....

    Paleontologists, sure. While there's no shortage of fossilized dinosaur bones, there are particular species that are in short supply. I can also see this being very useful for anyone who has a theory about assembling a skeleton that differs from the currently accepted model who wants to experiment without handling (and therefore potentially damaging) the real thing.

    But not collectors.

    • I'd pay for a 1:4 size raptor skeleton in plastic to sit in my lounge room. Even 1:1 if it would fit.

      I'd be happy with this arrangement, because I would get my decor, and the palientologists would get the original to discover stuff on.

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      I can imagine that fossilized bones are often broken or crushed, or locked in a substrate that makes removing them problematic. So, take a CT scan, remove the substrate digitally, then maniplate digital copies. Multiple palentoligists could have acces to the same samples and attempt differing configurations, without the logistics problems or dangers of sharing and manipulating the source material.
      Further, while a rich collector may want the real thing, I bet many people would love to have a copy.
    • Re:Collectors? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by enitime (964946) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:09PM (#45478359)

      Because what private collectors interested in rare antiquities want is a plastic copy....

      Fossils are very rarely complete. If a collector has two-thirds of a T-Rex skeleton, they would absolutely want the last third in plastic for display purposes. Even if it's bright red PVA to highlight what's real and what's not.

    • Collectors who are current collectors, sure, but that's a chicken and egg argument. It's hard to be a collector of cheap 3D printed dinosaur bones when there aren't currently cheap 3d printed dinosaur bones to collect. I would really like a life-sized T-rex skull, but don't have thousands of dollars to waste on the real thing. I'd prefer to spend less than $300 for a full scale model, let alone that much for a quarter scale model [neobits.com].
  • Scaled from 3-D scans of real T-Rex bones. Own your own T-Rex skeleton -

    1' high $20
    3' high $100
    12' high $500
    life size assemble yourself $2000

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      Why not just download the CAD files and print it yourself at whatever scale you want that the printer can handle.
      • Because my printer can only handle 20cm x 20cm x 20cm, what would be enough only for the teeth, and I have no interest in having a larger printer occupying space at home.

        As a second tought, I also no interest in a skeleton replica occupying space at home either. The market size will depend on how much those two factors are correlated.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Screw that. I want a life-size Argentinasaurus!
  • Now hurry up and print the rest of the dinosaur!
  • Just for kicks I want a dino-bone shaped liberator, then wait for the scramble of politicians trying to pass new laws.
    • I'm not sure why they'd need a new law. (Not that that would stop them from trying to make one!)

      From 26 USC 5845:

      The term "any other weapon" means any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.

      Unless you chose a dinosaur bone over 26" long, the resulting weapon will be presumed to be concealable, and thus the first bolded section will apply. Since a dinosaur bone is not a pistol, you don't get exempted on the basis of the second. (It's not a pistol because it's not shaped like a normal pistol -- same reason most pen-guns are AOWs.) So, unless made with an eye to circumventing these, y

      • ok, screw that for a joke, I'll just make one from a real dino bone. and claim the ability to fire a bullet as an unintended consequence of long term erosion. I'm pretty sure there are at least three laws covering shooting someone with a homemade weapon but as you state that wont stop them from trying to outlaw everything from another 3 different angles.
    • Just for kicks I want a dino-bone shaped liberator

      Really now, calling it that is just taking feminism too far.

      Oh, wait, it's a gun? Never mind.

  • I think the utility this guys have in mind is to duplicate the bone after excavation and lease the original off to some bored rich guy. This way, you can keep the research going while he gets "exclusive guardianship". Then, if you ever need the original back - which is very rare considering just how many bones are just laying around in basements - you just need to call on some contract clause and possibly give the money back or just borrow it or whatever you agreed upon.

    If I recall correctly Google and othe

  • Otherwise I turn him into cat food.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

Working...