Replica of a 6th century sword.
The last few years have higlighted a positive increase in examples of digital technologies being used to replicate pieces of ancient history for online resources, exhibitions and even museum revenue streams. One of the latest projects in collaboration with i.materialise led a game developer to produce a 6th century artefact at the request of a leading museum.
Teacher and game developer Nils Anderson began experimenting with 3D printing a few years back. Combined with his interest in recreating historical artefacts in his spare time, Nils work caught the attention of the National Museum of Art in Norway.
The museum asked Nils to create a replica of a 6th century sword from Snartemo that would look and feel exactly like the original. The goal was to create a perfect version that museum visitors could interact with via the use of 3D printing.
More used to working in 3D than modelling in wax like a traditional goldsmith, Nils began to model the handle based on photographs and measurements using 3D Studio Max. Designing with traditional polygon modelling techniques, the software gave Nils complete control over the thickness and size of the model that would later contribute to a smooth 3D printing process.
Modelling in 3D.
Nils used i.materialise to 3D print the model due to the ability to print large scale and the rapid turn around time. After a quick test to ensure that all details came out flawlessly, the model was sent for print in bronze. To complete the piece, Nils finished the sword by smoothing the surface and having the part gilded before attaching the blade.
Nils commented: “The whole project has been very interesting both as a learning experience and also to be able to use processes I already knew, but with more complexity.”
Measuring the original up to the 3D printed replica, the image shows that 3D printing can be highly valuable in producing accurate and high quality artefacts of objects that are perhaps too precious to put into the hands of the general public.
Similarly, Materialise recently revealed that it had played a significant role in the continued construction of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Using its Magics 3D imaging software, they were able to replicate the modernist style of its renowned architect and stay true to his vision.
Original sword alongside the replica.