Sketchfabrication: Printing Egyptian treasures in the classroom with Sketchfab

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What happens if you give free access to models of cultural heritage? Here’s a great story about the Cramlington Learning Village in the UK who are using the models from the British Museum on Sketchfab to make their students curators of their own ‘mini-British Museum’!

I talked to Graham Quince about this project.

Granite head of Amenemhat III by britishmuseum on Sketchfab

Hi Graham, how are you using 3D printing on your school?

We currently have 3 3D printers at Cramlington Learning Village (2 UP! Plus 2s and one MakerBot Replicator). I’m one of three web designers. The students have been designing models in Sketchup, I’ve been assisting/refining using Cinema4D. Our head of construction, Nick Macgregor is building a rotating platform which we plan to use to scan objects using 123D Catch. The track the rotating top uses was designed by a student and 3D printed. We’ve found the 3D printers excite both students and staff with possibilities of the new technology. With the printing taking a few hours, I’ve set up a webcam which students can dial in and watch, and they do.

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3D print of the Granite head of Amenemhat III

How did this idea come to be?

I saw the Sketchfab story on Gizmodo last week about the British Museum offering models to download. I forwarded the story to Nick and our head of Humanities, Damian Clark and we decided we’d print a couple of the models.

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3D print of Horus (Falcon)

What’s next?

We’re thinking we might set up a mini-British Museum, with the students as curators (although this is still in the concept stage). I’ve just printed the statue of Horus too, which has come out really well as well.

We’re planning a research project for our Year 8 students about the British Empire and Slavery. Originally it was thought the students would have to spend some time creating paper-mache models, but since the article appeared, we’re considering switching to printing the 3D artefacts. This will bring the focus back to the actual topic. Our students will be expected to research the topics involved and present and display objects from the time.

Thanks Graham, best of luck with this cool project!

– Bart

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