By: Smithsonian X 3D / Digitalization Program Office, 2013
Material: Polyamide (Nylon)
Technology: Laser Sintering
Manufactured by: Materialise

Smithsonian X 3D brings museum collections to homes and classrooms by applying cutting-edge 3D technology to one-of- a-kind objects. Online visitors can see these items in 3D and download to print their own. Here is an example of a woolly mammoth skeleton.

The Digitization Program Office (DPO.SI.EDU) was founded to integrate digitization into the core functions of the Smithsonian. With 138 million objects and specimens, 157 thousand cubic feet of archival materials, and 2 million library volumes, housed in our 19 museums and nine research centers, the scale and diversity of Smithsonian collections presents a unique digitization challenge. The Digitization Program Office meets this challenge by establishing metrics which track digitization progress across the Smithsonian by running digitization prototype projects which enhance the understanding of how fast and cost-efficient digitization can be without compromising quality; by investigating cutting-edge technologies, such as 3D digitization, in their application to our collections and scientific research; and by investigating additional tools and techniques, such as robotic and conveyor belt capture, to further increase productivity.

Smithsonian X 3D (3D.SI.EDU) brings museum collections to homes and classrooms by applying cutting-edge 3D technology to one-of-a-kind objects such as the 1903 Wright Flyer, Lincoln’s Life Masks, a 1500-year-old Buddha sculpture, a prehistoric fossilized whale, or a Super Nova. The 3D models are presented online through a plug-in free explorer, which was created for the Smithsonian by the 3D design firm Autodesk. In 2014, the Digitization Program Office 3D team produced the first presidential portrait created from 3D scan data. The 3D-printed bust of President Barack Obama was accessioned into the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.