3D scanning and 3D printing are the way of the future. From creating and printing prototypes to most recently being used to create a bust of the world’s most famous political leader, the President of the United States of America, Mr. Barack Obama.
From start to finish the whole process took no more than seven minutes! Between the Mobile Light Stage and hand-held three dimensional scanners, a vast amount of physical data was read, then converted into a deep resolution digital model — indeed the bust is the highest resolution digital model of a head of state ever produced at some 15,000,000 triangles.
The final piece however was not the digital render of Mr. Obama, but the Selective Laser Sintered 3D print that the digital master file was used to produce.
It was just the next day when the team put together a 3D model by registering the various data source geometries into a single space and normalizing the unified color information to prevent seams. The last stage was the addition of the output models base plinth to create a bust profile. Just two days later and the final 1:1 scale bust file had been transferred to 3D Systems who used nylon powder based Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) to 3D print the large bust, which stands at no less than nineteen inches tall. Given the size and resolution of the bust, the 3D printing took forty-two hours.
The Smithsonian Museum has opened an exhibit of the advanced manufactured ultra-contemporary presidential bust, in digital form as part of their Smithsonian X 3D online exhibition and physical form at their commons gallery at the Smithsonian Castle Museum from December 2nd to 31st. You can catch the White House video release of this interesting 3D printed project below.