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Showcasing the Beauty of a Trilobite through 3D Printing

by • January 11, 2016 • No Comments

post-19906-0-68451800-1450938211Alas, the humble trilobite will most most likely\ nat any time star in its own Saturday morning cartoon or create it into next year’s lineup of Beanie Babies, mostly for the reason it is distinctly unhuggable. It has a much greater chance of gaining widely utilized recognition in the role as a few sort of space creature which causes Sigourney Weaver to become highly uncomfortable. Its cause is not helped by the fact which it is unmost likely to show up to any promotional events due to the fact which after 270 million years of being at the center of the Earth’s social scene it has since had the poor taste to become extinct.

During their heyday, there were a few 17,000 species of trilobite and as a result of their proliferation, the fossil record is replete with evidence of their existence. These tantalizing glimpse at pre-pre-historic creepy-crawlies left the soft-hearted Dr. Allan Drummond longing to appreciate them in all of their glory, fish with legs, antennae, and gills. Luckily, Dr. Drummond is a responsible biochemistry and human genetics researcher and not a few mad scientist with an odd affinity for Frankenstein-esque reanimation of dead tissue. Rather than attempting to harness the power of lightning to bring these creatures back to life (and most most likely create them part of his plans to take over the world), he decided on the much additional practical route of creating models of them via 3D printing.

post-19906-0-50716600-1445143298As you can most most likely\ imagine, a project like this starts with a great, hard look at an huge number of the creatures. Upon doing so, even the veteran trilobite-enthusiast was surprised:

“The initial step was to look at as most trilobites as possible and choose one. I’ve always enjoyed these fossils, but the moment they turned of fossils into living organisms for me was when I saw the new generation of preparations displayed at Chicago’s Field Museum. I mayn’t believe what I was seeing. In my mind, trilobites were flat, if beautiful, prmitive creatures. Seeing those preparations created it clear how not-flat and not-primitve they were.”

post-19906-0-06444600-1445148408While ‘not-flat’ and ‘not-primitive’ are hardly the descriptors which might move a few to poetic action, Drummond was as enthusiastic as at any time of exploring the little beasts in 3D. When sifting through approaching 17,000 options, it’s great to have a clear thought of the criteria to be utilized to evaluate the final selection. Drummond knew which he was going to 3D print the equivalent of a Miss Universe specimen of among the trilobites and wanted to ensure he picked one which was thoughtl for which means of production. In order to do so, he utilized the Goldilocks method: this one is too easy, this one is too fragile…this one is simply right.

“Ceraurus is thought. They have long yet significant genal [head segment] and pygidial [tail segment] spines, difficult thoracic armor, attractive curves, unmistakable trilobite form. Enough detail to warrant 3D printing, adequate structural solidity to survive it.”

topIn other words, they answered his ‘wanted’ ad with the total package, but preceding he may hold the prints in his hands, he initial had to create the drawings which he may turn into 3D models using Inkscape and so Blender. After the models had been worked and reworked, they were sent to a form printer. After each piece was created it was cut of its base and polished. When all of the pieces were eager, they were assembled and and so cast in variety of metals. The final pieces were given a patina using liver of sulfur, a witchy sounding concoction which softens the ideal shine into a subtly mottled finish.

The finished pieces are quite lovely and, dare I say it, kind of lovable. The 3D printed shell is even available via Shapeways. It’s hard not to share Drummond’s enthusiasm:

“I’m quite happy with how it turned out. When you hold [the model] in your hand, it practically squirms. You can imagine her exploring her world, questing with her antennae, seeking prey and potential mates.”

Maybe which in fact may be the pilot episode for a new Saturday morning cartoon character: Trudy the Trilobite. Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Trilobite forum on 3DPB.com.

[Source: Nerdist]