One is the past; one is the future. Dinosaurs and 3D printing may seem world’s apart, but the ability to transform dinosaur drawings into physical models has obvious benefits if you are a palaeontologist or osteologist. And if you’re a design studio who makes props, well, you just found your new manufacturing method. Here’s two stories of two different design teams using 3D printing to bring dinosaurs to life.
3D printing dinosaur props for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (2018) used a killer combination of practical and digital special effects to create the immersive world in which the film is set. Some of the dinosaur models were sculpted by hand but four important ones were entirely 3D printed on the Builder Extreme 2000 in Builder PLA. The UK company responsible for overseeing this specialise in making props for the film industry. They were tasked with producing 4 1:1 scale dinosaurs with a deadline of three to four weeks.
Here’s one of the 3D printed models:
The dinosaur shown on the image above is a velociraptor. It was fully 3D printed (except for the eye) on the Extreme 2000. The body of the Velociraptor was 3D printed in 10 separate pieces (this could have been more, but this wasn’t necessary because of the generous build volume of the Extreme 2000). The teeth and nails were 3D printed on the Builder Premium Large, a tall 3D printer. After 3D printing, the parts were glued together and sanded by hand to a finish the paint team were happy with.
The Velociraptor has a total length of 4 meters and weighs about 60 kg in total. It is printed in PLA so is biodegradable with proper composting. The four dinosaurs were printed on time, giving the film’s production studio what they needed well on schedule.
3D printing bones of a Triceratops
It isn’t just props where 3D printing is bringing dinosaurs to life. 3D printing is also being used to fabricate anatomical models of dinosaur bones. These can be used for further study around the world because it enables osteologists to have a physical model of the bones without being constrained by shipping and transport. All that is needed is a 3D printer and the sliced CAD file and they’re good to go.
A good recent example is the work of Naturalis, the national research institute for biodiversity in Leiden, the Netherlands. Naturalis has been using 3D printing for a number of years to print dinosaur bones but have struggled with volume and size.
Enter Builder 3D, who decided to help them out with 3D printing the large bones of a triceratops. Builder 3D Printers is only 20 minutes away from Naturalis, so a call was all it took to arrange a meeting. It turned out Naturalis needed to print a number of missing bones from their model. In this case, the bones were of the lower back/tail bone. As you can imagine, the bones are absolutely enormous.
Here’s the 3D printed model:
That is a model of the lower part of a triceratops spine. To create the design file, a number of 3D scans were required of various specimens from around the world. The bone was printed with a 0.4 mm nozzle, at a layer height of 0.2 mm for high quality. The result is a 3D model in perfect detail. The print time of this large bone was 145 hours, which sounds like a lot, but we’re not dealing with miniatures here. The scale is 1:1.
The 3D printer of choice for this model, the Builder Extreme 1500, has a 1100 x 500 x 820 mm (XYZ) build volume and a footprint of 1500 x 600 x 1600 mm. It’s one of the largest 3D printers of its type capable of printing PET, PLA, PVA support material, flexible filament and special filaments like Woodfill and Bronzefill. It also has an on-board camera so you can remotely monitor prints in real-time.
Materials used: Builder PLA.