Apr.8, 2012

Thousands of individual historic relics in the Forbidden City, the Palace Museum in Beijing, China will be restored using 3D printing technology. This huge project is funded by the Chinese Government and designers at Loughborough University will work with officials from the Palace Museum to help restoring ancient artefacts.

Built by hand between 1406 and 1420, and covering 7,800,000 square feet, the Forbidden City is the world's largest surviving palace complex. In old time, renovation work is done manually - the objects were measured, photographed and repaired using traditional techniques which is an extremely time-consuming and expensive task. Loughborough Design School PhD student Fangjin Zhang and colleagues have been investigating the use of 3D printing and other digital technologies aiming to repair artefacts in a much shorter time and lower cost. Loughborough has now been asked to use 3D printing to repair the ceiling and enclosure of a pavilion in the Emperor Chanlong Garden.

(photo: Loughborough University)

The application of this method to archaeological artefacts requires the shape of the original objects to be 'captured' using laser or optical scanners, and the data to be 'cleaned-up' using reverse engineering techniques. Through this process damaged areas can be digitally restored ready for the 3D printing process. This has been possible for some time, but now Miss Zhang is developing a formalised approach tailored specifically to the restoration of historic artefacts.

Read more here the press release from Loughborough University.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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