Jan 3, 2016 | By Benedict

If you ever heard somebody from Queensland, Australia talking about the local “Roar”, chances are they were referring to Brisbane’s fearsome soccer team of that name. Now, thanks to a Maranoa Council initiative, there could soon be another “Roar” in the north-eastern state: a life-size, 3D printed foam dinosaur.

The Maranoa, an area of Queensland’s southern inland, is using 3D printing technology to turn a local prehistoric discovery into a futuristic tourist attraction. In 1924, paleontologists discovered the bones of a 170 million-year-old Rhoetosaurus on a rocky gully on Taloona Station, near the town of Roma. The bones of the large herbivore currently reside at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, but the Maranoa Council is looking to create a life-size 3D printed replica of the extinct creature.

The 3D printed dinosaur, which will be made from a special 3D printed foam, could cost the Council up to A$200,000. Should the project prove a roaring success, the council may then opt to 3D print another model of a smaller armored dinosaur known as a Minmi, also found near Roma.

Images from ABC

"Right at the moment you can rout out of a large block of foam, a bone or an entire dinosaur and that's what we're working on at the moment," said Dr. Scott Hocknull, geosciences senior curator at the Queensland Museum. “It's a long time to get to a big dinosaur, so fingers crossed we can actually create something this large.”

Dr. Hocknull, a vertebrate paleoecologist and passionate science communicator, has praised the role of 3D printing in bringing these historical discoveries to life for tourists and locals alike. The curator, who was named Young Australian of the Year in 2002, specializes in bringing demonstrating natural and geo-heritage to life via digital and 3D printing technology.

"Just imagine being able to walk up close to one of these things,” he said. “Because it's a replica, because it's something you could potentially touch, kids can get a really direct engaging, exciting experience, by seeing these things close up.”

Maranoa Mayor Robert Loughnan hopes the project will draw tourists further inland, to discover the many sights and sounds of Queensland beyond Brisbane.

Image from Australian Museum

Rhoetosaurus brownei was one of Australia’s largest dinosaurs. It roamed that area of the world during the Lower Jurassic Period, but is known only from the single specimen discovered in Queensland. The dinosaur is named after A.J. Browne, the station manager who sent some of the creature’s bones to the Queensland Museum. Parts of the same individual dinosaur’s right hind leg were discovered as recently as 1976.

The 3D printed dinosaur represents one of a number of 3D printing projects supported by local councils in the area. Last April, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) and the Brisbane City Council launched Creat3d, a 3D printing hub designed to give small businesses a foothold in the 3D printing industry. “It will change the way the Brisbane business community utilizes technology and digital opportunities,” said Stephen Tait, CCIQ CEO.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Geoff wrote at 1/4/2016 12:54:22 PM:

"Right at the moment you can rout out of a large block of foam, a bone or an entire dinosaur and that's what we're working on at the moment," said Dr. Scott Hocknull. Not really 3D printed then...? Not at all, actually... so what is this article doing here??

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