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Tomorrow Today

The science of art - copying sculptures with a 3D printer

Berlin’s museums have been in the business of making replicas of their sculptures and reliefs for nearly two hundred years. They are made at a plaster casting workshop in the German capital. The real challenge for the casters comes when delicate artworks need to be reproduced.

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They are made at a plaster casting workshop in the German capital. The real challenge for the casters comes when delicate artworks need to be reproduced. Some are too fragile to be subjected to the normal processes involved in making a mould. That’s where scientists and technicians from Berlin’s Technical University come in. They’ve devised with a process that uses a remote scanner and 3D-printer to create a replica from which a casting mould can be made. They have used their technique to make a replica of a wooden statuette from the Egyptian Museum that’s more than three-and-a-half thousand years old.