Materialise builds 3D replica of King Tut’s mummy on Mammoth stereolithography machine... Read here how or watch the video
Materialise is well known in the industry as a leader for Additive Manufacturing solutions. When a replica of King Tut’s mummy needed to be built in an expedited fashion, who else but Materialise for the job!
New York City is the last stop of the exhibit’s U.S. tour and National Geographic, along with Arts and Exhibitions, wanted to add a new and exciting component. They decided that having a replica of King Tut would be just the thing to make the Discovery Times Square Exposition unique.
They commissioned Gary Staab, natural history and prehistoric model maker, of Staab Studios to recreate the mummy. All he needed was Materialise to get him started. Gary Staab had heard of Materialise’s software and knew that they could generate 3D files that could be printed on their Mammoth Additive Manufacturing machines. Knowing the time restraints, he was convinced that this method was the perfect starting point for making a replica that is identical to the real mummy.
The process began by importing CT scans of the Tutankhamun mummy into the Mimics software. This Materialise software created an exact 3D model of the actual mummy. From there, 3-matic software by Materialise hollowed the model. Hollowing was important because it reduced the amount of build material and made the final product lighter. In addition, hollow structures can be built faster, as the surface area of each layer is reduced. Now that the digital model was ready, the Materialise team used their Magics software for fixing the file. This ensured that the model was ‘watertight’; a crucial step for 3D printing.
Having been virtually transformed, King Tut came to life on Materialise’s Mammoth Stereolithography Machine. Stereolithography is a process that cures photosensitive resins by a laser that traces the part’s cross sectional geometry layer by layer. As the material is a liquid resin, it requires that the part is “supported” while being built. Materialise has a special software called e-Stage that automatically generates these supports to ensure a successful build. Once the model is built, the supports must be removed. This step, called post-processing, is much easier thanks to the small contact points of the supports generated with e-Stage.
From there, King Tut’s model journeyed overseas from Belgium to the Staab studio in Missouri. Once in the studio, Gary Staab added detail, colour, and texture to complete the replica and make it look identical to King Tut’s actual remains.