Bring The Smithsonian Home With 3D Printing

If you’ve ever been to Washington DC, you know the Smithsonian isn’t just a building, instead it’s a collection of 19 museums, 21 libraries, 9 research centers, and a zoo. Even though there are hundreds of affiliated museums, there is a way to bring at least some of the museum to you. The Smithsonian has a 3D digitization portal that currently features 124 models of items from the collection. Almost 100 of them have models you can download and print — or have someone print for you.

Printing yourself is probably the most cost-effective option if you already have a printer. According to the Smithsonian, if you want a 1/20th scale model of a T. Rex cranium, Shapeways will do it for about $21. If you want a 9-inch version of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, that would go for $130 or so.

Some of the models are pretty intricate. The Apollo 11 hatch door, for example, has quite a few details. The models range from space, to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, to a model of the remnants of a supernova. There are models of the gunboat Philadelphia and a blue crab, too.

Of course, you might need to scale and support the models for printing. We also suspect many of them will look better in exotic filaments or printed. For example, the Funerary Relief Bust of Haliphat would probably benefit from some stone- or marble-like filament.

We followed project Egress, but had no idea there were so many printable models provided by the Smithsonian. If you are really wanting NASA models, you can always hit up NASA itself.

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