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3D printing a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton with Ultimaker 3D Printers
Ultimaker, the leading open source 3D printer manufacturer, is supporting the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, a national natural history museum and research center, to add missing bones to the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur found in Montana. Naturalis explores biodiversity for human wellbeing and the future of the planet. In September 2016 the real T. rex skeleton will be on display in the museum. A few missing parts are printed by the Ultimaker 3D printer.
Our story starts over 66 million years ago when one of the top predators of the Cretaceous period, sadly died. Its remains travelled through time to be excavated by Naturalis millions of years later in Montana, 2013. Even though the T. rex skeleton was incredibly well preserved, there were a few missing parts – amongst them the left leg. This is not unusual, as when a dinosaur dies, a lot of other animals would scavenge the carcasse, or some parts would just get lost over time.
To help complete the missing parts of the 13 meter long T. rex skeleton, Naturalis turned to 3D printing for some elements. Thanks to the incredible accuracy and flexibility of the Ultimaker 2+, the monumental skeleton will be restored in even greater detail than initially anticipated. In fact, as they are so realistic, the printed parts will be painted a slightly different colour to make sure there’s no confusion telling the real bones from the 3D printed ones.