3D Scanning & Printing at Athabasca University

Last week, I drove 5 hours north of Calgary, Alberta, to visit the main campus of Athabasca University in Athabasca, Alberta. I was there for 2 purposes: (1) to visit the campus for the first time, and (2) more importantly, to test out AUs new 3D scanner and printer.

While in Athabasca, I met up with Colin Elliot in our Library Services department. Colin taught me how to use the NextEngine 3D Laser Scanner to scan a few different types of artifacts; for example, we scanned one of the body sherds from Alabama that we will be subjecting to petrographic analysis later this year. We are currently in the process of scanning some of our obsidian pieces, which require a dusting of special, removable powder in order for the scanner to properly detect the glassy surface (obviously something you would want to consider only after any residue testing you might be considering). We also printed off some of the scanned items using the 3D printer.

This was a test run prior to purchasing a scanner to be used by SCRAP in Belize next season. There we will be able to produce scans of  items that we do not wish to / need to / cannot export. These scans will be used for the purpose of research, public outreach, as well as teaching tools in the AU Virtual Archaeology Lab. I will post some of the scans as soon as we are done converting them into manipulable PDFs. Cheers! Meaghan


Scanning the sherd


Cropping the images


Matching up the individual scans


Printing the object


The printed product

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 1.02.53 PM

3D model on Sketchfab