Tristan 3D printing

So, you’ve all been faithfully following this place in the hope of catching an early glimpse of the greatest T. rex to ever grace a European museum? A preview that shows a tiny bit of the majestic bones? Or maybe a few terse comments on the bones, their preservation or the number of them preserved? Maybe you’ve seen photos on Facebook of some 3D prints of individual skull bones of Tristan?

Well, today I can do a bit better than that. This is exactly the theropod you are looking for!


Well OK, this is a 1:10 scale selective laser sintering copy of the photogrammetric files I made of all the skull bones, with a handful of CT-based files thrown in: the missing bones that were added as hand-crafted models and the bones that do far didn’t work out as photogrammetry. There’s very little CT in this, because the skull is quite complete, and because I’ve gotten quite good at photogrammetry of even the most insidious objects. I’ve had some important help with the latter, too – from Uwe Moldrzyk, the head of the MfN’s exhibition team found out about cylcododecane spray for me (it makes a non-glossy cover and evaporated off, slowly enough for photogrammetry), and especially from Matteo Belevedere, who spent many a day shooting the hell outta Tristan with me. Many thanks to you two! 🙂


In fact, the real skull is even better than this 3D print, because there are two teeth missing in the model that are present as fossils, but weren’t attached to the maxilla when I took the photos that led to this model. So it is now time to get all excited!

I have posted and will post more about the difficulties of photogrammetrizing such difficult objects – black, shiny, and with complex shapes, but obviously there is much more to say about Tristan than just the technical aspects of scanning. How did the skull bones fit together (and how did I mount them)? How complete is the skull, and the postcranium, and in what state are the individual bones? Can’t say much today, but I can promise that my colleague Daniela Schwarz will be very busy producing an anatomical description, and my colleague Oliver Hampe is taking a very close look at a bunch of pathologies.

For now, I’ll end this teaser with a photo that is part of my digitizing effort, in which you can see nicely how the cyclododecan spray helps creating photogrammetrizable surface properties.



About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy
This entry was posted in Digitizing, Dinopics, Dinosaur models, Dinosauria, MfN Berlin, photogrammetry, Theropoda, Tristan, Tyrannosauridae, Tyrannosaurus. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tristan 3D printing

  1. Serjoscha Evers says:

    Very nice Heinrich! Thanks for sharing. Is it possible to know a little more about the pathologies (what kind/which elements), or is that secret until the publication comes forth?

  2. Chase says:

    That’s a really pretty model, and I am sure the actual bones are ten times as nice. Are you guys still doing prep work on Tristan? If so, how’s it going?

  3. jrabdale says:

    This is absolutely amazing. I WANT ONE!!!

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