From the 7th of February to the 20th of September, Cap Sciences has organised “Fouille, farfouille. Aventure-toi dans le temps !”. Like real scientists, 3-6 years old children will discover how archaeologists work and have to find out buried objects – all reproduced thanks to 3D printing.
Cap Sciences is an association based in south of France with the goal of sharing scientific culture to the public. This time, they want to awake the vocation for archeology to the youngest in a playful way. Children will discover archeology by searching and finding artifacts themselves.
The issue with real artifacts is that they should not be handled by the public, especially children. They are fragile objects that could even be dangerous (like ancient knives) for the youngest. That is the reason why they needed to be reproduced and adapted for this particular public. Cap Science wanted to use an innovative technology for the reproduction of the artifacts: the partnership with Sculpteo was born. As partner, we helped to make this project come true by advising, 3D printing the artifacts and being mecenes.
About 40 real artifacts (made of ceramic, metal, bones, stone, etc.) have been reproduced through photogrammetry and 3D printed. The 3D modeling was an important and uneasy step to achieve. Thanks to Henry Elophe, a researcher in the filed of 3D and a passionate of photogrammetry, thousands of pictures were taken in order to make realistic artifacts with precise details. A lot of time and energy was spent to improve the objects so they could be handled easily by children, and yet convey all their archeological meaning. Our engineers recommended to use a plastic material, covered with a food varnish. This was decided for security issues, in case the children would try to “taste” the 3D printed objects!
3D printing was an appropriate technology for this kind of project: it was perfect to make quickly and with a less cost artifacts especially conceived for children. Furthermore, 3D printed artifacts are great mediation supports of science: thanks to this exhibition, children can also discover the 3D printing technology. Therefore, Cap Science was especially pleased to have the opportunity to integrate an innovative manufacturing process into one of its events. For sure, Cap Sciences will use more and more 3D printing because this technologies allows a wisden range of applications: from reproduction of precious or complicated objects to the creation of prototypes.