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Naturalis Biodiversity Center Museum Completes T. Rex Skeleton with Ultimaker 3D Printer

Friday, April 01, 2016

Press release from the issuing company

Missing Pieces of T. rex Found in Montana are being 3D Printed to Complete Skeleton for Museum Display in the Netherlands 

AMSTERDAM – 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. 

The 13 meter long adult T. rex female was found in 2013 in Montana. While about half of the bones found are extremely well preserved and intact, the skeletal feet, left leg and arms bones are missing. 

The T. rex fossil is now being prepared for its arrival to the museum. Recreating the missing bones with an Ultimaker 3D printer is an essential part of this preparation. Before Ultimaker’s 3D printing technology, this process was previously done by molding missing parts out of styrofoam which was a very time consuming, difficult process. To create more accurate models of the missing bones, Naturalis has scanned the existing bones and is using an Ultimaker 3D printer to print 3D models of the bones. 

“We are very excited that Naturalis Biodiversity Center is using an Ultimaker for this project,” says Siert Wijnia, CTO and founder of Ultimaker. “Ultimaker 3D printers offer an easy and accurate way to create seamless replicas of the bones, helping to visualize the missing bones of the T. rex.” 

Due to Ultimaker’s high quality of print results, Naturalis will be able to use the 3D printed bone models next to the authentic bones to create a complete T. rex fossil. The artificial 3D printed bones will be painted a slightly different color than the authentic bones so museum visitors can see the difference. Once the skeleton is complete, Naturalis will be able to share the full story of the specimen in the museum’s dinosaur exhibition including the T. rex’s age, geological setting and paleopathology.

Once the skeleton has taken center stage at Naturalis, Ultimaker will host a how-to-print guide for some of the bones and share the actual STL files used by the museum so 3D printing enthusiasts can print the exact T. rexreplica bones themselves.


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