Full Colour 3D printing brings Marine life ALIVE!
Our CEO, Dr Conor MacCormack, has often talked about the real value of using 3D printing in education and this becomes all the more relevant when you are trying to convey cutting edge research and explain complex 3D models via 2D presentation screens. Many people struggle with 3D object visualisation, or understand the concept of dimensional realisation, which can complicate the education process. When it comes to teaching students about marine life you cannot bring them under the sea, or convey the size and shape of marine animals via a 2D screen. So that is why we recently collaborated with UCD on 3D printing real life replicas of marine life in order to improve the education at the University.
As part of this collaborative work between the Schools of Engineering and Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences, led by Dr. Emmanuel Reynaud, Dr. Shane Keaveney, and Mr. Colin Keogh, the project team approached Mcor about printing models of their education models to improve student interaction with the content. “Students had a hard time visualising the animals in 3 dimensional space, when they could only see 2D images of them. To improve the educational experience, we needed the students to be able to hold a physical copy of the animal, but we required the models to be in full colour. Mcor technologies allowed us to produce the physical copies”, said Colin.
UCD is one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities over an extensive range of disciplines and in multidisciplinary research programmes addressing many global challenges.
The UCD research team provided Mcor with the full colour 3D files of the crab and coral, which were generated using laser scanning technologies. The scans were generated using a photogrammetry process utilising a standard Canon 40D Reflex DSLR camera fitted with a macro dedicated 100mm lens to capture the visual images. Two separate sets of images were captured 360 degrees around the specimens, with the first image set included an encircling ground view of the specimen and 20–35 overlapping, successive images. Images were transferred to an Intel Quad Core 2.8 GHz computer with 64 GB RAM and batch-edited in Photoshop CS5 Bridge (Adobe Systems) to enhance contrast, correct light curves and sharpen. The captured image files were processed using the 3D modelling and design software 123D Catch. The model was exported at maximum quality as a Wavefront object and imported into Meshmixer for model repair.
Mcor’s ability to print in full photorealistic colour on models like these, adds the detail required for effective education when compared to a mono-colour 3D prints. These models are truly brought to life, producing replicas which may easily be confused for real living animals.
“Mcor Technologies full colour 3d printing allowed us to replicate our models like no one else. The finish and range of colours was amazing, and helped bring our models to life. Our research has definitely come to life after using Mcor technologies printers,” said Colin Keogh, University College Dublin.
We are happy to say that the technical requirements of the research groups were met by Mcor’s printing systems, making them the perfect choice to produce these replicas, in full colour. The low costs (10-20% the cost of any other 3D printing technology) high quality prints produced by our printers are much more cost effective than other printing systems, something of vital importance for the education sector. Other benefits include the durability and stability of the models as it is important that they don’t get easily damaged in service. Mcor’s unique colour technology is very suitable for printing biological pieces like these, which can be used for improving research or enhancing education in the classroom. According to UCD, a huge amount of time and money can be saved on producing educational models when printing on a Mcor 3D printer.
3D models like the Crab and Coral prints can also be used as a tool to stimulate hands on learning and discussion in groups of students, allowing the students to better understand the dimensional, colour, and structural specifics of the animal, by allowing them to touch, hold, and rotate the model in their hands. This allows them to understand, visualise, and learn from the model in three dimensional space.
3D printing is an extremely useful method for producing full colour prints of this nature and Mcor’s unique technology makes it more accessible to Universities and Research groups wishing to bring their research & educational activities to the next level.