Full Colour 3D printing Helping to Bring Marine Life Alive
“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.”
– Colin Keogh, University College Dublin.
Conveying cutting edge research is challenging, made even harder when trying to display complex 3D models on 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. Hands on experience improves the educational experience, but you need something to put in people’s hands to allow this to happen.
Mcor, in collaboration with researchers at University College Dublin, 3D printed real life replicas of marine 3D models, 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”. Says Colin.
UCD is one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities, creating an environment where undergraduate education, masters and PhD training, research, innovation and community engagement form a dynamic mix of activity. Research and innovation are essential drivers of a dynamic economy, an informed society and a vibrant culture. To aid in this the spectrum of research and innovation at UCD encompasses individual scholars, small, medium and large research groups, start-up companies and large-scale collaborations with industry and other partners. Research is conducted within each of the University’s extensive range of disciplines, and in multidisciplinary research programmes addressing challenges of global scale. The range of scope of educational and research opportunities offers huge potential for advanced 3D printing in all fields, with new applications being developed every day.
The UCD research team provided Mcor with the full colour 3D models 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.
MCors ability to print in full photorealistic colour on models like these, adds the details required for effective education when compared to a mono-colour 3D prints. The models are truly brought to life, producing replicas which may be confused for real living animals.
3D printing helps educate the next generation
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 high quality prints produced by Mcor’s printers are much more cost effective than other printing systems, a vital concern for the education sector. Mcor’s 3D printers produce durable and stable physical 3D models from paper at 10-20% the cost of any other 3D printing technology, which is a huge benefit when printing many educational samples as these can be damaged in service. Mcor’s unique technology is very suitable for printing biological pieces like these, which can be used for improving research or enhancing education in the classroom. 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 for the model in 3 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 by providing a low-cost full colour solution.