We explored the 3D printing implications in science, art, engineering and design. Many projects revealed how we can use the 3D printing technology to solve existing problems faced by the traditional industrial process such as the affordability, cost and availability.
The education is one of the unexplored fields in this context. Can we use the 3D printing in the education process as a new teaching method? Nils Anderssen is a Norwegian teacher who uses the 3D printing technology to create 6th century sword. Nils started by creating simple replica for the ancient Norwegian history, which get the attention of the National Museum of Arts in Norway. The museum asked him to create 3D printed replica of the Snartemo sword, which was part of the Northern European history during the period of 4th to 6th centuries.
The museum aimed to provide a life preview for the visitors. Instead of seeing the sword through the glasses, they can touch an hold it and simulate how the ancient Norwegian used it.
Using photos of the sword, Nils created 3D models that look exactly like the original sword using 3D Studio Max application. In his website, he said that using 3D Studio Max allowed him to have more control over the thickness and avoid 3D printing problems. he described working on the software: “I suggest that when trying to learn the software, only focus on the bits you need to use and ignore the rest. When you become comfortable with the tools, expand and experiment with the other features bit by bit.”
While the first D printed model was made out of plastic, it was not the same weight or feeling of the original sword. So, Nils 3D printed the sword using Bronze material from i.Materilise service. The result was stunning and very close to the original sword.
This experience opens the doors for similar project. I a previous article, we explored 3D Printing Egyptian King Tut’s Tomb to Safe the Original as another application for the 3D printing technology. Nils project allows museums to create 3D printed replica from its original parts to help students and young learners to understand more about their history by holding, touching and even trying it.
While the 3D printing using metal or bronze materials is still very expensive, the learning outcome can be fascinating. The museums will turn to an interactive experience rather than just a place to see things and taking photos for it. Developing materials such as the 3D composite filament can help reducing the cost of the metal 3D printing, which will subsequently gives more opportunity using this technology in education.