It’s certainly an odd thing to get excited about, but 3D printing a replica of a Saber-Toothed Cat which has been extinct for over 11,000 years is very cool!
3D printing for archaeology is a huge area, and one that I think particularly benefits schools – having access to files like this can really bring to life the past and engage students in learning like never before. This particular file is available for free from Thingiverse (click here to get the files).
I’ll admit it wasn’t all smooth sailing with this print, I ran into problems with the skull failing numerous times and have had to perform some maintenance on my Up! Plus 2 to stop layers ‘slipping’ during printing. You can read how I fixed the problem in a previous post. I also came across a problem with the recommended print orientation of the large skull; because it is only attached to the print plate by a small amount of plastic to minimise the need for support material, as the print gets taller it also begins to flex and shake. It’s like a tall skyscraper in the wind, with the top swaying from side-to-side. I think this is responsible for some of the problems as well, with the print nozzle colliding with the print and causing all sorts of failures.
To solve this I had to rotate the skull into a normal sitting position as pictured in the time-lapse photos below, and allow there to be a bit more support material. Obviously this solved the problems I was having, and there really wasn’t too much support to remove. The only thing I’d love to see is a separate jaw piece which could hook/snap into the skull and provide a life-like hinging motion! But really happy with this one 🙂
– Posted by James Novak