3D printed T-Rex skull

The real skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex can be seen starting tomorrow at the natural history museum in Berlin. Tristan skeleton is 66 million years old. But the Dino got missed for the exhibition a skull from the digital present. From the 3D printer. Because the original is too heavy for the neck.

Tristan is dead. And that happen arround 66 million years ago. Tristan is one of the world’s best preserved bone scaffolding of a Tyrannosaurus rex. The dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period is a giant: around three and a half meters tall and stately twelve metres long. The teeth into his wide-open mouth reminiscent of Sabre. Tristan has been discovered only three years ago in the hell Creek formation in Montana in the United States.

Original skull had broken the neck of Tristan. Now 3D printed T-Rex skull will be used as replacement.

Tristan is the first and only skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus that is now displayed publicly in Europe. Thursday, December 17, 2015, presents the natural history museum in Berlin the huge animal. The skeleton of the Saurian consists of 157 individual bones, who arrived in July in Berlin. The Assembly of the skeleton showed: the giant skull with the jaws filled with teeth is much too heavy. If the researchers had mounted the original skull on the skeleton, that would break your neck may be poor Tristan.

“Our 3D printing is similar to the original on the hair”

Order to take no chances with the valuable fossil, the scientists took from the natural history museum help with the 3D-Labor at the Institute of mathematics of TU Berlin. Because there can be a slight copy of Tristan fearsome skull.

For the reproduction of 50 individual bones of the skull with Photogrammetry and CT scans were initially in the natural history museum and the Berlin Charité completely digitalized. Thus, the Cretaceous period Monster had arrived in modern times. “Our 3D printing is similar to the original on the hair”, says the mathematician Hartmut Schwandt, head of the 3D-Labors.

Printing 3d skull takes approximately 30 hours.

It was not possible to produce Tristan skull in an even pressure specialists of 3D-Labors. He’s just too big. So was printed in several steps. “However, we do not print, we ‘laser sintering’,” Joachim Weinhold, senior researcher in the 3D-Labor is correctly: “a layer by layer applied powder is a laser point merged. The entire process takes place at temperatures of 170 ° C and lasts up to 30 hours.”

Following the parts over several hours had to cool down, so that they do not deform. That’s why so many parts were accommodated as possible per process in the construction area of the printer. A real challenge for the 3D.

Printer Tetris for advanced users

The scan data of each bone in the space were arranged with software support, as much as possible to fit into. If it had to be the virtual bones were divided also into suitable pieces.

“It’s like the advanced version of the tetris game,” Walker said. The complete skull was mounted so that the bone for further investigation could be taken individually. T-Rex Tristan is now with the Laser-sintered skull on the neck in the natural history museum. And where is the real skull? The hard part is right next to it. In a display case.