Egyptian artifacts discovered in the Valley of the Kings have
been faithfully recreated by 3D printing at Fab Lab Warrington. A
series of canopic jars, used to preserve organs for the
afterlife, and other ancients objects were made as part of a
festival held by the BBC that saw museums up and down the
country come to life with new, interactive exhibits.
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Fab Lab Warrington is unique in the sense that it is the
only UK Fab Lab based in a school for 11 – 16 year old pupils.
Founded in 2016, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) and the UK’s Manufacturing
Institute, the lab’s aims are to create community
engagement in STEM subjects and teach valuable skills to
students of the school.
Team members of the lab are encouraged to develop their own
projects to explore the lab’s facilities. They also take on
external projects, such as this one in collaboration with a
museum in the North West of England.
Facilities at Fab Lab Warrington include FFF/FDM 3D printers
from Maker Bot and Raise 3D, a CNC machine, laser cutter,
casting bay, Phantom 4/Parrot Mambo drones, sewing machines and
Take home a piece of Egypt
Fab Lab Warrington was contacted by the
Touchstones Museum in Rochdale to become part of project
for the BBC’s Civilisations
festival, which was launched in celebration of the release of
the channel’s art history series of the same name.
Touchstones has a permanent collection of Ancient Egyptian
monuments and artifacts. To give visitors a hands-on experience
of this collection, Fab Lab Warrington 3D printed tactile
replicas of the objects.
3D printed Canopic jars were given away as souvenirs during the
Civilisations festival, and the museum has invited Fab Lab
Warrington to work on future outreach projects.
Transforming museum collections
Lee Robert McStein, a digital heritage consultant for
non–profit organization Monument Men, helped to
create accurate 3D models of Touchstones’ artifacts based on 3D
scans and photogrammetry. During the festival McStein also
worked with the British Museum to share its Egyptian collection
– the largest of its kind outside of Egypt itself.
The Rosetta Stone, undoubtedly the most famous piece in the
British Museum’s collection, recently caused a stir in the 3D
community when it was digitally recreated “for the first time.”
The museum is also working closely with 3D cultural
heritage service provider ThinkSee3D Ltd. that
detailed reconstructions of select pieces in the
The Other Nefertiti, by Nikolai Nelles and Nora
Al-Badri, is also one of the most famous, and controversial,
arts and heritage applications of 3D scanning and 3D printing
For many museums, 3D models and open-source sharing are key
pillars for staying relevant in a digital age.
We discussed the importance of art’s digitization in an
exclusive interview with Jonathan Beck, manager and
founder of Scan the World.
Museum in a Box is also a big advocate for the sharing of
museum collections, and has thus far worked with over 20
museums to create bespoke, interactive tokens for visitors. We
interviewed the Museum in a Box team to learn more.
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Featured image shows a miniature, 3D printed, canopic
jar in front of the real deal at Touchstones Museum. Photo via
Fab Lab Warrington/Warrington Guardian