3D printing resurrects ancient Egyptian Tomb in Switzerland

Nov 15, 2017 | By Julia

An ancient Egyptian tomb has been ‘resurrected’ in Switzerland thanks to advancements in 3D  scanning and 3D printing technology. Once belonging to Pharaoh Seti I, one of the most important and lavish royals in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the 3,300-year-old sarcophagus now sits in 3D printed form in the Antikenmuseum Basel in northwestern Switzerland. It’s the first phase of an ambitious five-year project that will see the magnificent tomb recreated in its entirety, and installed on an Egyptian site not far from the original.

Digital conservationist company Factum Foundation spearheaded the initiative, led in no small part by founder Adam Lowe, a self-proclaimed ancient Egypt buff. Founded in 2009 in Madrid, Factum has since developed considerable expertise in 3D scanning and 3D printing heritage items and other works of art. Recreating the Seti tomb has long been an ambition of Lowe’s, who describes the ancient artefact as “the most important library of Pharaonic religion, philosophy, art, poetry and science; the source material for the three Abrahamic religions.”

He’s not wrong. First discovered in 1817 by Giovanni Belzoni, an Italian explorer, engineer, and circus strongman, Seti’s tomb — also known as Belzoni’s tomb — immediately captured the public’s attention as a window into an ancient civilization, and a wonder in and of itself. Yet history took its toll: improper excavations, extensive looting, and large-scale tourism left the tomb ravaged and in poor condition. Only Seti’s alabaster sarcophagus remained in situ.

Historically too heavy to steal, the ornate coffin became the starting point for Lowe and his team, who began work on the project back in 2016. Belzoni’s original 1817 watercolour paintings aided the Factum Foundation, along with preserved fragments housed in the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Over nearly two years of work, Lowe’s team was able to precisely recreate two of the tomb’s most lavish rooms, the Hall of Beauties and the adjacent Pillared Room.

Now, Antikenmuseum visitors can view the rooms as they currently stand — faded and vandalized — as well as in their dazzling 1817 form. The effect is awe-inspiring and mind-bending. Reports say that even experts have a hard time distinguishing the original displays from the 3D printed recreations.

According to Susanne Bickel, an Egyptologist at the University of Basel who specializes in Seti’s tomb, these types of ‘resurrections’ can be scientific and informed “without becoming Disneyland or kitsch.” In fact, Bickel says, a facsimile can sometimes show us more than the original. We’re just beginning to realize the potential of the new technology.

Lowe agrees wholeheartedly, asserting that facsimiles will continue to play a central role in future tourism and art conservation. The Factum Foundation is already banking on it: the team will resume scanning Seti’s original tomb in early 2018, picking up where they left off, and commencing work on the largest chamber, the crypt, complete with vaulted ceiling featuring astronomical decorations.

“Scanning Seti: The Regeneration of a Pharaonic Tomb” will remain on display at the Antikenmuseum in Basel until May 6, 2018.

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Nano Dimension Continues to Show Off DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer and Opens First Customer …

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One of the most talked-about 3D printers to be introduced over the past few years has been the DragonFly 2020, the electronic circuit board 3D printer. A thorough beta program allowed creator Nano Dimension to perfect the machine, and feedback from customers was highly positive as the beta program closed. Working with feedback from its many beta customers, Nano Dimension recently followed up with the DragonFly 2020 Pro, an industrial replacement of the original desktop machine that was designed in response to users’ real-world usage and requirements and is now commercially available.

Now that the DragonFly 2020 Pro is on the market, what’s next for Nano Dimension? Quite a bit, it seems. The company has announced its intentions to pursue ceramics 3D printing as well as bioprinting, and now Nano Dimension has officially opened a new Customer Experience Center, or CEC, at its headquarters in Ness Ziona, Israel. The DragonFly 2020 Pro will be featured at the CEC, with on-site 3D printing demonstrations and samples available for viewing.

The CEC will be operated by Nano Dimension technicians and engineers specializing in additive manufacturing and engineering. Companies that visit will receive personalized advice on how best to implement 3D printed electronics for certain applications.

“Companies that are engaged in computing and actuating hardware products are under pressure to speed up their concepts into market-ready products quickly, while meeting the need for small, faster and more functional electronics,” said Amit Dror, CEO of Nano Dimension. “We are making agile hardware development immediately accessible through our Customer Experience Center, which will serve as a one-stop shop for advanced additive manufacturing technology. For the first time, customers can leverage Nano Dimension’s expertise and experience the benefits of electrified additive manufacturing applications on site.”

The CEC in Ness Ziona is the first of several CECs that Nano Dimension has planned for across the world. The CEC offers the opportunity for visitors to not only see the DragonFly 2020 Pro in action and meet with Nano Dimension’s leadership team, but also to meet and work with company specialists who can “provide tailored advice to the specific needs of your company about the best way to implement 3D-printed electronics for specific applications and industry 4.0 preparedness.”

The DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D printer will be traveling, making its way to trade shows and allowing people to check out its capabilities. The original DragonFly 2020 has been a presence at many trade shows and industry events, but this is the first time many people will be seeing the Pro in person. Next week, the 3D printer will be on display at productronica, a trade show for electronics development and production, which is taking place in Munich from November 14th to the 17th.

Nano Dimension will be in Hall B2, Booth 201 at productronica, and visitors can stop by to see fully functional circuits 3D printed on the DragonFly 2020 Pro. The company will also be displaying its high performance inkjet materials for 3D printed electronics, including conductive and dielectric materials. Visitors to the booth can also check out Nano Dimension’s Switch software, which was developed for the DragonFly 2020 and offers users a great deal of design flexibility.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Images: Nano Dimension]

New method developed to 3D print fully functional electronic circuits

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have pioneered a breakthrough method to rapidly 3D print fully functional electronic circuits. 

The circuits, which contain electrically-conductive metallic inks and insulating polymeric inks, can now be produced in a single inkjet printing process where a UV light rapidly solidifies the inks.  

The breakthrough technique paves the way for the electronics manufacturing industry to produce fully functional components such as 3D antennae and fully printed sensors from multiple materials including metals and plastics.

The new method combines 2D printed electronics with Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing – which is based on layer-by-layer deposition of materials to create 3D products. This expands the impact of Multifunctional Additive Manufacturing (MFAM), which involves printing multiple materials in a single additive manufacturing system to create components that have broader functionalities. 

The new method overcomes some of the challenges in manufacturing fully functional devices that contain plastic and metal components in complex structures, where different methods are required to solidify each material. 
Existing systems typically use just one material which limits the functionality of the printed structures. Having two materials like a conductor and an insulator, expands the range of functions in electronics. For example, a wristband which includes a pressure sensor and wireless communication circuitry could be 3D printed and customised for the wearer in a single process. 

The breakthrough speeds up the solidification process of the conductive inks to less than a minute per layer. Previously, this process took much longer to be completed using conventional heat sources such as ovens and hot plates, making it impractical when hundreds of layers are needed to form an object. In addition, the production of electronic circuits and devices is limited by current manufacturing methods that restrict both the form and potentially the performance of these systems.

Professor Chris Tuck, Professor of Materials Engineering and lead investigator of the study, highlighted the potential of the breakthrough, ‘Being able to 3D print conductive and dielectric materials (electrical insulators) in a single structure with the high precision that inkjet printing offers, will enable the fabrication of fully customised electronic components. You don’t have to select standard values for capacitors when you design a circuit, you just set the value and the printer will produce the component for you.’

Professor Richard Hague, Director of the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) added, ’Printing fully functional devices that contain multiple materials in complex, 3D structures is now a reality. This breakthrough has significant potential to be the enabling manufacturing technique for 21st century products and devices that will have the potential to create a significant impact on both the industry and the public.’

How it works

Dr Ehab Saleh and members of the team from CfAM found that silver nanoparticles in conductive inks are capable of absorbing UV light efficiently. The absorbed UV energy is converted into heat, which evaporates the solvents of the conductive ink and fuses the silver nanoparticles. This process affects only the conductive ink and thus, does not damage any adjacent printed polymers. The researchers used the same compact, low cost LED-based UV light to convert polymeric inks into solids in the same printing process to form multi-material 3D structures. A video showing how the concept works is available here

With advancements in technology, inkjet printing can deposit of a wide range of functional inks with a spectrum of properties. It is used in biology, tissue bioprinting, multienzyme inkjet printing and various types of cell printing, where the ‘ink’ can comprise of living cells.

The breakthrough has established an underpinning technology which has potential for growth in academia and industry. The project has led to several collaborations to develop medical devices, radio frequency shielding surfaces and novel structures for harvesting solar energy.

— Ends —

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email mediahub@nottingham.ac.uk or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.

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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the top one per cent in the world. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students – Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia – part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner – locally and globally.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Ehab Saleh, Research Fellow, Centre for Additive Manufacturing, on  +44 (0)115 748 4615, Ehab.Saleh@nottingham.ac.uk or Shirlene Campbell Ritchie, Media Relations Manager on +44 (0)115 846 7156, shirlene.campbellritchie@nottingham.ac.uk 

BEYOND THE STACKS: Staying current with Tom Green Co. libraries

One of the wonderful things about libraries is that they are constantly changing and adapting to new technologies and ways of doing things.

If you haven’t been in the computer lab at Stephens Central Library lately, it’s looking very different. The screen and projector have been replaced by a high-definition television that provides a crisp, clear image — and the lights don’t have to be off — so students can clearly see their work spaces to make notes or read.

Also gone are the large PC’s that you had to look over or around. Now each student has a sleek laptop, and a generous work area.

Available classes include the basics, for those with little experience with computers or the internet, and more advanced classes, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher and Powerpoint are available. There is also Photoshop Elements and a 3D Design with Tinkercad class for printing on 3D printers.

The library has several resources for genealogists, including a subscription to Ancestry.com, so watch for Basic Genealogy classes, which will teach how to use the databases, in addition to the materials out in the stacks. This four-hour class is taught by a long-time genealogist with the local organization here in San Angelo.

There is no charge for any of these classes; however you do need to make a reservation by calling the main number, beginning the second Monday of the preceding month. 

If you haven’t heard, STEAM Central’s Discovery Nights are a great success! They are at 4:30 p.m. on first and third Tuesdays at Stephens Central. The theme for this Tuesday, Nov. 7, is “Blinded by Science.” If you’ve ever wanted to control someone else, this is your chance, and on the Nov. 21, the theme will be “Cut it Out.” Learn to use tools such as the laser cutter and die cutters to make and take Christmas ornaments.


November is National Novel Writing Month; NaNoWriMo, for short.

Teen Republic will have write-ins every Wednesday this month to help young writers get that 50,000 word novel done. They will work on proofing, reading, and encouraging each other to keep going.

The West Branch Library will host Barry Jackson, an Edward Jones Financial Advisor, at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17 as he presents “Foundations of Investing.” His 30-minute educational program is geared toward people who want an overview of investing, including key terms and types of investments. “Foundations of Investing” covers the basic features of bonds, stocks, and packaged investments, and the importance of asset allocation.

Tom Green Co. libraries will be closed three weekdays this November.

On Friday Nov. 10, all County offices will close in observance of Veterans Day, and again on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-25 for Thanksgiving, and remain closed Saturday following the holiday.

Go to www.tgclibrary.com for more information about these and other library events, and also to download audio and e-books, use Lynda.com, learn a language and also for library account care such as renewing books, viewing your saved lists or to check which books you have read. Stay current at your library!


Marcy Bosequett is the community relations coordinator for the Tom Green County Library.


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Robo 3D printing technology helps in ensuring safety of young cyclists through SureStop braking …

GuardianBikes, a company aiming to make people safer while riding their bicycles, has harnessed Robo 3D’s 3D printing technology to iterate concepts for its SureStop braking technology.

SureStop is a tiered, one-lever component braking system first introduced in 2013 on adult bikes. It works by the rider squeezing the lever for the rear brake and seeing the force from that rear wheel actuating the front one.

The company was inspired to develop SureStop after co-founder, Brian Riley’s grandfather was involved in a ‘head-over-handlebars’ accident in which he broke several vertebrae in his neck. After getting the company, and the SureStop concept off the ground and onto bikes, Riley and his colleagues noticed an industry-wide oversight with regards to the safety of child cyclists.

In the interim, after setting about the development of SureStop in 2009, he was relying on traditional machining and prototyping processes to bring to life his idea. At the time, consumer 3D printing wasn’t an affordable option. Fast forward a few years and as GuardianBikes aimed their focus at children cyclists, the company was able to integrate Robo’s R1+, C2 and R2 3D printing systems into its workflow. It would mean some significant time-savings.

When first achieving the SureStop technology, GuardianBikes found prototyping iterations would take too long and be expensive. The team had to factor in material preparation, making fixtures, and programming the CNC machine: “We finally developed a market-ready product, but it took us several years and probably 50 different product iterations,” Riley said. “This whole process would have gone much faster if 3D printing was where it is today.”

Though it took a while, SureStop was delivered to market and being implemented on wide range of bicycles in multiple nations. The fact it was being used on many different kinds of bikes, coupled with the time and cost of their existing production methods, saw GuardianBikes begin researching 3D printing as a viable option. They decided on the Robo set of printers, which would allow them to speed up their workflow and create integration solutions for a wider range of bicycles.

“Robo printers really helped us take the concept of our technology off the design software platform we use and begin working it as a physical object within one day,” Riley added. “We could make our print and immediately throw it on the bike to actually see how it worked and fit.”

The incorporation of 3D printing would take prototyping from a two-week-long endeavour to one that could be designed, printed, tried, and tested within a single working day. Previously with traditional methods, not only would it take a number of weeks, but it would also cost around $800 per part. With 3D printing, that was reduced to less than $20 per part.

“3D printing really gets you thinking about so many other touchpoints of a product’s functionality once you’ve physically made something you’ve been thinking about,” Riley assessed. “There’s so much more that I love about it – that speed of taking an idea and iterating out problems to create something that actually works, and how it allows you to devise concepts quickly and make product improvements in a matter of days instead of months.

“As the machines evolve, things keep getting better and better. With Robo C2 and Robo R2, anyone in the company can use them and quickly get up to speed with how they work, even if they don’t have experience with 3D printing. You pretty much hit print, the machine runs and you come back a couple of hours later to find your part sitting there.”

With GuardianBikes now boasting a more efficient workflow, thanks to the adoption of Robo 3D printing as a rapid prototyping tool, the company is seeing its SureStop technology adopted worldwide. For many children, it means their safety is greater protected while riding their bike, and for Robo, it brings the company a level of pride.

“When we started this company years ago, developing our first 3D printers, we knew it was a tool that was going to be used in a number of impactful ways,” said Braydon Moreno, co-founder of Robo3D. “To see Brian and the team at GuardianBikes 3D printing prototypes of their SureStop technology, putting them on kids’ bikes all over the world and helping with kids’ safety, is extremely inspiring. It’s amazing, and we couldn’t be more proud to represent a company like this.”