This year the American Museum of Natural History offered a two week camp called Capturing Dinosaurs: Reconstructing Extinct Species through Digital Fabrication. The high school students attending the camp got to use cutting-edge technology to scan dinosaur bones, digitally reconstruct them and then print a replica of their project.

The kids attending the camp were not required to have any previous experience in 3D printing, scanning or CAD. Everything they needed to know was taught as part of the course curriculum. The museum provided the students with sets of raw fossils and challenged them to process and identify which dinosaur they belong to as well as how the fossils fit together.

To begin the process the students chose the fossils they wanted to work with and used a Smartphone app called 123D Catch from AutoDesk to scan them. Most of the fossils were in less-than-pristine condition, so the next step was for the students to digitally reconstruct and fill in the scans.

Using 123D Catch to scan the fossils

The students then used Tinkercad and Makerware to prep their project for printing. A MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer was on hand to print out the reconstructed skeletons.

Finally, the campers spent some time figuring out where each bone needed to go and glued them together. The end result of the process was a 3D printed mini-dinosaur skeleton that each camper got to take home with them.

This happy camper is making a blue dinosaur