When it comes to articulating life-sized skeletons, such as whales, for display or study there is one common obstacle, missing pieces.
However, the Camosun College Innovates Lab is working with Cetacea Contracting in order to piece the missing links of history back together.
“What we do first is take the bones and hollow them out in order to be able to print them,” says Kai Anderson, a former student at Camosun College.
No major digs or huge expeditions here as 3D printing is creating these scientifically accurate displays.
The president of Cetacea Contracting, Mike deRoos says the technology and expertise at Camosun Innovates has really advanced their work.
“They really had the expertise with the very specialized equipment for scanning, manipulating the scan data, and then the 3D printing.”
Cetacea Contracting Ltd, based on Salt Spring Island, are leading experts in the articulation and display of mammal skeletons.
They discovered Camosun Innovates when searching for local 3D scanning and printing options, and have collaborated to devise a faster and cheaper solution than previous methods.
This technology is not used just for exhibits on the Island, but around the world.
“We’ve done everything from working with them on the scanning of existing bones, constructing of missing bones, to the printing of bones, to collaborating on the armature that goes around the whale skeletons when they’re displayed,” says Dr. Richard Gale, Director of Camosun Innovates.
Each creature takes anywhere from six to nine months, depending on its size.
The latest project is with the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North, to recreate missing parts of a bowhead whale that is being prepared for future public display.