Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printing the President for Posterity: Mcor Shows the Smithsonian How it’s Really Done

ST Medical Devices

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powerof10_v42-e1433436607841As President Obama himself has lauded 3D printing as a positive technology that will indeed be a catalyst for change in manufacturing, certainly portraying him in that medium for posterity–amongst so many others–is a perfect fit. But all 3D printed models are not created equally–something we see on a daily basis–and a point that Mcor Technologies not only opined upon but took action to make clear. After all, this is the leader of the free world we are depicting. With all the hoopla surrounding the 3D printing project that the Smithsonian undertook in making a 3D printed bust of President Obama, the Mcor team took note, as well as making immediate notes on how they would improve the model.

Smithsonian-3D-printed-Obama-Portrait-11-218x300The original project was inspired by the historical tradition of commemorating presidents as authentically as possible. The Smithsonian team pointed out how they used the Lincoln Life Mask as the idea for what they wanted, but quickly decided to take on the challenging of 3D scanning and 3D printing the likeness of Obama. With the idea being to connect the people to their president, the Smithsonian team had the president sit for a quick 3D scan and then they proceeded to put his facial and torso details into 3D print through the Smithsonian 3D Digitization program.

As the world watched, duly impressed with this first 3D printed model of the president, the Mcor team watched too, knowing they could do much, much better.

“It was lauded as the 21st Century means to produce a bust for the official National Portrait Gallery collection faster and easier than the traditional plaster casting techniques used to capture the likenesses of previous US presidents,” stated the Mcor team in a recent blog. “While the comparison between plaster casting and the 3D printing technology used is true, the team didn’t realize that they were using the wrong type of 3D printing technology for producing human likenesses, sort of like using a flat head screw driver to screw in a Phillps head screw.”

With that being said, Mcor went to work at showing off exactly what they meant with an extremely realistic, full color 3D print of President Obama that as they were quick to point out shows far more detail, shading, and effect than the stark white print. Not only does the 3D print from Mcor look far more impressive, it’s more affordable to produce, and even more eco-friendly.

UntitledWhile the company, founded in 2004 by brothers Conor and Fintan MacCormack, is originally based out of Ireland, they put some time and effort into showing the US how to depict one of the most powerful men–and recognized faces–in the world, in 3D. And all with paper.

We’ve followed this company as their Mcor 3D printing equipment and technology has been used to make everything from a 3D printed bust of a Cambodian king to 3D printed volcanoes to creating new processes and finishes as well as new resources with color–all as they use standard copy paper to produce amazing 3D models. Used by professionals like architects and engineers, designers, schools, and entrepreneurs and small businesses, their printers lay down layer after layer of paper until a model is complete, resulting also in a piece that is completely recyclable and eco-friendly.

While certainly everyone has an enormous amount of respect for what the Smithsonian does in terms of researching, collecting, and curating, they can definitely take a few tips on 3D printing from Mcor–as we all can. Undeniably, their 3D printed version of President Obama shows off exactly why 3D printing is worth being talked about by world leaders in speeches–and exactly how it may be responsible for a third revolution indeed.

What do you think of this President Obama Bust?  Let us know in the Mcor Obama forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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