One of 3D printing's most whimsical promises---and this is a technology whose promise, at this point, is mostly whimsical
---is the ability to copy and riff on nearly any physical object. Last week, that promise, as far as a handful of famous sculptures is concerned, became a reality: a group of 3D printing enthusiasts from the MakerBot community visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York City and scanned 34 sculptures with 3D capture software
loaded on their phones, while Met curators guided them through the galleries. The scans were then converted into blue prints that people with 3D printers can use to make their own tiny copies or to make their own works of art. People have already begun to print their own, like the bust of Marsyas above, and post their photos on Thingiverse
, MakerBot's social database of designs. You can see all of the sculptures and their digital files here
Reclining Naiad, by Antonio Canova (Italian, Possagno 1757–1822 Venice). Copy of Reclining Naiad, made by Bradpokey.