3D Printable Tablet Replications Ready For Download

The idea has been around for some time but now you can download your own printable 3D replications of clay tablets from Cornell’s Creative Machines Lab. All you need is a powder-based ink-jet printer, preferably the ZCorp ZPrinter 650.

This project started as a collaboration between Professors Hod Lipson and David I. Owen. Owen, the Bernard and Jane Schapiro Professor of Ancient Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, is the curator of Cornell’s collection of nearly 10,000 cuneiform tablets from ancient Mesopotamia. Read more about Cornell’s tablet collection at http://cuneiform.library.cornell.edu/. Owen and Lipson had the idea of implementing 3D scanning and 3D printing technology to create physical replicas of the tablets that look and feel almost exactly like the originals.

They currently have three tablets from which to select. But more are on the way. I believe that this technology will become part of standard practice in the publication tablets and many other geometrically complex artifacts.
A paper on the project by Lipson and Owen along with Ryan Wolff is available online.
PS: While Lipson and Owen seem to have added to the technology and may have arrived at the idea independently, they were not the first to do this. A team at Pisa University’s Assyriology Department has been doing this for some time and I’m not sure they were the first.
Via Archaeologica