Antiquity is going high-tech

For fifteen years the team from the Egyptian Museum in Berlin dug in the Sudanese desert and restored historically valuable items. The exhibition "Naga City of Kings" at the Kunstforum of the Berliner Volksbank Foundation now presents the impressive results of this work. Visitors can even glimpse an actual model of the famous Hathor Chapel, which was produced by voxeljet using the 3D printing method.

As a first step, the remaining parts of the Hathor chapel had to be scanned so that the temple restoration project could be tested on a virtual model in advance. Not an everyday project, explains Dipl. Ing. Thomas Bauer of Trigonart, a Berlin scanning specialist: "We used high-precision 3D stripe light scanning in the Sudanese desert and worked for three weeks to fully compile the entire chapel. We went back to Berlin with 2,500 individual scans and approximately 1.5 billion of recorded image points." 

The resulting computer model offered the archaeologists an opportunity to disassemble the building into its structures right on the computer monitor and develop the appropriate measures to save the building, which was at risk of collapsing.

The exhibition in Berlin, which ends on 18 December 2011, required a real model of the restored Hathor Chapel. The model was created at Europe's largest service centre at voxeljet in Augsburg. "I must admit – the request to print a historic temple was not something we see every day. But once we obtained all the information from Trigonart and analysed the existing data material, we thought that it would be quite possible to implement the project at the requested quality," says Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet AG. 

Once the CAD data for the temple model were available, we moved directly to a 3D VX800 high-performance printer. It is here that we created the plastic model of the Hathor Chapel (481 x 825 x 584 millimetres), at a scale of 1:10. “The richness of detail in our scans finds its full expression in the plastic model. Another advantage is the mechanical stability of the model, which promises a long service life," says Markus Praus from Trigonart.

Image source: Trigonart

Technical data

Total size   392 x 288 x 282 mm
Weight 4 kg
Individual pieces1
Material PMMA
Layer thickness  0,15 mm
Lead time 5 days
Build time 16 hours