3D Services from ThinkSee3D

“Thinksee3D were very good to work with and always clear about their processes, timescales and costs. I’m very happy with the quality of the finished Ichthyosaur paddle which looks indistinguishable from the original”

Luanne Meehitiya, Natural Science Curator, BMT

ThinkSee3D can undertake 3d projects that can combine 3d scanning, modelling, digital restoration and 3d printing.   We can also advise clients involved in public engagement projects on what can be achieved using 3d technology.  

3d digital and 3d printed models and replicas

We have produced hundreds of 3d digital and 3d printed models for our clients including accurate museum replicas, ecological models and missing bones for palaeontology and natural history reconstructions and even conference gifts.  

Our 3d printing services include full colour photo textured 3d prints in a gypsum/acrylic material, where the photo-texturing preserves much of the original surface detail and decoration.  

To make more believable models we have developed our own 3d printing post processes and surface treatments which give better simulations of bone, ceramic, aged-metal and stone.  We also have the ability to simulate the weight of an object whilst keeping the 3d print costs under control using various lower cost filling materials.

We know that 3d printing is still an exciting technology for members of the public so we often work with museum marketing teams to produce photographs of the scanning and 3d printing processes and time-lapse videos of the 3d printing of an object.

If a digital 3d model is already available then we can normally get a quote back within a day.  All digital assets are treated with the strictest confidence and are deleted if not used.

Note details less than 0.1mm may not be fully replicated due to technological limitations.  We can apply SLA 3d printing technologies to smaller detailed objects (resolution down to 0.025mm).

3d scanning - Photogrammetry

We can digitally capture objects in 3d (geometry and colour photo texture) using the cutting-edge method of photogrammetry where multiple photos or video sequences are converted into full-colour digital 3d models.  

Although many professionals in the heritage sector have experimented with this method, we have developed optimal processes to generate the very best models possible.  In fact we know how to make photographic models good enough for colour 3d printing at actual size.  

We have designed and built a portable multi-camera 3d scan rig with powered turntable which we use to scan objects very efficiently.  Within one day we can scan tens of objects as this rig can take 100-200 suitable photos of an object within 10 minutes.

Note photogrammetry is not suitable for items that are transparent, have no discernible texture or are excessively shiny.

3d models from CT scans

We can extract 3d models from medical CT scans which is useful in archaeology, palaeontology and medical applications.  We take the DICOM or TIFF data and using medical CT software we extract a 3d model suitable for 3d printing.  This technology allows us to model not only surface models but also interior geometry too.

We can also arrange for objects to be transported and CT scanned or even microCT scanned through our partners.

Highly complex, overlapping or hidden geometry can be captured using this technology.  CT scan models are monochrome normally but can be coloured manually or combine with other methods to add colour. 

Quick 3d scans using structured light

We have a structured light 3d scan method which can rapidly scan a number of bones or objects at a lower resolution than our photogrammetry scans.  We managed to scan 75 Jurassic marine reptile bones in one day using this method. Note, however, it can take several weeks to process this scan data into 3d models.

The method is useful for digital measurement and on-screen 3d design work where lower resolution models are advantageous.  

This method is only suitable for objects larger than 5cm.  

Objects can be colour or monochrome.  They can be 3d printed but probably not at full size without some loss of detail.

3d modelling and restoration

We have the skills to undertake digital restoration before 3D printing often replacing or repairing missing elements or sometimes cleaning noisy scan/ct data.  We can animate models too.   Recently we developed the ability to take 2d images (drawings and photographs) and accurately turn them into 3d objects again for 3d printing.

We can also render 3d models as multiple 2d line drawings at different angles for museum displays, research or other presentation materials.

3d research

Founder of ThinkSee3D, Steven Dey, regularly contributes to research papers in the application of 3d methods or utilises 3d methods in the service of  scientists producing papers in palaeontology, archaeology and natural history.  Services include photogrammetry or CT scans to produce 3d models for study, measurement and 2d renders of 3d models for inclusion in papers or public engagement. Most recently Steve worked with the University of Oxford zoology department on applying 3d photogrammetry methods in coral reef research and has produced a number of 2d renders of 3d models of Jurassic marine reptiles.

Replicating 3d printed replicas for retail

We have a facility to create a mould and cast copies of 3d prints with potential for museum shops to replicate their collections through the above services and then create high quality cast copies for sale in the shop.  Contact us to find out more.