Smithsonian Institution unveils 3D-printed bust of President Obama

The Smithsonian Institution has created a 3D-printed head of President Barack Obama, and it only took 40 hours of printing!

Published Sun, Jun 22 2014 6:26 PM CDT   |   Updated Sat, Aug 8 2020 10:29 AM CDT

The Smithsonian Institution successfully created a 3D portrait of President Barack Obama's head, and he has become the first sitting president to have a 3D-printed bust made. The scanning process only took a few minutes, with the president asking the team questions along the way.

Smithsonian Institution unveils 3D-printed bust of President Obama | TweakTown.com

The 3D printing took more than 40 hours to print, with more than 5,000 layers of durable plastic that was melted with a laser.

"[First], we 3D-scanned the face, ear to ear, at extremely high resolution, capturing details down to the pore level of the skin,", according to Smithsonian 3D program officers. "We worked with a team from the University of Southern California, who use this technology to 3D scan Hollywood actors. And then the Smithsonian 3D team used hand-held structured light scanners to scan the rest of the bust - the sides of the face, under the chin, the back of the head. We put these two data sets together in order to create the model we used for the 3D print."

The Smithsonian has two life masks of Abraham Lincoln and one of George Washington, made based on plaster casting.

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog, AlamedaTech.com, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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