Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On April 12th 2021, the Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Naturalis) of Leiden in the Netherlands announced that its 3D printed replica of Trix the Tyrannosaurus rex’s skeleton was being shipped to Nagasaki, Japan’s Dinosaur Museum the following week. (Leiden is twinned with Nagasaki. The replica skeleton’s impending journey was also announced back in November 2020.) Naturalis proclaimed that it had spent the last few years making 3D scans of each of the circa 320 bones in Trix’s skeleton, such that a 3D printable computer model of it could be made. (Incidentally, part of Trix’s skeleton had already been scanned between 2014 and 2016. The computer model would also reconstruct Trix’s missing bones.)

3D printing the replica skeleton took almost a year using 10 3D printers, with some of the bones needing to be digitally cut as they were too large to print on a single printer. In addition, every bone had to be painted by hand to give the originally white 3D printed material a colour that would look appropriately aged. The replica skeleton was finally finished in late 2020, measuring 12.5m long and weighing circa 300kg. The 3D printed parts were also glued together such that Nagasaki’s Dinosaur Museum would receive 50 larger parts that could be joined together for less difficulty assembly.

Trix’s was originally discovered by a group of palaeontologists from Naturalis in 2013 during a dig in Montana. With between 75% to 80% of its bone volume still intact, Trix was one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever discovered. Before its journey to Japan, the replica Trix skeleton was set up in the Naturalis entrance hall between November 19th and December 16th 2020. Nagasaki’s Dinosaur Museum is intended to open in October 2021.

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Disclaimer: Featured image of “Tyrannosaurus skeletal diagram” is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer. It is also in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1926.