The 3D department worked on a very unique project when the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa asked us to scan a one-off Whale's skull for an upcoming exhibition devoted to the species.
For this project, the 3D team scanned a real whale's skull and jaw, and printed the 3D render to display in the exhibition. This was the first time the museum have had a digital scan of the whale skull.
The reason it was scanned and not moulded was because it is the only known skull of this particular breed of whale, a rare species called the Spade Toothed Whale, and scanning was the safest way to treat such a valuable artefact.
The scanner used was a Farrow CMM co-ordinate. We printed the jaw on our Invision Printer, and had the Wellington University of Victoria prints the remainder of the skull on their Eden Objet machine.
The skull was then assembled and painted at Weta Workshop, so it looked just like the original skull, and was on display at Te Papa's Whales TohorÄ exhibition in 2008.
Models of skull and lower jaw of spade-toothed whale Mesoplodon traversii.
Original skull from University of Auckland, MacGregor Collection, collected White Island, New Zealand, 1950s.
Original jaw and teeth from the holotype, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, collected Pitt Island, New Zealand, 1872.