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Reverse engineering the greek comic mask using photographic three-dimensional scanning and three dimensional printing

Steele, K.A.M. and Williams, R. (2003) Reverse engineering the greek comic mask using photographic three-dimensional scanning and three dimensional printing. In: Fourth National Conference on Rapid and Virtual Prototyping and Applications. John Wiley & Sons Inc., pp. 73-81. ISBN 1-86058-411-X

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The application of Rapid Prototyping (RP) to archaeology and cultural heritage is an exciting and growing field. Previous studies have documented the use of RP to assist in archaeological preservation and visualisation. The project described here - on ancient theatre masks - shows how RP can play a vital role at the interface of archaeology, sculpture and the performing arts. A process chain involving non-contact 3D and Three Dimensional Printing (3DP) allows us both to reproduce the surviving minature artefacts and to manufacture full size replica masks, so as to discover by practice-based research the performance qualities of the lost originals. The paper describes the data capture process, utilising a photogrammetric scanning system, and the manufacturing stage, which uses the 3DP process to manufacture a shell from which a cast can be taken. It also outlines applications of RP to mask theatre, and findings about the dramatic properties of the masks.