Cosmo Wenman is a regular visitor to museums, and not just because he likes to take in the culture. Wenman attends exhibits, camera in hand, to take up to 500 pictures of a single sculpture, which he then uses to recreate his own miniature 3D-printed version.
Wenman uses free Autodesk software to scan the photos and build a digital 3D rendering that is then fed to a $2,200 MakerBot 3D printer, which creates the replicas. The sculptures are printed out of biodegradable plastic and then Wenman uses patina effects to add to the authenticity of the recreations. He posts his scans online for others to use for free. Wenman believes his process is a way to make classical art more accessible. He tells NPR’s All Tech Considered:
To my eye, this is worthy of display in the home. Schools could use these for their instruction. They could make cheap reproductions in the classroom. Art lovers could use them for study. People could just print them and have them in their homes.
Wenman’s work is about creating an educational tool and so far, no museums have protested to his taking pictures and creating replicas. Like posters people buy after visiting exhibitions, soon visitors to major museums could be leaving with a 3D printed replica for themselves.