An Update from the 3D Scanning Lab!

We have met – and surpassed – our original goal of printing and painting 60 olive jars for this summer! It took approximately two months to print and paint a total of 102 olive jars to gift to everyone that has helped out with the Luna site, where this olive jar rim sherd was found. This specific artifact is important because it linked the site to Spanish expeditions led by Tristan de Luna y Arellano during the 16th century.

Another project that we have been working on this summer is magnetizing shell fragments of a Civil War case shot recovered from the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park. Our first attempt at this – placing magnets inside of the model as it was printing – failed; the magnets were not strong enough to attract through the plastic and they were sometimes too large to be placed correctly inside the model. Janene Johnston and Mariana Zechini will discuss this project in more detail in a poster that will be presented at the 2017 Society for Historical Archaeology annual meeting in Dallas, TX.

IMG_2835

The plastic models of the three fragments of the Civil War case shot. 

We are currently printing and painting artifacts from the Emanuel Point II shipwreck site. These artifacts include ceramics, wooden utensils, and carved wood artifacts. Stay tuned for updates on that project and more!

Advertisements

Summer Scanning at UWF’s Archaeology Institute

This summer, three members of the Virtebra team (graduate students Kathryn Patterson, Jane Holmstrom, and myself, Mariana Zechini) have been scanning artifacts from various sites across Northwest Florida for the University of West Florida’s Archaeology Institute. The goal of this summer-long project is to digitize important artifacts from archaeological sites such as the recently discovered Luna settlement, the Emanuel Point shipwrecks, the Wernicke site, and Hickory Ridge. We have already been working nonstop for four weeks scanning, printing, and painting 3D objects.

We employ one 3D scanner and two different 3D printers in the laboratory. A NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner is used to scan artifacts, which are edited using the associated ScanStudioHD software. We use a Fusion3 3D printer and associated Simplify3D software to print olive jar necks (see below) and we use the MakerBot Replicator 2 printer to print most of the other artifacts.  The Fusion3 printer uses both PLA and ABS filament, while the MakerBot only uses PLA. Using both printers, we are able to move forward on multiple projects at one time.

2printers.png

The Fusion3 printer (left) and the MakerBot Replicator 2 printer (right). The Fusion3 is printing an olive jar neck in black plastic and the MakerBot is printing a ceramic sherd in white plastic.

IMG_2594

Mariana Zechini (left) and Jane Holmstrom (right) wait patiently for the MakerBot to begin printing.

IMG_2647

Our painting station.

Once the artifacts are printed, the final step is to paint them. Since the filament only comes in solid colors, painting the plastic artifact allows them to look more realistic to the viewer, giving them a better idea of what the object truly looks like. Using Liquitex acrylic paint, we apply a thin layer of a light beige color to each object first. Doing this provides a nice base layer which creates richer and more even color and will cover the original color of the filament, which looks less natural. Once the base layer is done, we paint the object with 1-2 layers of paint, in mostly varying shades of browns, blacks, and whites, and then wait patiently for it to dry.

Our first objective this summer was to print 60 plastic replicas of an olive jar neck found at the Luna settlement. The printed replicas were then painted to look like the real artifact with the goal of allowing viewers to handle a realistic plastic version of the object to better understand it. This olive jar was critical in the interpretation of the site because it was one of the many sherds of 16th century Spanish ceramics that link the site to Luna’s expeditions.  In 1559, Tristan de Luna y Arellano brought 1,500 soldiers, colonists, slaves, and Aztec Indians from Veracruz, Mexico to Pensacola, making this settlement the oldest in the U.S. and predating St. Augustine by 6 years and Jamestown by 48 years.

FullSizeRender

The real olive jar neck found at the Luna settlement.

IMG_1170

Plastic replicas of the olive jar neck that have been 3D printed and painted.

The olive jar neck presents a wonderful example of the many applications of 3D scanning to public archaeology. The olive jar artifact is an important part of the archaeological site and through 3D scanning, printing, and painting the object to look more realistic, we are able to showcase this special artifact creating a more intimate relationship with archaeology and the public. Since three different people are painting 60 olive jars over the course of the summer, each plastic model is unique, which is representative of the variation one would see in a larger collection of ceramics. This project is ongoing and as of early June, more than two-thirds of the olive jars have been completed.

FullSizeRender (1)

The real artifacts (left) next to the painted replicas (right).

Another major task for this summer was to scan ceramic sherds from the Wernicke site. There were a total of 14 ceramic sherds with various incisions. Some bared incisions such as a stylized skull with teeth, linear and circular designs, or punctations. Some of the pieces still have small nodes or handles that were originally attached to the vessel. This project took about three weeks to complete from scanning each sherd to painting them. We ran into a few difficulties during the scanning process, mainly file issues associated with loss of color on the objects. While scanning an artifact, the NextEngine scanner takes photos of the object and uses those to import color onto the digital model. While it is not necessary for the file to have color in order to print it, the color is useful when using the 3D model in presentations, showcasing it online, or sharing it on various media platforms. During the first week of scanning the artifacts from the Wernicke site, we managed to scan about half of them before most of the files lost color, resulting in us having to re-scan each damaged file. While this took extra time and prevented us from scanning other artifacts, we were able to produce high-quality, colorful digital images and 3D plastic models which will be shared with other researchers and archaeologists.

We also worked on six other artifacts uncovered from the Luna site. These included a spindle whorl (or bead; archaeologists are not completely sure yet), a lead weight, a crossbow tip, an ear spool, and two ceramics: one Aztec piece and one Spanish majolica piece (Columbia Plain type). These were scanned in conjunction with the pieces from the Wernicke site and took about two and a half weeks to scan, print, and paint. These artifacts showcase the other groups living in the area during the time of Luna’s expeditions and are a great example of Pensacola’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Capture

A piece of undecorated Spanish majolica from the Luna site scanned and edited by Kathryn Patterson.

Our next two projects involve two different ways of mending plastic models without glue: with magnets and with wooden pegs. Graduate student Janene Johnston is looking to magnetically mend the three plastic models of a Civil War case shot recovered from the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park. The model will be given to the Park Service to allow visitors a hands-on learning experience. Our other project involves mending a small Apalachee ceramic jar from the Mission San Joseph de Escambe without using glue or tape, per graduate student Jennifer Knutson‘s request. Jennifer is working on creating lesson plans that highlight 3D scanning and its use in teaching archaeology to K-12. We are helping her to find creative ways to mend the broken vessel to use in upcoming lessons and activities.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts about our other adventures with 3D scanning and printing!

Digitizing ROGeR: Creating a Recommended Osteology Guide for e-Readers

Today at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, I will be presenting a poster with graduate students Jane Holmstrom and Maddeline Voas, along with Dr. Kristina Killgrove. The poster will cover our efforts to digitize UWF’s Human Osteology teaching collection. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, we have been scanning human bones to create an online study tool for students in the Human Osteology class. We have scanned a total of 95 bones from 6 individuals, including the skull; left and right long bones; representative bones from the hands, feet, vertebrae, and ribs; sacrum; and pelvis. Our digital collection also includes bones with various pathologies to teach students exactly how certain diseases or trauma manifest on bone. The digital models can be found here and downloaded onto computers, smartphones, tablets, or e-Readers to help osteology students study from virtually anywhere.

Below is our poster, which you can read here.

poster

If you are at the AAPA meeting, stop by the Atrium Ballroom on Saturday, April 16th and see us!

3D Printing Homo naledi

Tags

Before discussing the 3D printing of Homo naledi here at Virtebra @ UWF,  I should first introduce myself. My name is Maddeline Voas, and I am a Biological Anthropology graduate research assistant in the Anthropology department here at the University of West Florida. I am responsible for creating and printing 3D models of skeletal materials and artifacts for research and teaching purposes during the 2015-2016 academic year.

12026503_10205076248241496_1482986460_n

Maxillary fragment of Homo naledi

For those of you unfamiliar with the recent discovery of the new South African hominin Homo naledi, you can find more information from here and here. This exciting news became public early this month and shortly after this announcement, 3D models of this hominin were accessible to the public through MorphoSource. Dr. Killgrove used the Makerbot Replicator 2X to print Homo naledi’s first metacarpal, a portion of the calvarium, the mandible, the right proximal femur, and a maxillary fragment.  12047649_10205076396525203_353166096_n

12029202_10205076396765209_135918815_n

Shown: painted proximal femur, first metacarpal, and mandible

After 3D printing these models from MorphoSource, they were painted in an effort to appear more realistic. Fortunately, MorphoSource had both color and mesh scans for each element. It was convenient for painting purposes, primarily because I was able to reference the color scans when painting to achieve the most realistic look.

Here at Virtebra, we use Makerbot PLA filament. I find that acrylic works the best when painting 3D prints that used this plastic filament material, and in this case Liquitex basic acrylic paints were used.

The plastic replicas that were printed can be used for teaching purposes, and they have already been shown in a classroom setting here at UWF. Painting these plastic replicas makes them almost appear realistic. I find that the additional step of painting Homo naledi elements truly enhanced the overall appearance of the prints.

A Brief Reflection on the 2015 Society for American Archaeology Conference

On Thursday, April 16, Dr. Kristina Killgrove and I presented our research at the 2015 Society for American Archaeology (SAA) annual meeting. Our research focused on scanning and printing unique faunal remains from the zooarchaeology collection here at UWF. Our poster was part of a symposium on 3D scanning and printing titled “Crowdsourcing, Co-Creation, and Collaboration Through Virtual Curation” organized and chaired by Dr. Bernard Means.

Dr. Kristina Killgrove and I presenting at SAA 2015!

Dr. Kristina Killgrove and I presenting at SAA 2015!

Over the course of the past semester we have been working on scanning bones from the zooarchaeology collection to create digital models and plastic replicas. After they were scanned and printed, the bones were subsequently painted in order to make them look more realistic to viewers. The resulting digital models and plastic replicas can be integrated into filed, laboratory, and educational settings to enhance understanding of artifacts and archaeological sites. The 3D models can be accessed in the field via smartphones and tablets to readily identify remains on sites were a trained zooarchaeologist is absent. The digital models can also be shared with other archaeologists or researchers who can access the digital comparative collections from anywhere in the world. The printed models can be shared with the public in outreach settings, museum exhibits, or educational demonstrations. Thus the field of 3D scanning provides many advantages to zooarchaeology.

Overall, the SAA conference was a valuable experience. I was able to meet and learn from other researchers in the fields of zooarchaeology, bioarchaeology, and 3D scanning which is very important to me as a graduate student. I returned from the conference feeling extremely inspired and I am already looking forward to SAA 2016 in Orlando!

Giving 3D Scanning a Porpoise: Faunal Remains from UWF’s Collection

This evening at the Society for American Archaeology conference (6-8pm, Grand Ballroom Salon A for all you who are also here!), graduate student Mariana Zechini and I will be presenting a poster on our efforts to scan and print some of the interesting faunal remains in UWF’s zooarchaeological collection.  Throughout the last academic year, Mariana has scanned, printed, and painted: sea turtle, porpoise, mallard duck, gopher tortoise, great blue heron, river otter, and gray fox.  These species are relatively common in Pensacola and are skeletons we thought few people would have access to.

Here’s our poster, and if you click this link you can get the big version with more readable text:

If you want to follow what we’re doing in the Virtebra lab (Virtual Bones and Artifacts), click through to our blog (Virtebra.wordpress.com).  And if you want your very own porpoise or great blue heron, you can find the .stl models at GitHub.com/killgrove/Virtebra-UWF.  (Fun fact: you can view .stl models in your browser at GitHub, even on an iPad, and if you download the free MeshLab app, you can download and view the .stl files on your iPad as well!)

The Story of Spencer Bibbs and the Vernacular Markers of Pensacola’s Historic African American Cemeteries

Three-dimensional scanning has many applications to the field of archaeology. 3D scanning can solve various preservation issues and can be used as a tool in public archaeology. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Virtebra showcased another great use of 3D scanning by using the NextEngine scanner to record the inscription on a cemetery marker of local historical figure Spencer Bibbs, who is buried in John the Baptist Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida. Our goal was to scan the vernacular style marker in the hopes of better understanding what is inscribed on it. While part of the inscription is readable, a portion of it is difficult to discern due to age and weathering.

The marker of Spencer Bibbs at John the Baptist Cemetery.

The marker of Spencer Bibbs at John the Baptist Cemetery.

The Virtebra team undertook this mini-project in support of a larger project known as By These Hands: The Vernacular Markers of Pensacola’s African American Cemeteries Project, which is sponsored by John the Baptist Church in partnership with UWF and is funded in part by the Florida Humanities Council. The work detailed here is an in-kind service in support of this project. The goal of the By These Hands project is to educate the general public on the artisans, individuals, and ideologies of the early 20th century African American community through historical research, professional talks, tours, and interpretive materials related to historic African American burial grounds in Pensacola. This project builds on the mission of the Pensacola Area Cemetery Team (PACT), which aims at addressing issues dealing with historic cemeteries in Pensacola, and was inspired in part by the success of the Virtual Curation Laboratory at VCU in scanning tombstones.

Once we had solved the power issue, we were able to scan Spencer Bibbs' marker using the NextEngine scanner

Once we had solved the power issue, we were able to scan Spencer Bibbs’ marker using the NextEngine scanner

On Saturday, November 28, Dr. Kristina Killgrove, archaeologist Margo Stringfield, Fred Hall of John the Baptist Church, graduate student Andrea Acosta, and I met at the cemetery. After a brief tour of the cemetery, we began to use the Sense scanner to create a 360° model of the grave. The Sense scanner is a handheld, portable 3D scanner that can be used to scan large objects or people. While it was a good tool to scan the entirety of the tombstone, it did not offer any more clues as to what was inscribed on the tombstone as the resolution is not ideal. Instead, we used the NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner to capture the inscription. Using the NextEngine presented two challenges: first, finding a power source to drive the scanner, and second, not being able to mount the object of interest on the rotating platform. To solve the first issue, we plugged the scanner into a 3A inverter that was itself plugged into the 12V DC power connector in Mr. Hall’s car, and into the laptop via USB.  To solve the second issue, we placed the scanner on a tripod in front of the grave to capture the inscription via panel scan, which is faster and all that we needed given our success in capturing the whole marker with the Sense.

The maximum distance the scanner can be from an object is about 16 inches. This posed a few problems as it was impossible to get one scan of the entire surface without going farther than 16 inches. To remedy this we placed the scanner in various locations and scanned small portions of the tombstone at a time. During the editing process, the seven panel scans were merged together to create a nearly complete model of the inscription.

This particular marker was of great interest because of the person it represented. According to the Pensacola Historical Society, Spencer Bibbs was born in Montgomery, AL, in 1859 and moved to Pensacola at age 13. He worked as a “hackman” (similar to a cab driver today) and as a “drayman,” a term used in the early 1900s that generally meant the driver of a horse-drawn wagon who moved goods to and from a port. More importantly, Bibbs worked tirelessly to promote education for minority children in Escambia County, and he was the first black supervisor of colored schools in Pensacola. An elementary school was eventually named after him. Bibbs’ life history is one of the focuses of the By These Hands project, and we look forward to learning more about him as the project progresses.

Before the scanning of Bibbs’ tombstone was done, we were unsure of many of the letters on the upper right-hand side, and the inscription looked like it read:

SACR_D ________
OF GU HUS_____D
ARTH_R
SPENCER BIBBS
DIED DEC 18 1922

The scan, however, showed more clearly that the inscription likely reads:

SACRED TO THE HART
OF GU(R?) HUSBAND AND
FA(R?)THER
SPENCER BIBBS
DIED DEC 18 1922

There is still obviously a question about the exact meaning of the marker. The GU on the second line may be OU(R), with the inscription maker using a G instead of an O in impressing the lettering. The third line probably means FATHER, with the inscription maker including an extra R in the middle.  Several of the Ds are reversed as well. This type of vernacular marker is not unusual for this time period and area, and the idiosyncrasies of these markers demonstrate regional links in makers and the communities they served.

The digital model of the inscription on Bibbs' marker.

The digital model of the inscription on Bibbs’ marker.

Another question regarding this marker was whether or not there was anything inscribed in the lower right-hand corner. The scanner did not pick anything up; the blank space, however, could indicate that something had been attached there previously that has since fallen off or disintegrated.

Bibbs_1

Spencer Bibbs’ Marker

This mini-project adds another dimension to By These Hands. A better understanding of information contained on the marker will help researchers interpret the overall feature and those associated with it. The digital models created from the tombstone can be shared with others who are interested in learning more about John the Baptist Cemetery or other local cemeteries. The models will be used in presentations, lectures, community outreach programs, or lesson plans to enhance the public’s knowledge of archaeological material. Furthermore, the NextEngine scanner is able to record information on an artifact that may not be seen otherwise and is a useful tool to implement in situations of uncertainty.


CapturePartial funding for By These Hands: The Vernacular Markers of Pensacola’s Historic African American Cemeteries is provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Preserving “Penelope”: Digitally Mending a Broken Ceramic Vessel

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Graduate students Jennifer Knutson and Michelle Pigott, along with Dr. John Worth at UWF, visited the lab on Friday, October  10. They brought with them a broken ceramic vessel (which another student dubbed “Penelope”) made up of about ten sherds from a site believed to be the remains of Mission San Joseph de Escambe. The site was found in 2009 by UWF field school students and dates to around 1741-1761. Bend in the River: The Molino Mills Project is a short video made by UWF students that details the importance and varied use of the area.

The broken ceramic vessel dubbed

The broken ceramic vessel dubbed “Penelope”

The goal of this project, aside from scanning each piece of the jar, was to create a digitally mended vessel from the models of each individual sherd using NextEngine’s ScanStudioHD software. Each sherd was scanned twice using the NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner and then edited and printed using our MakerBot Replicator 2 printer. Since most of the sherds were of decent size (5-9cm wide, 4-8cm long), I did not have much trouble during any point in the scanning or editing process with the exception of one piece that refused to align and fuse properly. This sherd was one that I labeled “006” and was smaller than most of the other pieces.

This was my first experience digitally mending models but thanks to a previous co-worker who is now a graduate student at IUP, Allen Huber, and his paper titled “Broken Bones: Digital Curation and Mending of Human Remains” I was able to learn the process quickly. The first step in mending objects is to create a complete file of each individual model before trying to put them together. It took about two days for me to edit all ten models. Once each object is fused I can then use the “Align” option in ScanStudioHD to put together two models at a time. Using the “Align” option, I can mark points on the object by using “virtual pins” that connect specific sides of the two models together (Huber 2014). I began with the most obvious models that fit together, which were files “005” and “008.” It took several tries, but I was able to successfully assemble the two digital sherds. The third model I added was the piece I labeled “002” which is a burnt rim sherd. During the first two tries, I struggled to align the sides of the models so they perfectly aligned. Finally, on the third try (third time’s a charm), I was able to mend the third piece together. The fourth piece I added to the model was the one labeled “004” which connects models “005” and “002.” This model took only two tries to attach to the larger, aligned model perhaps because model “004” is smaller than the other three models.

Four pieces of Penelope merged together.

Four pieces of Penelope merged together.

Attaching the final few pieces to the vessel proved to be a challenge. The next piece I added to the digital model was the one of the larger sherds that was also the bottom portion of the vessel. This piece only attaches on one side to the larger digital model; the other side does not attach to anything as that side of the vessel is missing. The final piece also had the same problem – it only attached on one side to the vessel and to nothing on the other side. While the final two pieces do not mend together on the physical vessel, they come close to mending and that was difficult to translate in the ScanStudioHD software. In the end, I decided to include the bottom portion of the vessel but leave out the final piece.

Sometimes when a file become too large, ScanStudioHD will shut off the texture option to allow for smoother processing.

Sometimes when a file become too large, ScanStudioHD will shut off the texture option to allow for smoother processing.

However, one of the biggest problems I ran into during this process was the loss of color and texture on the object. About halfway through mending “Penelope” the files lost color and only half of the mended model displayed the color and texture. The rest of the object was blue. I contacted NextEngine support and unfortunately we were not able to come up with a solution to the problem. I was told, however, that sometimes when a file becomes too large, ScanStudioHD will shut off the texture in order to allow for faster and smoother processing of other files.

Finally, I decided to start over and since I have become very familiar with the mending process in ScanStudioHD, I was able to quickly mend the sherds together within a few hours. The 3D gods must have been smiling down on me that day because the software preserved the color and texture of the models and my previous mending problems disappeared.

The color version of Penelope

The color version of Penelope

The final step in this project was to print a 3D plastic replica of Penelope and then paint the plastic model to look realistic. This took about three hours on Friday, October 31, and now we have a digitally mended model as well as a painted plastic replica. The painted replicas are great for sharing with other students, faculty, researchers and members of the public. They can be handled without fear of being broken and give the viewer a more realistic representation of what the object looked like when it was in use.

Overall, the final products of this project include a digitally mended version of the ceramic jar, a painted 3D plastic model of “Penelope,” and finally, the actual mended object which will be completed in the near future by graduate students and professors at UWF. ScanStudioHD proved to be a successful and useful tool in mending objects and this method can be employed in situations where the actual artifacts are too fragile to physically mend.

Painted plastic replicas offer realistic representations of artifacts to thew viewer.

Painted plastic replicas offer realistic representations of artifacts to the viewer.

To download Penelope or to view her in your browser, click here to check her out at GitHub!

Image

Creating Colorful Carpals

Although the Virtebra Lab has a MakerBot Replicator 2X, which is dual-extrusion, I’ve always wanted to print something with multicolor layers.

IMG_20141024_153710983_HDRAt first, I tried to use the ABS sticks that came with my 3Doodler by inserting them into the 2X, but it turns out they’re too large in diameter to fit the printer.

Then I reasoned I could cut small pieces of PLA and feed them into the extruder while running the MakerBot 2.  I spent about 15 minutes trying different techniques to hot-swap the filament before realizing I should just google this.  Voila, a video from MakerBot itself telling me how to swap out the filament using the “pause” feature.

So I present you with a colorful carpal.  I’d never realized how much a lunate could look like candy corn.  Yum!

Scanning a Ballast Stone from Emanuel Point II Shipwreck

Tags

, ,

Graduate student Jodi Preston stopped by the lab last week with a ballast stone from the Emanuel Point II site. In 1992, the Florida Division of Historical Resources found the remains of a Spanish galleon from Tristan de Luna’s 1559 expedition while conducting an underwater survey of the Pensacola Bay (Emanuel Point I). This is the oldest shipwreck in Florida and was Tristan de Luna’s first attempt at creating a colony in present day Florida. In total, de Luna had seven ships that were lost in a hurricane that hit the Pensacola area about a month after his arrival and therefore, his remaining vessels may still be in the Pensacola Bay. The University of West Florida worked with the Florida Division of Historic Resources to excavate the area, which was possible thanks to grant funds and UWF’s Archaeology Institute, and found two previously unknown shipwrecks. One of the shipwrecks dated to a period right before the Civil War and the other shipwreck (located about 400 meters west from the first Emanuel Point site) is associated with de Luna’s expeditions to colonize Florida. This specific site is being used to educate the public on Pensacola’s maritime and colonial history.

The ballast stone had an iron attachment and a ceramic sherd from a Spanish olive jar embedded on its side. Jodi planned to remove the iron portion and the ceramic sherd from the ballast stone and wanted a 3D scan of the whole object before removing each piece. The ballast stone along with its attachments measured around 30 cm long, which is large for our NextEngine Desktop 3D Scanner. Instead of using the NextEngine scanner, I opted for the Sense 3D scanner which has the ability to scan larger objects such as complete ceramic vessels, anchors and even people! We placed the ballast stone on a mount and as I held the Sense scanner Jodi manually rotated the mount. Unfortunately, we tried several times but could not produce a successful scan of the ballast stone with the Sense scanner. This may have been due to the irregular and asymmetrical shape of the ballast stone.

Digital b stone

The digital model of the ballast stone in ScanStudio HD.

I decided to try using the NextEngine scanner instead. Normally, objects can be scanned twice with the NextEngine scanner and produce a complete digital model of an object. However, since the ballast stone was so large, it took three scans to completely record all of the information. We carefully placed the ballast stone horizontally on the mount. The NextEngine scanner recorded half of the ballast stone in the first scan and the other half in the second scan. For the third scan, we placed the ballast stone vertically on the mount and the scanner was able to record the entire object in one scan.

The large ballast stone turned out to be easier to scan than I expected. Each scan took about ten minutes, and Jodi and I spent thirty minutes total scanning the object. Once an artifact is scanned, the next step is to edit the object by trimming excess data and merging several models together. I spent Wednesday morning doing just that. I used ScanStudioHD software to trim extra data off the model and then used a yellow tag on the ballast stone as a merging point for the three models.

Align b stone

The aligning process in ScanStudioHD

The trimming and merging process went smoothly. The last step in ScanStudio is to fuse the model which fills small holes and blends all of the models together to create a seamless digital image. This is where I ran into the most trouble. Every time I tried to fuse the model of the ballast stone, the software created more holes in the model rather than filling them. I tried to manually fill the holes but unfortunately, that did not work either. I contacted NextEngine support and via their Live Chat option on their software, a gentleman was able to guide me through the alternative process of fusing. I was able to use an option called “remesh” to fuse the object instead of the traditional fusing method. Finally, after struggling with the model all morning, NextEngine support was able to find a solution to help me. We now have a digital model (.stl and .u3d file, available via our GitHub repository) of the ballast stone as well as a scaled down (25%) printed version of it!

Plastic b stone

The scaled down plastic version of the ballast stone.

Our first 3D scan of an artifact recovered from an underwater archaeological context was a success, and we look forward to scanning more waterlogged artifacts this year!


 

For more information on the Emanuel Point sites and UWF’s underwater archaeology research, check out this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVOBjbJ9fJA