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Journal cover: Rapid Prototyping Journal

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Online from: 1995

Subject Area: Mechanical & Materials Engineering

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Additive manufacturing for archaeological reconstruction of a medieval ship

Document Information:
Title:Additive manufacturing for archaeological reconstruction of a medieval ship
Author(s):Shwe P. Soe, (Cardiff School of Engineering, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK), Daniel R. Eyers, (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK), Toby Jones, (Newport Medieval Ship Project, Newport Museum and Heritage Service, Newport, UK), Nigel Nayling, (School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, UK)
Citation:Shwe P. Soe, Daniel R. Eyers, Toby Jones, Nigel Nayling, (2012) "Additive manufacturing for archaeological reconstruction of a medieval ship", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 18 Iss: 6, pp.443 - 450
Keywords:Additive manufacturing, Advanced manufacturing technologies, Archaeology, Modelling, Reverse engineering, Ships
Article type:Case study
DOI:10.1108/13552541211271983 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The modelling described here formed a central element of a partnership research project entitled “ShipShape: solid modelling and visualisation of the Newport Medieval Ship from 3D digital record” funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council with support from Newport Museum and Heritage Service. The bulk of the computer modelling was undertaken by Ben Jennings, Toby Jones and Erica McCarthy of the Newport Ship Project. Ship and model photos: Newport Museum and Heritage Service. Figures 1 and 3 courtesy of Newport Museum and Heritage Service.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the suitability of additive manufacturing technologies in the reconstruction of archaeological discoveries as illustrative models. The processes of reverse engineering and part fabrication are discussed in detail, with particular emphasis placed on the difficulties of managing scaling and material characteristics for the manufacturing process.

Design/methodology/approach – Through a case-based approach, this paper examines the reconstruction of a fifteenth-century ship recovered from the River Usk in South Wales, UK. Using interviews and process data, the paper identifies challenges for both archaeologists and manufacturers in the application of additive manufacturing technologies for archaeological reconstruction applications.

Findings – This paper illustrates both the suitability of additive manufacturing in archaeological restoration, but also the challenges which result from this approach. It demonstrates the practical considerations of scaling process and materials, whilst also highlighting the techniques to improve accuracy and mechanical properties of the model.

Originality/value – Whilst the technologies of additive manufacturing have previously been applied to model making, little scholarly research has considered the practical techniques of design elicitation and manufacturing for archaeological applications. Using an in-depth case study, this paper highlights the principal considerations for these applications, and provides guidance in the mitigation of manufacturing issues.

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