by David Black, Fall 2018 intern
My name is David Black, and I am a senior in the Religious Studies and Anthropology departments here at VCU. When I first signed up for the internship at the VCL, I had hoped to learn about the techniques surrounding 3D scanning editing and printing. I learned all these skills during my time in the lab, as well as forged many friendships with my fellow interns and volunteers. The amount of stuff we have scanned at the VCL is astonishing. You name it, we’ve scanned it. Everything from Ham the space chimp’s skull to the world’s oldest ham. World War II pistols, pickle plates, trophy skulls, broken bird baths, triceratops horn, ground sloth dung, and pieces of toast, we have it all. Truly a menagerie of plastic goodies, and some real ones. Tasks vary greatly here at the VCL. The main to do list revolves around scanning, editing, printing, cleaning, and painting the various artifacts in the lab. There are, however, a few more trivial tasks that are required from time to time. Sorting and cleaning the lab itself is one of these. More interesting than you’d expect, since during this time rummaging through the many closets of the place, you will stumble upon some hidden gems tucked away in the deep crevices of the lab. Such as boxes full of ancient hand axes and pestle, simply forgotten in the bottom drawer of a cabinet blocked by countless other boxes. Sometimes you have to wear old smelly WWII Italian gas masks, so we can get a good scan, only to find out the scan didn’t go so well. One of the most daunting and trivial of all tasks I received from the Doc happened on a cold dreary fall day. We had scanned and printed many a pickle plate for an upcoming even, but alas something was missing. The Doctor gave me four dollars and sent me out into the frigid cold in search of a pickle to scan. After a long desolate walk to the nearest 7-11, I purchased said pickle and returned to the lab. Sure, enough we scanned it ,edited it and printed it. This was not the end of the glorious pickle tale. The final coup de grâce happened when we edited the pickle into the supple grip of Ben Franklin’s hand and printed it in all its glory for the world to see.