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VCU Archaeology

Knight on the Roundtable

by Bernard K. Means, Project Director

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, I met with Emily Williams, Conservator of Archaeology for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in her conservation laboratory.  I was interested in testing the Sense 3D scanner on some of the archaeological materials in her collection.  We decided that a printed 3D replica of a 17th century helmet from Martin’s Hundred would be an interesting test case.  The replica helmet is a complex, irregular shape, and also black to simulate the conserved appearance of the actual object. I placed the helmet on a Lazy Susan to facilitate rotating it before the Sense 3D scanner, the latter of which I originally placed on a tripod.

Scanning the helmet.

Scanning the helmet.

No single scan could capture every facet of the helmet when done from the fixed tripod, as the shape of the visor blocked the scanner’s lasers from some areas.

The white in the digital image is missing data.

The white in the digital image is missing data.

I then took the Sense 3D scanner off the tripod, and moved it manually around the helmet.  This procedure helped capture more data, but I had issues with maintaining the proper distance. We’ll continue working with the Sense 3D scanner to see how we can address its limitations and determine its full potential.

Scanning the helmet without the aid of a tripod.

Scanning the helmet without the aid of a tripod.

I was able to obtain an almost complete scan of the helmet in this manner, but there continued to be some issues around the thin edges on the visor.  As with the NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner and other laser scanners, it is challenging to record data from very dark objects.

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