Featured Project: A Project as Timely as Today’s Headlines
The Smithsonian Institution says it has plans to use the Mimaki 3D printer in a variety of ways.
Suwanee, Georgia-based Mimaki USA, makers of wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, recently had one of printers, the 3DUJ-553, placed into the Smithsonian Exhibits’ studios, located in Landover, Maryland.
The full-color, 3D printer will be used to create models for a variety of exhibits that the Smithsonian Institution will be displaying for the general public.
Ironically-given current news headlines-the first exhibit that the Mimaki printer is being employed for is called, “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World,” which is currently showing at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
“This 4,250-square-foot exhibition invites you to join epidemiologists, veterinarians, public health workers, and citizens as they rush to identify and respond to infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola virus, influenza, Zika virus, and others,” reads the promotional material on the Smithsonian’s website. Among the materials Mimaki’s printer has created are very detailed, 3D models of viruses, as well as a replica of the Aedes mosquito, which carried the Zika virus.
“We are pleased to be a part of the Smithsonian Institution’s efforts to engage and inspire audiences through the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” says Josh Hope, senior manager, 3D Printing & Engineering Projects at Mimaki USA. “This printer will enable the Smithsonian to use new technologies to produce exhibits in new ways, particularly for creating models and tactile elements that help bring exhibits to life for all visitors.”
The institution says that future uses for the full-color 3D printer include making models of collection objects to give museum visitors a feeling of what it would be like to handle the real thing,, as well as making tactile display elements for low-vision or blind visitors, such as raised-line maps to aid with wayfinding.