4.1 Mrs Pless - Fossil

4.1.1 Background


This project dealt with the replication of the vertebral column. It is a fossil set aged at between 2.5 and 2.8 million years of the hominid species Australopithecus Africanis. The main objective of the project was to successfully replicate the spinal column by first CAT-scanning the fossil vertebra, converting the CAT-scanned images to CAD solid models, and then growing rapid prototypes of these models by using Stereolithograpy.  Further objectives included the following: investigating the accuracy of the process, as well as an investigation into the many data conversion issues that surround this technique.


4.1.2 Conclusion


A thorough literature survey into all aspects of the work was conducted.  Topics included traditional replication techniques, basic stereolithography and digital image processing.  The procedure used for the CAT-scanning of fossils was given, as well as the data conversion procedures used.

Also included was a detailed account of the CAT- scanning parameter selection tests and a final set of the parameters that gave the best images.  A full account of all observations made with respect to the problems encountered in CAT-scanning, data conversion, stereolithography growing, molding and casting processes followed.  This account included problems found with the particular software used for this project.  Conclusions were drawn up, commenting on the progress made with the realisation of the objectives.  Recommendations were made based on the results and conclusions of the project. Similar applications for the technologies used in this project were also mentioned. Finally, a blueprint was provided, giving a set of standard parameters and suggestions for similar work to be done in fossil replication and other related areas.

Figure 4.1.2

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