Scanning the Buddha

Al Billings

Originally published on Open Buddha

Head of Bodhisattva

It isn’t often that my Buddhist interests and my hacker/geek interests completely line up. Today is one of those days!

As part of a project to scan the world, Makerbot Industries has been organizing a scanning event, the Met MakerBot Hackathon, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. People are using Autodesk 123D to take images of art and then assembling these images into 3D models. The resolution is much poorer than the high quality, professional models but isn’t horrible.

A few examples of these scans are Buddhist. There are the Ghandaran Seated Bodhisattva Maitreya, the T’ang Dynasty Head of a Bodhisattva, and Avalokiteshvara (really just the torso) statues.

Gandharan Maitreya

The models that are up now are the early, rough ones but I do expect that a bit of clean up will occur. I’d love to see more models.

Tony Buser has been having some fun with the models produced as well:

Bodhisattva of Infinite PEZ Dispension

You can read more about the Met efforts on the Makerbot blog, especially here and here.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a 3D printer (actually, I’m building a second one right now) at home. Ace Monster Toys also has a couple of Cupcake 3D printers and we may be building a few Printrbot printers if my build goes well. We’ve also just acquired a Zcorp z402, which should show up tomorrow. That can, as an experiment, take powdered wood or concrete, so there is the real possibility of printing some interesting and durable objects. I’d love it if one of the first things that came out of the new printers was a Buddha image.