Cadman-LT, the materials for making marble replicas look like marble, and stone like stone, etc. already exist. They were used for decades to make replicas--but not used in 3D printers. So I'm wondering whether it's possible to invent new materials like those for this purpose that can be used in 3D printers. Two reasons for wondering this: a) the older, more authentic looking and feeling materials that produced medium-range-priced statues, etc. are no longer in favor. Instead, much of what I've seen are made with resins that produce cheaper replicas with finer surface detail, but with a Barbie doll feel. b) 3D printers do such a good job of replicating detail quickly and are becoming less expensive all the time. a) is the problem, b) might be a solution.
Now this isn't for replicas, but it would be good for sculptors. If they had a 3d medium to work in, maybe like a 3d hologram. They could have haptic feedback so it feels like clay(or whatever medium) and sculpt the hologram. Then just export that to a file nd print it out to a 3d printer. It's years away, but I bet it's the future.
Cadman-LT, I don't see why not, either. Except that's apparently a more expensive process. I didn't mind paying more for better quality statue and artifact reproductions, but apparently the museums and some of the third-party vendors decided to make them a lot cheaper with plastics. I don't know if the plastics they're now using for cheaper statues, etc. are made with 3D printing methods. In any case, the materials used with those machines must be designed for them. So that's why I'm wondering about how likely it is that new materials based on natural ones could be designed for 3D printing.
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