Making 3D implants for conservation and restoration of archaeological glass

Carmen Díaz-Marín, Elvira Aura-Castro


This article describes the restoration of a glass bowl from the 16th-17thcentury by creating its three-dimensional (3D)model. The final purpose is to work with this model in order to avoid damaging situations that are associated with the manipulation of fragile objects. The gap areas, those corresponding to the missing fragments not found in the excavation, were carried out by constructing digital implants. A restricted area of the 3D model has been duplicated in order to accommodate it to confined intervals of the gap. The final implants were printed with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filament. These implants replace the lost areas and give stability back to the item by recovering the original morphology. The result can be compared with the outcome obtained by a traditional process, but differs due to the fact that requires minimum manipulation of the item, so it can contribute to preserve and safeguard the restored object. This is a non-invasive method which is offered as an alternative treatment, where the archaeological object is replaced by its virtual model in the steps of the process after 3D data acquisition. Significant differences have not been found in the 3D printing results obtained with the two types of filaments tested (white and clear).


archaeological glass; 3D reconstruction; 3Dmodelling; 3D printing; restoration

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