3D printed alligator skull. Source: Camazine
3D printed alligator skull. Source: Camazine

Biologist, artist and medical doctor, Scott Camazine, used Kickstarter as a platform to introduce people to his unconventional art of animal skull sculptures. What makes his sculptures unique is they are not an artist’s rendition, but an exact replica of the skull of a real animal. “I’ve developed a method for turning CT scans into 3-dimensional computer models for printing,” said Camazine in his Kickstarter video. 

The Kickstarter project can be found here.

Camazine has his art 3D printed on a 3D printer. 3D printers use a 3-dimensional digital file of an object and builds the item layer by layer using a variety of materials such as plastic, metal or sandstone. The materials depend on the type of printer and technology used to print the object. His art features various animal skull sculptures made of bronze, stainless steel, or acrylic plastics.

Camazine met his goal of raising $2,000 on Kickstarter and will use the funds to move forward with his project. So far, he has scanned an alligator, ram, bear and spider monkey. He even did a self-portrait from a CT scan of his own body.

He has a list of 44 other animals he hopes to complete. Some of the animals are on the endangered species list, including an iriomote cat, a green sea turtle and a chimpanzee. Backers who pledge a certain amount will receive a 3D printed animal skull.

Camazine hopes Kickstarter is just the beginning of a much larger project. “My hope was that the project would indeed allow me to kickstart the concept and the product by providing me with contacts for marketing and some new ideas,” Camazine said.

After Kickstarter, his sculptures will be available online and he has plans for a new project also involving CT scans and 3d printing. “I also plan on a series of offerings in the theme of "Print Yourself". Nowadays almost everyone has had a CT scan or knows someone who has had one,” said Camazine. “So, there must be thousands of people who have had a CT scan given to them on CD disk to take to their family doctor or specialist. Now you can send me your CT scan data and I can print you a memento -- a 3D Print of your brain after your concussion, your kidney after passing a kidney stone, or a broken hip. Perhaps this sounds too macabre? How about a beautiful print of your unborn baby made from a 3D ultrasound?”

Camazine says his passion for nature and animals began at a young age. “I was an avid nature collector in my youth, filling boxes with pinned insects and collecting bones and skulls.”

In addition to making his art available to the public, Camazine said he will also make the stereolithography (STL) files available to the public. The files will be available on his website as a downloadable resource. This would make it possible for students, biologists and others to download the files for non-commercial use. Some of Camazine’s 3D files are currently available on Thingiverse and GrabCad.