3D print your own museum

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Artist Oliver Laric has collaborated with the Collection Museum in the UK to create free-to-download 3D print files of the sculptures on exhibit.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Whether you just want a nice bust of Beethoven to sit on top of your upright piano, or if you're a creator looking to riff on classical works of art, a recently released project has the solution for you. Lincoln 3D Scans is a collaboration between artist Oliver Laric and the Collection Museum and Usher Gallery in Lincoln, England, to bring 3D-printable art to everyone for free.

The project began in 2012 when Laric was invited to submit a proposal to the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award — an annual prize that allows a museum and artist to work together to create an artwork that will join that museum's permanent collection. Instead of creating a static piece of art, Laric proposed to scan the museum's sculptures and release all the data for free.

"The project aims at making the collection available to an audience outside of its geographic proximity and to treat the objects as starting points for new works," the project website reads. "All models can be downloaded and used without copyright restrictions."

Laric used a custom-built portable 3D scanner to scan artworks in The Collection, The Usher Gallery and The Museum of Lincolnshire Life, then used VXelements to capture the data in high resolution and convert it into 3D-printable STL files.

The Smithsonian Museum in the US launched a similar project in 2012 — with the key difference being that it wanted to create a digital archive rather than releasing the files to the public.

Artworks in the Lincoln 3D Scans collection span ancient Rome all the way through to the 20th century, and the website includes a section where users have submitted their modifications of the print files to create new and fascinating interpretations.

You can get started with your own on the Lincoln 3D Scans website.

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