Materialise Builds a Replica of King Tut!

In 1922, the treasure-filled tomb of 'The Boy King', King Tutankhamun, was discovered and created a sensation. During the 1970s, the magnificent artifacts were brought to the public in a touring exhibition. These treasures are back ..but you've never seen King Tut like this before!

Materialise is well known in the industry as a leader for Additive Manufacturing solutions. When a replica of King Tut's mummy needed to be built in an expedited fashion, who else but Materialise for the job! New York City is the last stop on the exhibit's U.S. tour and National Geographic, along with Arts and Exhibitions, wanted to add a new and exciting component. They decided that having a replica of King Tut would be just the thing to make the Discovery Times Square Exposition unique. They commissioned Gary Staab, natural history and prehistoric model maker, of Staab Studios to recreate the mummy. All he needed was Materialise to get him started.

Gary Staab had heard of Materialise's software and knew that they could generate 3D files that could be printed on their Mammoth Additive Manufacturing machines. Knowing the time restraints, he was convinced that this method was the perfect starting point for making a replica that is identical to the real mummy.

The process began by importing CT scans of the Tutankhamun mummy into the Mimics software. This Materialise software created an exact 3D model of the actual mummy. From there, 3-matic software by Materialise hollowed the model. Hollowing was important because it reduced the amount of build material and made the final product lighter. In addition, hollow structures can be built faster, as the surface area of each layer is reduced.

Now that the digital model was ready, the Materialise team used their Magics software for fixing the file. This ensured that the model was 'watertight'; a crucial step for 3D printing.

Having been virtually transformed, King Tut came to life on Materialise's Mammoth Stereolithography Machine. Stereolithography is a process that cures photosensitive resins by a laser that traces the part's cross sectional geometry layer by layer. As the material is a liquid resin, it requires that the part is 'supported' while being built. Materialise has a special software called e-Stage that automatically generates these supports to ensure a successful build. Once the model is built, the supports must be removed. This step, called post-processing, is much easier thanks to the small contact points of the supports generated with e-Stage.

From there, King Tut's model journeyed overseas from Belgium to the Staab studio in Missouri. Once in the studio, Gary Staab added detail, color, and texture to complete the replica and make it look identical to King Tut's actual remains.

King Tut's prototyped body, as well as the other famous artifacts of his tomb, is being showcased in New York City until January 2, 2011.

The Materialise Group

With its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium and branches all over the world, the Materialise Group is best known for its activities in the field of rapid industrial and medical prototyping. Apart from having the largest capacity of rapid prototyping equipment in Europe, Materialise enjoys a worldwide reputation as provider of innovative software solutions. As such, Materialise has acquired the position of market leader for 3D printing and Digital CAD software in addition to being a major player in medical and dental image processing and surgery simulation. Moreover, through its unique .MGX division for design products, Materialise is currently opening the market for customized Rapid Manufacturing. The customer base includes all large companies in the automotive, consumer electronics and consumables sectors. Its medical and dental products are used worldwide by famous hospitals, research institutes and clinicians. Unique design shops all over the world rely on Materialise.MGX. The group has several subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and the USA, and employs over 700 people.


Jamie Milas, Marketing Manager: 734-585-3397 or jamie.milas@materialise.com

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