Engineers of Samara Polytech (Samara State Technical University) have found a way to apply 3D technologies for restoration and renovation of the architectural and sculptural heritage of Samara. Recently the Laboratory of Additive Technologies and Reverse Engineering was established in order to facilitate this project. It is based on the Casting Technologies Department of Samara Polytech. The project is headed by the dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgy and Transport, Konstantin Nikitin.
The laboratory is implementing 3D scanners to shoot an object or a part of it, create a digital model, adapt it, and transfer it as an element of the program to a 3D printer. 3D printers work with 2 types of materials: plastic and photopolymer (liquid solution cured under a light ray). Then a printer creates a prototype product which will serve as a casting shape. It is filled with a type of alloy required by the customer. When the alloy freezes, the casting shape is disassembled, and the resulting product undergoes a number of finishing operations such as stripping, polishing, grinding.
Not long ago the laboratory scientists were occupied with restoring the Chapaev monument, created in 1932 by the architect Josef Langbard and the sculptor Matvey Manizer which was recently damaged by vandals. In addition to the restoration of the monuments, Samara Polytech has a regular contract for production of commemorative plaques for buildings of architectural and historical value.
Compared to traditional casting methods, 3D printing is inexpensive and allows complete an order in a very short time: it only takes from 24 hours to a week.
Nowadays the laboratory of the Samara Polytech has formed an impressive portfolio of contracts.
According to the words of Konstantin Nikitin, additive technologies have extremely rich opportunities for future use: from production of original souvenirs at an easy rate to creating complex technical products. In the nearest future the scientists are planning to start working with sculpture casting.