If you’ve ever been to Washington DC, you know the Smithsonian isn’t just a building, instead it’s a collection of 19 museums, 21 libraries, 9 research centers, and a zoo. Even though there are hundreds of affiliated museums, there is a way to bring at least some of the museum to you. The Smithsonian has a 3D digitization portal that currently features 124 models of items from the collection. Almost 100 of them have models you can download and print — or have someone print for you.
Printing yourself is probably the most cost-effective option if you already have a printer. According to the Smithsonian, if you want a 1/20th scale model of a T. Rex cranium, Shapeways will do it for about $21. If you want a 9-inch version of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, that would go for $130 or so.
Some of the models are pretty intricate. The Apollo 11 hatch door, for example, has quite a few details. The models range from space, to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, to a model of the remnants of a supernova. There are models of the gunboat Philadelphia and a blue crab, too.
An interesting link found among my daily reading