A complete symphony orchestra has been created in miniature using state of the art technology – 3D scanning and 3D printing. It is the world’s first complete miniature symphony orchestra printed in 3D.
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona, has more than 6,500 instruments on display. These have been collected from all over the world. Through additional audio and video MIM teaches its visitors about how each instrument is played and all about their histories, too.
One of the latest additions to the vast collection is a miniature orchestra that was made using 3D scanning and 3D printing technology; it, too, includes audiovisual performances. The aim is to allow the visitors to experience the sights and sounds of a modern symphony orchestra. And, in order to help visitors understand the major sections of an orchestra, display monitors light up as each instrument plays.
As a MIM spokesperson explains: “Over the course of four minutes, guests are taken on a journey around the orchestra, hearing audio excerpts from standard orchestral works. In this way, the display illustrates the number and variety of instruments, their character and sound, how they are held, how the orchestra is configured, and what the performers wear.”
How was the orchestra 3D printed?
To create the miniature orchestra, MIM engaged my3Dtwin, a 3D scanning and 3D printing studio based in London who specialize in 3D printed human figurines. MIM and my3Dtwin asked several London based musicians, many of whom are members of the prestigious London City Orchestra, for help. My3Dtwin took photos of each musician and their instruments in a 360 degree photo booth. They used a technology called photogrammetry. The photographs were transformed into 3D data, scaled down to 1/12 scale, and then 3D printed in full color in plaster-of-paris.
The figurines were then arranged just as they would be in a real orchestral performance, and the entire 3D printed orchestra was placed atop an 84-inch monitor, now on display at the MIM’s Europe Gallery.
What do you think of this mini orchestra? Will you be heading to Arizona to check it out?
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