Scanning Laura Secord in 3D!


In 1901, Canadian sculptor Mildred Peel crafted the lovely and much-celebrated bust of Laura Secord which adorns the memorial at the Secord gravesite in Drummond Hill Cemetery. Admired by many as the most evocative and beautiful artistic portrayal of the famed Canadian heroine ever produced, the bronze bust was made from a plaster casting master which now resides in the Niagara Historical Society and Museum in Niagara on the Lake.

On June 12, 2013, Laura Secord's famous bust was bathed in the eerie patterned light of a three-dimensional digital scanner, capturing its every nuance and detail in a 3D shape file. The resulting digital image of the bust can be used for visualization, 3D animation, and - perhaps most excitingly - for the creation of exact 3D replicas of the famous bust at virtually any scale, created using state-of-the-art 3D digital printers at The Generator at One in St. Catharines. The entire scanning process took place onsite at the Museum on Wednesday, 12 June, from 1-3 p.m. The event was open to the public for the price of a regular museum admission, and attracted a showing of history buffs as well as techno-geeks.

Digital image guru Tobias Wiegand of Morro Images was on hand to coordinate the project. Wiegand brings a wealth of experience in digital image creation to the initiative, drawing upon a wide portfolio of work in film, television, video games, and computer animation. Moving into 3D printing is a natural evolution for him and his company.

Left: The full-sized plaster casting master by Canadian sculptor Mildred Peel.
Center: A view of the opposite profile of the actual bronze bust at Drummond Hill Cemetery.
Right: The miniature 3D printed replica created from the digital scanning and printing process.
[Images: Niagara Historical Society; David T. Brown; TV Cogeco]

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