From Pixel to Plastic: Using Europeana as a resource for 3D printing projects


Image: Telescópio. Original available on Europeana: Telescopio refractor.

For the students in this class, the challenge began with a test of the Art and Astronomy through the Ages scenario, one of the learning scenarios available under the Europeana DSI-3 project. After testing the scenario, we found that it did not give us results that would allow students to create in 3D. In order for them to execute their final projects, we decided to let the groups search freely. The only rule was to use Europeana as a research resource. After the 3D modelling phase, students wrote a short report identifying the chosen resource and detailing their workflow. We organized the structure of this project in the From Pixel to Plastic plan. Our goal was to cross Europeana as a resource repository and 3D modeling, with potential completion in 3D printing. The best 3D models were grouped as a Sketchfab Collection: Europeana.


Image: the author’s own

The first implementation of our chosen Europeana Learning Scenario went great, but the results were not very adequate for our projects. That was expected, the scenarios were planned with information processing and research in mind, supporting theoretical and fact-finding work. We need other types of resources, to allow our students to create 3D models. The images found with the chosen theme were not very appealing for our pupils, so we tried another approach.

In our class, we challenge our students to learn 3D modeling and apply the knowledge in projects. With that in mind, we let them loose on the Europeana Collections, with a simple instruction: find an artifact that catches your eye, and recreate it in 3D. We will 3D print some of them. Even though it is not a very structured activity, students took it to heart and my entire class is busy carefully recreating in 3D, using Sketchup, elements from the European heritage, collected in Europeana.


About the author: Artur Coelho took part in the Europeana DSI-3 User Group of teachers. This article first appeared on his personal blog.

Europeana Collections provides access to over 50 million digitised items – books, music, artworks and more.

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