After the casts exhibited in Canada, Delta WASP 4070 job in Pompeii ruins carries on: 3d printing role is now  fundamental in artworks reproduction.

Twenty-eight ornamental statues exactly reproduced in detail and placed in the houses’ gardens where they formerly were as decorative objects. This is been possible with 3d-printing and Delta WASP 4070, used for one year in Pompeii thanks to the partnership between WASP and the Archaeological Site Authority of Pompeii, Ercolano and Stabia. First, the printer has been used for bodies’ casts from people died in Vesuvio eruption: these works  are frequently sought abroad and have been recently shown in Canada in the exhibition “Pompeii in the shadow of the volcano”, ended in January after a large public success.


The ancient statues reproduction

This second procedure of artworks  reproduction clearly proves innovative and fundamental 3-d printing role in cultural heritage restoration and preservation. “Usually, original artwork pieces can’t remain outside, open-air, because of the acid rains and other natural elements that would seriously damage them – explains Giancarlo Napoli, technical director of Atramentum, the society in charge of this job -. The authentic little statues that decorated Octavio Quartio and Marco Lucrezio houses are conserved in Torino, but now, thanks to 3-d printing, we can admire them again in their original place”.


3d printing: precision and high definition

Even thought the material is different, it’s not easy to realize that the exposed pieces are copies. “Actually nobody notices it”, says Mr. Napoli. “In the restoration interventions – he explains – it’s better to use different materials instead of the same of the original: in the XIX Century using the marble was very common, with the result that, after many years, the authentic part became indistinguishable from the reconstructed part. Also, polyvinyl plastics and resins allow a high definition and detailed reproduction. To take another example, in these days we have just duplicated the skeleton of a skull of the Sannita age, perforated for a kind of surgery, a frequent operation in that period: the result is highly satisfying, a great job”.

Passing over artworks copy regulations

Furthermore, 3d printing allowed to solve a big problem arose with the introduction of a new governmental regulation that bans artworks direct copies, made by contact with silicone rubber, creating a negative to be filled in with the material. “This procedure undoubtedly generates identical copies – says Napoli – but it can actually damage the originals because of the contact, especially detaching the rubber: for this reason it’s been properly forbidden. So now 3-d printing is the only option”.

Technical note: the shapes of the works derive from the 3D scanning of the originals. they are then 3D printed in PET, filled with epoxy resin, and painted with two-component acrylic colors.

DeltaWASP 4070 working in the ruins of Pompei