Copper-plated eagle skull highlights the potential of digital manufacturing

​The team at Tempus 3D was approached by a First Nations group from British Columbia to assist in creating a copper replica of an Eagle Skull. The skull was extremely delicate and fragile and they wanted to produce a piece that was more durable and had an aged copper look to it.​


The first challenge was to create an accurate replica of the original skull. Because of it's fragility, the skull needed to be digitally scanned with a precise, no-contact scanning device that would not damage the original structure. This was completed with the help of Selkirk Technology Access Centre (STAC) in Trail BC, who were able to use their 3D scanning technology and software to scan the skull, transform it to an editable digital file, and complete digital edits to the file to repair some damage to the skull had suffered over the years.


The digital file was sent to the team at Tempus 3D, who test-printed several copies on their HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer in order to achieve the highest-quality result. We chose nylon PA12 for their material because of it's robust nature, precision, and ability to be coated with a variety of finishes.


The final step was to apply the copper finishing. Tempus 3D reached out to the team at Repliform, which specializes in electroplating 3D printed plastics and other non-conductive materials. Repliform was able to take the 3D printed pieces and turn out a beautiful aged-copper finish that preserved the fine details and highlighted the beauty of the original form. The beautiful end result highlights what can be accomplished with collaboration between results-oriented professionals and leveraging the latest digital manufacturing technology.


The team at Tempus 3D, in collaboration and consultation with our customer, our partners at STAC, and our partners at Repliform, was able to deliver a product that is durable, repeatable, and most importantly beautiful for our customer.


Tempus 3D specializes in producing robust, affordable industrial plastics with top-of-the line 3D printing technology for designers and innovators across Canada. With Tempus’ location in the interior of British Columbia it is uniquely capable of serving the British Columbia and Alberta markets with cost-effective overnight shipping and the ability to turn around rush orders in as little as 36 hours. We at Tempus feel this is just the beginning of what manufacturing will look like in the future; it will be more responsive, more custom, and more local allowing innovators across sectors to bring products to market quicker and in a more environmentally friendly way. At Tempus, we are MAKING IT POSSIBLE.


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