Building a 3D printed T. rex with your class

Are you ready to build a 3D printed T. rex with your class?

If there’s one topic guaranteed to excite students, it’s dinosaurs. In tandem with Ultimaker, Naturalis Biodiversity Center has created an exhilarating, interactive lesson plan, showing you how to build a T. rex skeleton in the classroom. Best of all, it’s free to download. Read on to find out more about the lesson plan, and the project that inspired it.

Filling in the gaps in history

As you know, dinosaur skeletons never turn up fully complete. More often than not, they’re missing a few integral bones – which means paleontologists have to do some guesswork.

Naturalis discovered that 3D print technology was invaluable when it came to filling in the gaps. Using an Ultimaker desktop 3D printer, they recreated the missing vital elements of a 12.5-meter-long T. rex skeleton to recreate how it would have looked in its entirety.

To ensure authenticity, Naturalis took great care to make the bones look almost as nice as their original counterparts. They made the reconstructed bones just subtly different, so users could tell the difference upon close inspection. The technology meant they could print with phenomenal accuracy, helping people to gain greater understanding about these fascinating, ferocious creatures.

Want to learn more? This amazing video shows how it was done, or alternatively, you can read the full story here.

3D printed dinosaur skeleton

Bringing T. rex to your class

If you’d like to introduce your class to paleontology in action and recreate a T. rex skeleton, download our lesson plan today! Developed by Matthijs Graner from Naturalis, it features the following:

  • Detailed activity structure, with step-by-step instructions

  • Background information about Trix, Naturalis’s T-Rex skeleton

  • The prints

  • References to useful resources

  • Helpful tips to get the most from your print

You can access the lesson plan in two languages: Dutch and English. All STL files are availble on YouMagine.

We'd also like to thank the team of 3DKanjers for their support and invaluable help in creating this guide.

Want to find out more?

If you’d like to learn more about 3D printing and the possibilities for your classroom, be a part of Ultimaker’s community! You can join the discussion here. Alternatively, to access more exciting resources for educators, simply click here.

Download the lesson plan
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