Additive Manufacturing

This project is an ongoing collaboration between artists, engineers, curators and designers from Lancaster University and beyond, exploring how Additive Manufacturing – otherwise known as 3D Printing – can enrich our understanding and experience of cultural heritage.


With the Peter Scott Gallery as our testbed, this project utilizes cutting-edge 3D Printing technology to identify new ways for our audience to engage with Lancastrian Pilkington Pottery, a key part of our Collection. 

Using current data-capturing methods, objects from the PSG Pilkington Pottery collection have been digitised, and 3D replicas printed. The challenge of recreating the pearlescent finish, characteristic of the Pilkington pots, has provided an exciting opportunity to explore how digital data-capture process can be improved. Current limitations to data-capture often mean that replicas, although a close representation, do not have the same level of tactility as ‘the real thing’. Using new techniques, we have been able to produce a series of coloured, textured 3D objects, which give an insight into the sensory qualities of the original.

Working with LUSU, during our school visits children are now able to experience our Pilkington Collection in an immediate, tactile way through its 3D-printed counterparts, developing their understanding of art and its processes.

Having established an interdisciplinary research community at Lancaster, the project has broadened its network to include both commercial and cultural partners, hosting 3 Research Symposiums (‘Sandpits’) to explore the current use of Additive Manufacturing technologies in a variety of settings. 


Lancaster Arts has worked in partnership with the Engineering Department (Lancaster Product Development Unit), who have been actively collaborating with The Kendal Museum, Cumbria, in the digital reproduction of ancient Egyptian artefacts. Glasgow School of Art has brought further expertise from their exploratory work with communities in the Western Islands of Scotland, particularly the St Kilda Centre, Uig, Lewis, where they are creating a digital repository of historical artefacts. We are also working with Museotechniki Ltd, Athens, Greece ( who have been using low-end additive manufacturing to print museum replicas for use in schools in the UK and across Europe, and Museum In A Box, who create interactive reproductions of museum objects. 


For more information on the project you can download this PDF