Lead Forensics

Cultural Heritage Meets Cutting-Edge Scanning Technology

Feb 20, 2024 | 3D Scanning, Artifacts, Museums & Collections, News, Sculpture

PES Scanning has supported a major restoration project at Wentworth Woodhouse that will help preserve its 18th-century Germanicus statue for generations to come and open up new ways to raise vital funds for the stately home.

Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham in South Yorkshire, is one of the grandest stately homes in the UK and is run by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust. The centuries-old Germanicus statue is of huge cultural significance and value to the home as it was commissioned by the Second Marquess of Rockingham in the 1750s and created by the same artist who made sculptures for the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome.

The Trust has embarked on an ambitious project to repair and preserve the Germanicus; using reverse-engineering technology to create a highly accurate digital blueprint of the statue so that not only can it be recreated should it ever get seriously damaged, but also to explore creating miniature replicas that can be sold to raise vital funds for the large-scale restoration of the home. To do this, the Trust collaborated with PES Scanning and The University of Sheffield AMRC, a member of the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult network.

PES Scanning which is part of Performance Engineered Solutions (PES) Ltd, was responsible for 3D scanning Germanicus and optimising the digital ‘point cloud’ model of the statue created from the scanning.

A hand-held 3D laser scanner was used to capture the detail of the statue to an accuracy of 0.020 mm and a resolution capability of 0.01mm. The scanner works by projecting lines of laser light onto the surface of the statue while 2 sensor cameras continuously record the changing distance and shape of the laser lines in three dimensions as it sweeps over the statue, taking up to 1.6 million measurements per second.

Once the individual measurement points are captured, specialist software meshes the points into surfaces. The meshing process calculates how the points relate to each other to join them together into surfaces. These joined-up points are called point clouds which once created can be loaded into CAD platforms to enable items to be used in many ways, for example, to be redrawn for reverse engineering or design optimisation. They can also be used as in this case for 3D printing.

Carl Mason, senior metrology applications engineer at PES Scanning said: “PES scanning provides metrology and 3D scanning services for a range of different industries from aerospace to construction. We’re using data-capturing technology to address the heritage challenges of today from restoration to preservation. The technology allows us to visualise how these items or buildings were back when they were originally built, and it helps us restore them if needed to their former glory.

“As a company that is constantly looking to expand the horizons and the areas that we work in, this project at Wentworth Woodhouse with the AMRC is a fantastic opportunity, and we were very excited to be a part of it.”

The AMRC’s design experts then used the scans to 3D-print three miniature replicas, which weigh 348 grams and stand at just 29 cm tall – a fraction of the height of the real Germanicus which is 180 cm tall. The replicas were manufactured using a Photocentric LC Magna 3D Printer, which is capable of creating large, high-detail, low-cost parts. This polymer AM technology uses an LCD Mask approach to fully expose each print layer instantly, allowing the production of 3 statues in 31 hours.

The project not only connected the two dots of cultural heritage and technology but also highlighted the role of future young generations in preserving our history and the importance of equipping them with technical skills.

Our scanning apprentice Harry Howson who is studying at the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre apprentice, helped scan and digitise the statue.

Talking about his experience, Harry said: “I’m an apprentice at PES Performance and I’ve just completed my first year of studies at the AMRC Training Centre. This project was a fantastic opportunity to use 3D scanning within a project that’s quite interesting and outside of the usual traditional engineering situations that we see.”

Harry continued; “Coming from a family of engineers, I understand the importance of experience within the engineering field. “I decided to choose the apprenticeship route which allowed me to have the best of both worlds, through the University as well as while working full-time at PES Performance.

“At the end of it, I’m also debt free which is a major bonus for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this project as I got to see the full cycle of it and the final products at the end, which usually one doesn’t get to see.”

Steve Ash, digital projects manager at Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust says The Trust is looking at a range of ways in which the scans of Germanicus m could be used to create merchandise that could be sold in the Wentworth Woodhouse shop.

He said: “Under consideration at the moment are ideas to sell small, museum-quality replicas of Germanicus, either as statues or as bookends. We may also create confectionary lines using the scans to create edible versions of the statue.

“The use of digital technologies at Wentworth Woodhouse is still in its early stages, but there’s no doubt that it will have an important role to play in both conservation and entrepreneurialism. The project collaboration with the AMRC and PES Scanning has shown the possibilities that lie ahead, and we are very much looking forward to continuing collaborating.”

See more about the project in this video from Wentworth Woodhouse’s YouTube Channel.










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The PES Scanning blog provides information and news on the scanning and engineering services we offer. The blog also includes views from our team and information about projects we’ve been working on.