The first major 3D printed piece for the Smithsonian Institution’s 3D digitization program has been installed, and it’s a whale of a print – literally. In collaboration with 3D Systems, the Smithsonian has created a prehistoric whale fossil with 3D scanning and printing. And at 20 feet in length, the prints are the largest existing of their kind. On display at the National Museum of Natural History along with a showcasing of different 3D printing and scanning technologies, the whale fossils have been finished and mounted to replicate the way they were discovered in the desert.

The Smithsonian has also established Smithsonian X 3D, a website for visitors around the world to follow the developments of the 3D revolution and learn about opportunities in 3D manufacturing, research and education. The Smithsonian has also made available free STL files of its collection for visitors to download and print, either at home or through the cloud. The complete collection includes approximately 20 artifacts, ranging in size from 12 cubic inches to 36 cubic inches.

The whale fossil is just the first of many 3D heritage projects the Smithsonian has undertaken in its multi-year partnership with 3DS. So enjoy this video, and remember to stay tuned for more!