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 IU Trident Indiana University

Enabling Library Special Collections Enclosures using 3D Digitizing and Automated Box Manufacturing

Project Lead: Jeff Rogers, UITS Research Technologies' Advanced Visualization Lab (AVL)

Research made possible by the IU Library Preservation and Lilly Library, the IU Center for Biological Research Collections, UITS Research Technologies' AVL, 3D scanning and modeling software, and a Kasemake machine

3D Digitization and Automated Box Manufacturing
Figure 1. The final enclosure and wood painting.

An IU collaboration successfully utilized 3D scanning and modeling techniques in conjunction with automated box-making technology to create a custom enclosure for a fragile wood painting. Traditional automated techniques for building enclosures were not sufficient because the painting exhibited extensive warping. It simply did not lay flat and benefitted from additional support across its entire surface.

This use case serves to demonstrate the power and flexibility of 3D digitizing techniques. The techniques used for this work could be applied to other objects which benefit from a custom enclosure. Enclosures which justify such tedious work are common in special collections libraries and museums.

This was a collaboration between three Indiana University units: the Lilly Library, the Center for Biological Research Collections, and the UITS Research Technologies' Advanced Visualization Lab. The project involved scanning and modeling the digital enclosure. Once the digital model had been refined and verified, staff built the enclosure layer by layer. The layers were fabricated using the digital data and a Kasemake machine.

IU’s Advanced Visualization Lab is funded through the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology; is a unit of UITS Research Technologies; and is affiliated with the Pervasive Technology Institute. For questions about this project or to request a consultation, please contact

NSF GSS Codes:

Primary Field: Multidisciplinary Studies (980) - Science, Technology, and Society

Secondary Field: Computer Science (401) - Information Science/Studies