3D Printed Formation Repair


Active member
Can anybody think of a formation that has broken that could be repaired with 3D printing?

I've recently started working for a large 3D printing company, and it's opened my eyes to the quality and range of things that are possible with the technology. It goes well beyond the common desktop Fused Deposition Modelling printers that have caught the public eye in recent years.

The damaged location could be 3D scanned, a model generated to match perfectly, and the surface could be designed to allow the rapid take-up of a calcite skin - at the advanced end of the technological scale.

I bet there's an ethical debate in here somewhere that the forum could have, but I'm more interested in the opportunities for conservation/replication from my personal point of view.


Well-known member
Very, very interesting, on all sort of levels. Can't think of anywhere off the top of my head (pun intended), but will keep watching the thread.


Well-known member
Didn't Hunters Lodge Inn Sink get f'ed up about a year ago.. is it worth contacting the people who pieced together the repair to try and find out if there was any bits unrepairable that this kind of process could help with..

Here's the original thread:


Active member
Everything in Peak Cavern, Stoney Middleton, Lathkill. Everything that ever had miners in it or was explored in Victorian times.


Well-known member
Why stop there? South Passage in GG, for example, is more or less devoid of formations. With a bit of creativity one could fill it with stal.  ;)


Active member
2xw said:
Everything in Peak Cavern, Stoney Middleton, Lathkill. Everything that ever had miners in it or was explored in Victorian times.

Thank you WW, your dedication towards conservation astounds even I.

Ian Ball

Well-known member
Don't fail the probation  (y)

If the pieces are there then reattaching is possibly preferable.  If they aren't colour match would be a task.


Well-known member
You couldn't replicate most formations unless they were scanned before they were broken...



New member
To make an *exact* replica? Yeah, sure.

To make something that looks exactly in place? No, just the base where the replacement will mount. I suspect most cavers will be able to produce a close approximation.


Time can be a factor, I've heard of South Island NZ where you can trash loads of big straws ect then three years later you can't tell the difference, in other places it might take millenia to get formations back the way they were if at all.

If photographs are available results will be better - more accurate.    This coud be a massive step forward in conservation.