I’ve been Scanned: the Joys of 3D Printing

So last week I got invited to have my head scanned, and from that scan a 3D printer produced a sort of Mini-Me or Mount Rushmore lite. Just as cool as it sounds.


Author/artist Douglas Coupland was in town to scan ordinary folks for an art installation. He has visited communities across the country and scanned 2000 people (Halifax was the last stop). The project was commissioned by Simons, the department store that started in Quebec City, and the completed artwork will be installed in one of their new stores out west.

Here is Sheila being scanned by a technician with an iPad. He walks around her gathering information from all angles.


The tech particularly liked the sculptural quality of Sheila’s scarf, and when we picked up our “prints,” Sheila was a little larger and more statuesque (but who’s counting).


Coupland writes (he coined the term “generation X” ), is a social commentator, artist, and has designed a line of clothes for Roots. He seems to get a lot done. Here he is being interviewed by the grown-up media, plus some of his 3D printed images.

March 2017


  • The 3D scanning event took place in the new Discovery Centre. Quite a place! We didn’t have time to explore, but it feels like a winner. On a quick walk through the gift shop, the inflatable human digestive system attracted our attention. The recent trip to Mexico enabled us to “explore the inner workings of the digestive system” without an interactive model.


  • This is not the first time that I’ve been recorded in 3D. At museum school in 1971, I made a mold of my mouth using quick setting dental plaster and then produced a number of casts.  I painted them in various colour combinations.DSC_0006 DSC_0004-004
  • I have no idea how Coupland will assemble his 2000 scanned Canadians, but it made me think of the album cover of Sergeant Pepper’s. Dug out my copy bought 50 years ago.

Fullscreen capture 4112017 82631 PM


About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.