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3D Printers in Forensics

From the Printware Blog on Saturday 1st August 2015 in 3D Printing, News, Printing Technology

If you managed to catch even a glimpse of NCIS: Los Angeles’ new series, you may have noticed their use of 3D printing. In the episode, In the Line of Duty, the team use a 3D printer to reconstruct the crime scene completely, using just photographs. We won’t give too much away, though what we will say is despite the show’s fictional themes, there is some truth to it, particularly in this episode.

3D printing is renowned for its versatility and, more specifically, its uses in different industries, including forensics. It is important to remember though that the concept of using 3D printing to depict crime scene models isn’t unheard of. However, the fact that it’s been around for a few years doesn’t make this technology or its purpose any less effective.

So, let’s take a look at just a few of the ways this technology has been integrated into the way forensics is carried out, and how it makes the process more efficient.

Forensics in the Lab


One of the most popular uses of 3D printing in forensics is reconstructing pieces of evidence that may have been damaged or worn. Take footprints, for example. Not only can this technology recreate an accurate image of a person’s footprints in dirt or snow, but it can also be an eye-opener for forensic investigators too.

3D Model of Suspects

Arguably, one feature that requires the most accuracy and precision is the process of remodelling the physical appearance of a suspect. There are several ways this is done, including having a specialist artist to recreate the image of a suspect using a witness. 3D printing is another though, and can offer an invaluable depiction whilst maintaining high levels of accuracy.


Of course, a fair share of incidents is accidents, such as motor and industrial cases, and 3D printing can help here too. Not only can they help to reveal the cause of the accident, but they also provide an accurate recreation of the incident. This can help to identify who was at fault, if anyone, which is paramount to coming to a conclusion in terms of how to rectify the situation.

These are just three ways 3D printing is involved in the forensic science industry. Do you have any more that you’d like to share? Of course, if you're not quite at the stage of 3D printing yet, but would benefit from a printer model like the Xerox ColorQube 8580, view our site!

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