Darwin's Treasure Chest. 3D-printable learning models project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$1,987 pledged of $38,000 goal
backers
By Chris Sloan
$1,987 pledged of $38,000 goal
backers

About

OUR AMAZING EVOLVING WORLD

We are fascinated by the story of life on Earth. We want to use the great technology available today to help kids, parents, teachers, and all of us feel comfortable with—and understand—evolution. YES, we EVOLVED! The story of life on Earth is an awesome one (and it took much longer than 10,000 years!) and 3D technology can help us tell it.

Three 3D printed test models
Three 3D printed test models
Most of the models are printed in pieces to accommodate the size restrictions of printers and save time. Part of what we need to explore is how to economize on materials as well.
Most of the models are printed in pieces to accommodate the size restrictions of printers and save time. Part of what we need to explore is how to economize on materials as well.
Assembly is easy. We'll provide painting instructions so kids can have fun coloring their own models.
Assembly is easy. We'll provide painting instructions so kids can have fun coloring their own models.

We're creating a series of 3D-printable models that will bring to life the amazing and unpredictable story of evolution in a way that is fun, educational, and scientifically accurate. Building and interacting with these creatures is a great way to learn about what life came before the living things that are all around us today. 

Test model before painting
Test model before painting
Test model after painting. Finished models like these are being offered as higher end rewards for support.
Test model after painting. Finished models like these are being offered as higher end rewards for support.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

Making accurate 3D models for computer-generated animation is a time-consuming task. We know. We've been doing it for years. Now, a whole suite of affordable 3D printers and materials are hitting the market. All of a sudden our 3D digital models can become physical without a huge price tag. Our goal is to build a set of scientifically accurate prehistoric models and offer them for download at a very low cost so they are accessible to schools, families, educators, and anyone who loves creatures as much as we do! 

To help us tell the right stories and get the critters as accurate as possible, we'll be working with leading experts. Dr. Kevin Padian, an evolutionary biologist at UC Berkeley and past president of the National Center for Science Education, will be our chief advisor. 

Along with the models, we're offering free downloadable content that can be printed out and stored in a 3D-printable "Darwin's Treasure Chest" that will also be available at low cost.

A 3d model design of the "treasure chest"
A 3d model design of the "treasure chest"

We would love create models telling the whole story of the evolution of life on Earth—from the first signs of life to modern biodiversity—but for this first Kickstarter campaign, we've decided that rather than try to do the whole thing, we would "chunkify" the story and focus only on the part that starts with the first large-bodied organisms and leads up to, nut does not include, the time of dinosaurs.  

So, this first campaign is called Life Before Dinosaurs. The money will go towards buying the 3D printers we need to proof the models, creating and testing the digital models (which takes a lot of trial and error, and creating the downloadable written and visual content that goes along with the models.

If this is funded at $38,000, we'll be able to make a set of 15 models and all of the downloadable content that goes with it. The majority of that cost is associated with the time it takes to create the models, work with experts to develop the content that goes with the models, and test our designs on 3D printers (which we have to buy) to make sure they print out well. The last thing we want is for people to be frustrated that their models don't print right. Any funds we get over our goal will go toward making the models for the next part of the story, the Age of Dinosaurs. 

We're working out all the challenges of 3D printing so the models print easily for teachers and students. You don't want THIS happening in the classroom.
We're working out all the challenges of 3D printing so the models print easily for teachers and students. You don't want THIS happening in the classroom.

The third part of the story, and the third set of models, will be about the Age of Mammals, will include the story of our ancestors. Where DID we come from? Are we still evolving? What do YOU think? 

The next set of creatures includes dinosaurs!
The next set of creatures includes dinosaurs!

And from there, well, we've got lots more ideas.

REWARDS

We're happy to have a whole string of rewards that we hope will be of interest. They range from original art to jewelry and models. Here is a photo gallery of some of the rewards. 

A poster by Ricky Lim
A poster by Ricky Lim
Poster of Xiongguanlong by Ricky Lim
Poster of Xiongguanlong by Ricky Lim
Original signed etchings
Original signed etchings
3D model jewelry designs (earrings, cufflinks, and pendant)
3D model jewelry designs (earrings, cufflinks, and pendant)
3D model design for trilobite card and pen holder
3D model design for trilobite card and pen holder
3D model design of picture frame
3D model design of picture frame
3D model design for pen holder
3D model design for pen holder

THE MODELS OF DARWIN'S TREASURE CHEST

So you can get a sense of where we are going with this project, we are sharing the tentative list of the three parts we've planned so far. We say "tentative" because we are going to be working closely with experts to make sure the models we make are the best for telling the stories that need to be told. RIght now, our list looks like this:

GROUP ONE: Before the Dinosaurs-$38,000 to fund

Proterozoic Era: Vendian period fauna

Model 1 Dickinsonia 

Model 2 Fossil trackways 

Paleozoic Era: Cambrian fauna 

Model 3 Anomalocaris 

Model 4 Pikaia 

Model 5 Conodonts 

Paleozoic Era: Ordovician fauna 

Model 6 Jaekelopterus (eurypterid) 

Model 7 Orthoceras (cephalopod) 

Paleozoic Era: Silurian fauna 

Model 8 Hemicyclaspsis (agnathan (jawless fish)) 

Model 9 Nostolepis (acanthodian (jawed fish)) 

Paleozoic Era: Devonian fauna 

Model 10 Eusthenopteron or Coelacanth (sarcopterygians: fleshy finned vertebrates) 

Model 11 Titaalik 

Paleozoic Era: Carboniferous fauna 

Model 12 Hylonomus or Paleothyris (early reptile) 

Model 13 Gerrothorax (temnospondyl) 

Paleozoic Era: Permian fauna 

Model 14 Dimetrodon or Ophiacodon (synapsid-pelycosaur) 

Model 15 Youngina (diapsid) 

GROUP TWO-The Age of Dinosaurs 

Mesozoic Era: Triassic period fauna 

Model 1 Effigia (crurotarsan) 

Model 2 Herrerasaurus (dinosaur) 

Model 3 Temnodontosaurus (icthyosaur) 

Mesozoic Era: Jurassic period fauna 

Model 4 Daxiatitan (sauropod) 

Model 5 Tuojiangosaurus (ornithischian) 

Model 6 Hadrocodium (mammal) 

Model 7 Ramphorhynchus (pterosaurs) 

Model 8 Archaeopteryx (avian dinosaur) 

Mesozoic Era: Cretaceous period fauna 

Model 9 Tyrannosaurus (theropod) 

10 Parasaurolophus (ornithischian) 

GROUP THREE-The Age of Mammals 

Cenozoic Era: Paleocene through Miocene epoch fauna 

Model 1 Hyracotherium (early horse) 

Model 2 Eosimias (early primate) 

Model 3 Dryopithecus 

Model 4 Rhodocetus (early whale) 

Model 5 Basilosaurus 

Model 6 Moerotherium 

Cenozoic Era: Pliocene through Pleistocene epoch fauna 

Model 7 Mammuthus 

Model 8 Australopithecus afarensis 

Model 9 Homo neandertalensis 

Model 10 Homo sapiens 

Risks and challenges

First challenge: Arriving at the final list of creatures. There are literally thousands of known fossil organisms to choose from. We have to whittle that down to 35!

Second challenge: The written didactic content that goes along with each creature needs to tell a coherent, effective story. It also needs to work, as much as possible, with the curricula teachers are working with.

Third challenge: Making accurate, scientist-approved models. There is lots of back and forth between the art team and the experts. This is time-consuming, but necessary. The biggest part of this challenge is finding the right balance between accuracy and 3D-printability (see below).

Fourth challenge: Making the models 3D-printable. Producing accurate digital models, no problem. Producing accurate models that work well on low-cost printers? THAT takes time and a lot of testing on 3D printers, which we will need to buy. We are designing two versions of each creature. One version is for low-end 3D printers like the Makerbot and the Cube. Another set is more detailed and can be printed on high-end 3D printers. This way, we can make sure that everyone get something that suits.

The Risk: We feel the biggest risk is that the current popularity of 3D printing turns out to be a passing fad. We're gambling that at least some of what the pundits and evangelists are saying about 3D printing is true. (see http://qz.com/118678/why-the-market-for-3d-printing-will-triple-in-five-years/ for example) and that 3D printing will follow desktop printers, scanners and similar technology and become commonplace. The key to the success of Darwin's Treasure Chest, from our perspective, is that more and more 3D printers appear in schools and homes sooner rather than later.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Have fun with a full-color screensaver designed by former National Geographic art director Chris Sloan and Ricky Lim featuring some Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures in a beautiful scene.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Be one of the first to get a "hot-off-the-computer" 3D-printable digital model of one of the Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures (your choice of a model formatted for consumer level 3D printers).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get a five-pack of "hot-off-the-computer" 3D-printable digital models of the Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures (your choice of models formatted for consumer level printers).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    11 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Are you a collector or a hard core science buff? Get a high-rez version of one digital model of a Darwin's Treasure Chest creature. The model is formatted to be printed on higher-end 3D printers in an array of materials. Makes a great study or display piece.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    We've made a treasure chest for your loot! Get a 3D-printable digital model of Darwin's Treasure Chest (formatted for consumer level printers). Store your info cards or even loose treasure!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Don't have a 3D printer? We'll send you one 3D-printed model from Darwin's Treasure Chest in colorful plastic.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Collect an amazing, original artwork. A 2" x 3" signed etching of a prehistoric Darwin's Treasure Chest creature by former National Geographic art director Chris Sloan.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Brighten any room with a printed and signed full color poster designed by former National Geographic art director Chris Sloan and Ricky Lim featuring some Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures in a beautiful scene.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Get a 3D-printable digital model of Darwin's Treasure Chest (formatted for consumer level printers) personalized with YOUR name. Store your info cards or even loose treasure!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Get an autographed copy of "What Does It Mean to Be Human?," a great resource on human evolution that is the companion book for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Hall of Human Origins (signed by the authors).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Get a set of all 15 "hot-off-the-computer" 3D-printable digital models of Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures formatted for consumer level printers.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Satisfy your miniature collecting spirit! Get one miniature (about 2 in.) antiqued bronze 3D printed model of a Darwin's Treasure Chest creature.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Guys and gals, get a great pin with one of the Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures for your lapel, hat, or scarf. Pin it wherever you like! Great stocking stuffer in polished silver or gold plate.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Do you know anyone who collects charms for bracelets? Here is a charm that they'll never find anywhere else—a polished silver creature from Darwin's Treasure Chest!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Collect an amazing, original artwork. A 5" x 7" signed etching of a prehistoric Darwin's Treasure Chest creature by former National Geographic art director Chris Sloan.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Want something really unique for your prehistoric creature-loving friend? Get a set of polished silver or gold-plated cufflinks with one of the Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Another great jewelry option! A pendant (figure size about 1 in.) in gold plated or polished silver of one of Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    Looking for a special place to put a photo of your loved one? Try this "Dickinsonia" picture frame. Printed in antique bronze.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Enrich your child or inner child! Get all eight award-winning National Geographic children's books by author Chris Sloan, autographed just for you.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Calling all serious science art collectors! Get a full size high-rez model of a Darwin's Treasure Chest creature printed in antiqued bronze.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  21. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Collect an amazing, signed original artwork. An 8" x 10" signed etching by former art National Geographic art director Chris Sloan featuring some Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures in a beautiful scene.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  22. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    It's unique! A personalized trilobite business card holder printed in antiqued bronze. Designed by Ricky Lim.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  23. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Put down your pen in a place of distinction—an orthocone pen holder. (Orthocones were a squid-like creature with a long cone-shaped shell). Printed in antiqued bronze.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  24. Select this reward

    Pledge $275 or more About $275

    Another great jewelry option! Gold plated or polished silver ring featuring a Darwin's Treasure Chest creature.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  25. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Museum quality. Each piece is unique. Signed by the artist. We are only offering a very few. Full size model of a creature from Darwin's Treasure Chest hand painted by former National Geographic art director and artist Chris Sloan.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  26. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Satiate your inner ultimate collector. A full set of miniature (about 2 in.) antiqued bronze 3D printed models of the first 15 Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  27. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    3D printed color textures prepared by CG texturing pro, Ricky Lim, is what makes this set special. You'll get a full color set of all 15 Darwin's Treasure Chest creatures. They are printed on high-end printers in ceramic for you to display with pride.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  28. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    This is the ultimate. Former National Geographic art director and artist Chris Sloan will create custom sets of all 15 models. Full size. Hand painted. Museum quality. Each piece is unique. Signed by the artist.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  29. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    If you are a science art collector you'll have to add this to your collection. Only five sets of all 15 creatures will be printed full size in bronze. "Full size" means the scale they were prepared at for 3D printing.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (28 days)