Restorative 3D scanning is a piece of cake
You might not think of a wedding cake as being the type of thing that gets vandalized, but that's exactly what happened to a replica of the cake that was presented to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1947. Now, thanks to 3D scanning technology, a super-accurate copy of that replica is being recreated out of sugar.
The original cake was made by the Peek Frean baking company at the time of the wedding. It stood six feet tall (1.8 m), weighed 600 lb (272 kg), and was composed of six stacked tiers.
Sugar was used to create a full-sized replica of it, which was on display in Peek Frean's London factory until it closed in 1989. The replica then became part of a permanent exhibition in a London museum. When that museum moved to a new location, however, the very-fragile cake was temporarily left behind at the old building. Before its safe transit could be arranged, it was severely vandalized in 2015.
Led by Prof. Mark Williams, a team from the University of Warwick and the British Sugarcraft Guild is now performing 3D scans of what's left. With an accuracy of 0.1 mm, these scans are in turn being used to create a 3D computer model of the cake, in which the missing sections can be added back in. This allows molds to be made for the various sections of the cake, which are then being cast in sugar.
Once completed, the replica-of-a-replica will be put on display in the Peek Frean Museum.
"It was fantastic to apply our technology to such an exciting project and help restore such an iconic cake to its former glory, especially in the year of the Queen's Golden Anniversary," says Williams. "Usually we are working on engineering-related challenges, so to be able to take our expertise and transfer that to something totally different and so historically significant was a really interesting opportunity."
Source: University of Warwick