Dyffryn Ardudwy neolithic burial chambers

Close to the beautiful coast of Cardigan Bay, on the windswept western side of Eryri (Snowdonia in English), sits the lovely village of Dyffryn Ardudwy. It’s easy to miss unless you’re a local, but here, a short walk up a path from the main road, you can find the remains of a pair of amazing neolithic burial chambers. The smaller of the two was erected the earliest, sitting alone for a few generations. But later the larger one was added and both became parts of a much larger wedge shaped cairn (stones piled in a structure) around 30m long. The site is well managed and looked after by CADW and you can read more about it on their webpage. And, of course, how could I resist the urge to create digital models when I visited, so I could 3D print some miniature versions.

Dyffryn Ardudwy burial chambers in west Wales
Dyffryn Ardudwy burial chambers in west Wales

Quick summary of this 3D creation
Overview: A photogrammetry 3D scan of a pair of neolithic burial chambers in west Wales.
Location: Dyffryn Ardudwy, west Wales [map].
Date/era: Neolithic.
Software used: Kiri Engine, Meshmixer, Blender, Nomad Sculpt.
Intended use: 3D printing down to 1:76 scale (Hornby OO).
Related posts: Cors y Gedol, Son of Dum Dum.
Download: MyMiniFactory page.

The 3D scanning was done with the Kiri Engine app on my Android smartphone, separately for the two structures. They were based on 164 12-megapixel photos for the larger structure, and 156 for the smaller one. The photos were taken from different heights and angles, as well as some facing into the voids to get a complete 3D digital representation. The models were then reoriented and trimmed in Meshmixer, before being resized in Blender based on measurements I took with my Bluetooth laser measure. Then I used Blender to extrude and fill an edge loop around the base, and Nomad Sculpt for some tidying-up sculpting and to split both scans into three parts to allow 3D printing without support material.

The larger burial chamber in NomadSculp
The larger burial chamber in NomadSculpt

Finally, Mesmixer was used again to trim and remesh the parts. Then I printed them on my Flashforge Adventurer 3D printer at 1:76 scale (Hornby OO) using silver PLA. After some trimming and sanding I glued the capstone parts together, leaving them separate from the bases so I could get inside for painting. Then I coated them with a high-build filler primer, followed by The Army Painter paints and some Citadel Technical Stormshield clear coat to reduce shininess. The grass was also from The Army Painter, stuck down with some Uhu general purpose glue, which I also used to attach the finished capstones to the bases. I painted a small OO-scale model of a walker and glued it on too, to add a sense of realism and scale.

The painted Dyffryn Ardudwy PLA 3D prints
The painted Dyffryn Ardudwy PLA 3D prints

I really enjoyed making my own miniature version of Dyffryn Ardudwy and I hope you enjoy making your own too (you can download the STL files in the link above) 🙂