AN IRVINE museum are offering residents free access to make 3D prints of maritime artefacts.

The Harbourside tourist attraction have joined with 28 museums and cultural organisations across the world to give the public free and un-copyrighted access to enjoy, download and re-imagine 3D scans of some of the world’s most incredible historic artefacts, fossils and works of art.

Through the innovative open access initiative on the Sketchfab website, everyone, from artists, filmmakers and teachers through to hobbyists and students, can download, manipulate and use 1,700 3D scans commercially or non-commercially for free and without seeking permission or giving credit.

These include SY Carola, the oldest seagoing steam yacht in the world (from the Scottish Maritime Museum); the Apollo 11 Columbia command module and Abraham Lincoln Life Mask (Smithsonian Institution).

The Maritime Museum have shared 3D models and 360° virtual tours of almost 50 of Scotland’s most important historic vessels, maritime artefacts and shipbuilding tools on Sketchfab, the world’s largest platform for shared 3D content.

The museum began creating the 3D scans last year through Scanning the Horizon, a Museum project to help preserve and increase public access to Scotland’s national maritime heritage collection.

The museum is one of the first of such size in Scotland to embark on a major 3D scanning project to digitalise a whole collection.

The first 3D scans captured include MV Spartan - the only surviving Scottish-built ‘puffer.

David Mann, Museum Director said: “We are excited to officially launch our new and growing collection of 3D scans and virtual tours as part of the worldwide Sketchfab initiative and also on our own website.”