Ceramic 3d printing exists. Every so often I’m reminded that I live in the future and that it is AWESOME. It needs some work, but egads is it great. As an experiment I printed a recent design, the foundation for some organ themed knuckle dusters, in Shapeways’ ceramic. It was remarkably light and very pretty but a bit on the flimsy side. My dad took a shine to them when I was showing them off around the workshop and he, meaning to look like a fifties gangser, donned them and then brought his knuckles into his palm. Cue crunchy noises and falling bits. Alas.
After some loving care and a bit of epoxy they were as good as nearly new. All in all they’re not the super durable porcelain I’d like them to be, but I’d definitely use the material again. I’ve been considering making some parts for a drink pouring robot in ceramic and this has not deterred me, though it has informed how I’ll pursue the design.
In other news I found out that the official bronze infused knuckle dusters that were a reward for backers of the Anywhere Organ Kickstarter got refused by Shapeways on grounds of being illegal in the country where the actual printing would take place. They were nice enough to send me a photo of the finished product in an email informing me the print would have to be chopped into little bits, jumped on, ground into a fine powder, sealed in concrete, the concrete block placed inside of a lead lined foot thick steel vault, and the vault fired into the heart of the sun. From what I can tell they came out nice, though.
I ended up getting some replacements printed through Ponoko. They seem like nice folks. I’ll have to wait and see what comes in the mail.
You can see more photos of the ceramic knuckles on Flickr.