Many times, artists and designers have asked me if I know ways to create custom objects using materials more “noble” than plastics. One of the most requested is marble. There are a few ways to go about it: one is by using TreeD’s Monumental filament, another is by simulating it with zirconia ceramics, like Prodways. Amsterdam-based designers Space Junk do it by strengthening, sanding, and polishing 3D System’s gypsum material for binder jetting technology.
Although it does not allow for extremely intricate geometries, the process implemented by Space Junk is at the heart of the studio’s Digital Marble collections. One is named Carrara, for Italy’s most famous marble quality, while the other, Nero, refers to black marble which is extracted both in Italy and Belgium.
The 3D printed marble collections include several ring designs and one cute looking miniature Tyrannosaurus Rex called Rexamus Bling. Each piece of digital marble is 3D printed and then carefully dipped by hand in a particular resin to strengthen the material. The resulting object is meticulously hand-sanded and polished to create the weight and smooth finish of real marble.
While this process does confer each product a ceramic-like quality, unlike real marble, the 3D printed pieces are delicate and should not come in contact with water. The advantage, on the other hand, is that you can select the size you want and order it to be made just for you.
In this sense, the Rexamus Bling – Carrara mascot is an even better fit. Only 100 pieces have been made and are already sold out. Each Rexamus is not only polished, but actually painted by hand and then finished with sterling silver elements (the eyes and teeth) to give it its “bling” effect. It is available in a black marble finish, as well, and, if you just can’t wait the 3-4 weeks necessary for on-demand manufacturing and delivery, you can always go for the Rexamus jumpers and baseball caps. There just is no way to 3D print – or even simulate – cotton just yet.