Combinatory Manufacturing: steel 3D printing & Revoltech joints - Shapeways Magazine
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Combinatory Manufacturing: steel 3D printing & Revoltech joints

Rose Keeper is just an incredible stainless steel 3D printed model by Mani Zamani. It was made by using Shapeways together with Revoltech joints. The model is unique and by using the standard joints, good movement is added to the model at little cost. 

It is a great example of what I call Combinatory Manufacturing. Combinatory Manufacturing is using a high end production process that produces unique parts and then combining them with existing mass manufactured parts to add functionality. The unique characteristics of the high end process coupled with the standardized, cheap and available parts. We have lots of examples on Shapeways of this happening ranging from the technological such as the RC helicopters to jewelery such as the Marble Pendants. You can see a video of one of Magic’s great marble pendants here and his Shop is here.

Combinatory Manufacturing is a best of both worlds approach using pre-existing functionality in mass produced parts in a novel, useful or interesting way. Some uses such as Mani’s use of Revoltech joints in his Rose Keeper model use the mass manufactured parts in expected ways but to great effect.

Chris Jackson’s hot Watering can re-purposes a hot water bottle as a dual use hot water bottle & watering can by adding a 3D printed fitting to it. An earlier example of something like this is the 2006 Meta-Morphose initiative. These kinds of products extend the functionality of mass produced products into new areas.

I believe that we will lots of very very interesting things occurring with Combinatory Manufacturing in the coming years. It will be a simple way for designers to design much more complex items and also allow them to leverage their way into people’s lives much easier. Instead of coming up with all the functionality within the confines of your own design you can simply make something that bolts on to something else. 

Of course Combinatory Manufacturing is nothing really new. Marcel Duchamp was making his readymade’s as far back as 1913. His repurposing of the Bicycle wheel seen here or the urinal as seen in his hugely important Fountain piece(that pissed off a lot of people), would fit comfortably into what I’m describing above. Indeed Chris Jackson portion of the TEN XYZ show that includes the water bottle is called “Digital Readymades.” So in Duchamp we all have a precursor. And Duchamp not only deserves credit for his huge influence on the art world but also in being remarkably prescient as far as the development of technology is concerned. Duchamp’s repositioning of the functionality of art, artist, spectator as well as the objects themselves however was, in my opinion, intended as more of a theoretical exercise. Combinatory Manufacturing differs because it will become a purely practical endeavor.

What could you combine with a 3D print so that the combined product could exceed the functionality of both the print and the mass produced part? What is something standard that you could repurpose? What technologically complex but cheap item do you have that you could do amazing things with?

Photo Credits:



Chris Jackson

James & Vilija       


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