The most interesting thing about 3D printing is that people are able to tailor their own observations about useful objects to their very specific experiences and needs. In 3D printing, you are confronted with so many design ideas that it almost boggles the mind. You see firsthand how others process a 3D printed world where if you can design and print it, you can have it. Just this week, I have reviewed several examples of 3D printed objects that I would have never thought of, but they make sense when you think about the designer’s own context and life. A 3D printed egg carry holder? Beer tap handles? What about a 3D printed Communion holder for your wafer and wine or grape juice?
I grew up Catholic, and because we were admonished to eat the entire Communion wafer (the “host”) before we went back to our seats, I would have never thought of this 3D printed Communion holder. For Catholics, it was controversial enough when the Church ruled that we could take Communion in our hands, instead of placed directly on our tongues by a priest. We were also told to eat the Communion wafer immediately. Well, you learn something new every day in 3D printing, and this is one example of a lesson on comparative Christianity. Apparently, Christians outside the Catholic Church have many more options for how they take their Communion.
Well, one person’s Communion is another’s Communion holder, right? In fact, the purpose and function of this 3D printed Communion holder is explained very clearly by its designer, Sacramento, California-based “kj6epl,” or Drew:
“Churches with pews are becoming a thing of the past. Many new ‘fashionable’ churches (especially those meeting in industrial parks & gymnasiums) now just use stackable chairs. While this creates better flexibility of the sanctuary, there is one very practical feature of pews that I miss: a holder for communion cups. Grape juice will stain just about anything, permanently, and there really is no good place to set the cup. My holder clips onto any convenient pocket on the back of a chair and holds 2 cups plus bread.”
Coincidentally, I have lived in Sacramento for years, and yes, I do recall many mega-churches popping up in strip malls and industrial parks. Drew, a young mechanical engineer who likes to tinker with technology and who belongs to a space program for Central California DIYers called JP Aerospace, has created a straightforward design with this holder that snaps easily to the back of a chair. It almost makes me think he can go into business printing these out en masse for all of these new churches he describes.
Like I said, 3D printing tells us much about people’s lives and the necessary objects they value and make through sheer inventiveness. You may have never thought of it yourself, and in this case I wouldn’t have because of how I grew up taking Communion. But I am sure there are plenty of church-goers and pastors who would love to get their hands on these Communion holders, in bulk if possible! Have you tried this project? Let us know in the 3D Printed Communion Holder forum thread on 3DPB.com.