Once carried into battle by armor clad warriors, the mace has always held a place of respect. It was one of few weapons able to defeat armored knights. Even as it lost its place in battle, it kept its hard-earned respect. Only the guardians of royal families were to carry the now ornately decorated maces made of precious metals and bejeweled with rare gems. It became a symbol of the power and authority of the bearer and those the bearer represented.
This prestigious symbol now represents more than just governmental authority. In the academic world the search for truth and wisdom backed by the institution’s authority is often represented by a ceremonial mace. A proud mace bearer is traditionally seen carrying the school’s ceremonial mace at important events like graduations, meetings and other academic events in institutions of higher learning around the world.
A Mace Like No Other
This old world tradition was thrust firmly into the future with the creation of the ceremonial mace of RMIT University of Technology and Design in Australia. This intriguing object was crafted with innovative computational design and additive manufacturing processes befitting a school of technology.
The RMIT ceremonial mace features swirled meshes of printed titanium at both ends with a smooth polished central section. Professors Roland Snooks and Scott Mayson, both of the School of Architecture & Design‘s d___Lab, created this one of a kind design with a combination of cutting edge multi-agent swarm algorithm and selective laser melting metal 3D printing.
Technically Brilliant Yet Delicately Airy
This object was created with the use of a digitally optimized algorithm. This allowed the professors to eliminate the printing of any 3D support material. Other advanced algorithms were used to both simplify and enhance the original geometry into something that could be created with the selective laser melting technology. Only after all algorithms were complete were titanium powders fused into their final shapes.
The 3D mace was printed in titanium in four sections. Each section was of a different length and featured a uniquely fitting saddle joint for the best possible joint. Each section was microscopically laser welded together for a seamless look. After welding the sections together, the mace was hand finished. This included careful polishing along its primary surface for an eye catching look. It measures a full 1.2 meters long but weighs a mere 1.6 kilograms.
Brilliant Blend of Old and New
There are few technologies that offer the advantages and flexibility in design and use that 3D printing offers today. With metal 3D printing technology powered by advanced digital design nearly anything one can imagine can be created out of seemingly thin air. The mace’s complex mathematical swirls and advanced creation perfectly embody the technical scholar’s quest and the authority of the university. The talented professors of the School of Architecture & Design’s d___Lab have given RMIT a truly unique gift. This is a ceremonial mace that future generations of students will be proud to carry and stand behind on their graduation day.
Matthew Young is a freelance tech journalist and blogger hailing from Boston. He is passionate about new, emerging tech in the industry. When Matthew is not busy writing about awesome new technology, he usually spends time fiddling with his camera and learning a thing or two about photography. You can reach Matthew on Twitter @mattbeardyoung