pic3Admiring 3D printed lamps is a guilty pleasure of mine (and of others on our staff). I am not sure what it is about them: perhaps their illuminating quality is enough. One recent series of 3D printed lamps really stands out due to their elusive qualities. They are hollow, and the LED lighting is embedded in the prints, so they give off the effect of lighting, but not from a clear source like a visible light bulb. Instead we are left admiring and pondering the lovely lights from Christo Logan’s ‘two.parts’ series of pendant lights. And get this: they are 3D printed in ceramic material!

In Logan’s ‘two.parts’ series, the lights’ electronic infrastructure is “hidden under smooth, white-glazed ceramics shell.”  Described in an i.materialise blog post as “sleek and minimalist,” the source of light emitting from these beautiful orbs “seems to come out of nowhere”– like an inexplicable phenomenon from a science fiction film set.

The lights have other amazing features, including the fact that they change contrast when you switch them on. It gets kind of complicated here for me, but the blog describes the lighting process quite well:

“When lit, the central void illuminates the interior, inverting the perception of each shape and causing the ceramic surfaces themselves to act as the light source.”

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This is a tale of a timeless material complementing and augmenting new technology, with creative design front and center.

If you ask Logan how he got into 3D printing in ceramics, he will tell you he has worked with ceramics since childhood. He is drawn to the material’s heat resistance, sustainability, and other important qualities:

pic2“Over the years I’ve used many digital and manual design/fabrication techniques – CNC milling, laser/waterjet cutting, casting, vacuum forming, MakerBot-ing, etc – but none are able to deliver well-finished, small-run objects as economically as 3D printing. I’ve worked with ceramics since childhood and, unlike with casting or fully manual construction, by printing the material, I can create complex hollow structures with internal details that hold and conceal the LED light sources, wiring, connection hardware (itself 3D printed in acrylic), and optical diffusers if necessary.”

As i.materialise explains, 3D printing with ceramics involves “alumina silica ceramic powder sealed with porcelain and silica.” The post-printing glaze is a non-toxic gloss that is also lead-free. Other attractive qualities include that the material is recyclable and heat resistant (up to 600°C), and it is the only available food safe 3D printing material. Due to its non-toxic qualities, it’s especially good to use the material for interior design projects — which is exactly what Logan has done here.

Logan’s 3D printed ceramic lamps reveal that he has been working with that material for a long time, and we can truly appreciate the pared-down, yet still magical, simplicity of his artistic vision. Check out Christo Logan’s 3D printed ceramic lamps if you want to shed some light on the practical and design benefits of 3D printing with ceramics: you won’t be sorry you did! What do you think of these designs? Discuss in the 3D Printed Lamps forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Images: Juan Ude, via Sculpteo]

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