It has long been recognized that, with the exception of the production of internet trolls, nature is a superb designer. For as long as the human mind has existed, we have copied its example either by mimicking the outer form of her designs or by utilizing the methods of generation that have led to so many wonderful creations. The visual interest of the skeleton, and in particular the skull, is immediately apparent to anyone who has been to a museum of natural history.
The three men behind Fire & Bone were moved by the beauty of the skull structures of animals ranging from the wolf to the lamb and a wide variety of others to create a series of pendants using 3D printing. With the introduction of their fourth collection, they now offer a total of 35 different species’ skulls in painstakingly perfected detail. It takes no more than a moment to understand the root of their success. Each piece is beautifully crafted, thanks in part of course to the high quality platform provided by natural selection.
Their process begins with the actual animal skull. The first step is to create a highly detailed digital image from the skull using a professional-quality 3D scanner. After the scan is complete, the model is scaled down in the computer to avoid any loss of detail. It’s not all high-tech wizardry that makes these tiny replicas so beautiful, however. The team at Fire & Bone works closely with an experienced, family-owned casting house to create the pieces using a lost wax method in order to ensure the retention of a high level of detail.
As so many other 3D print ventures have done, Fire & Bone has created a Kickstarter campaign to help alleviate the difficulties of laying out an overwhelming amount of resources up front. Unlike some other campaigns, the one they are running comes with the support of three successfully funded prior campaigns. And if you wondered if there could possibly be a market big enough to support four Kickstarter campaigns for diminutive, perfect animal skull replicas, a quick visit to the fundraising webpage would answer your question. Having set a fundraising goal of $6,000 they have already received 488 pledges for a total of $32,450, as of the time of writing.
The skulls are available in white bronze, yellow bronze, or sterling silver to be worn as pendants or displayed on their own wooden collector’s stand. If you’re looking for something a little larger, they are now also offering 3″ 3D printed versions of the wolverine, the merino ram, and the gray wolf in either white or matte black. The longer you look at the pieces, the more striking the level of detail, from the texture of the antlers to the inclusion of teeth, and in some cases even an articulated jaw. Everything about the skulls and their presentation, including their product photography, indicates a keen eye for design and a level of attention that inspires confidence.
For those with the foresight to back their campaign, a pendant of the backer’s choice, along with matching chain, is available for pledges of $35 or more, a more than 10% savings over the regular offer price (with the gratitude of the designers thrown in at no extra cost). And, of course, as you move up the donation chain, the rewards grow as well. The campaign ends July 12th, but Fire & Bone are here to stay and it appears likely that their subjects and their range of products will continue to grow. Discuss further in the Fire & Bone 3D Designs forum over at 3DPB.com.