Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Scans of Pacific Northwest Mountains Translate into Beautiful Beeswax Candles, Now on Kickstarter

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5ee8927a392fa2f86bc9184fcbfd5d28_originalLike many people I know, I have way too many candles. There’s a reason companies like Yankee Candle and White Barn do such good business: people love candles. They smell wonderful, they’re pretty to look at, and there’s something about lighting a candle that instantly makes an environment feel more peaceful. I find watching a candle burn to be very meditative, and I love the patterns that the melted wax makes as it drips down the sides and solidifies, resembling everything from icicles to mountainous topography.

Bradley Swift, an entrepreneur from Portland, Oregon, also has an appreciation for candles and the exquisite shapes that can be created in wax. Swift has been keeping bees for several years, and five years ago he channeled his hobby into a business called Portland Bee Balm, which makes and sells lip balms made from beeswax. As he worked with the beeswax, Swift began to think that he could do something more with the material. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, he had a reverent appreciation for the mountains surrounding his home, and realized that their topography would make for striking candles.

“The idea to make candles comes naturally around all this beeswax,” says Swift. “I waited because I wanted to make something special and unique. Something that didn’t already exist in the world. Something I could have in my home, that reminds me of the amazing spaces right outside my door.”

Rather than attempting to approximate the appearance of the mountains, Swift turned to a friend who works for a geo-spatial technology company and has access to sophisticated light radar (LiDAR) technology. This friend was able to procure detailed topographical data from Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens, which he then sent to another friend who works in video game design. The designer translated the data into 3D models, which he and Swift then 3D printed. Those prints were used to create silicone molds, into which beeswax was poured, resulting in beautifully detailed, perfectly accurate representations of the mountains in candle form.

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Those candles are now up on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $8,000 by July 22. Under the newly coined name of Cascadia Candles, Swift and his cohorts are offering the three mountain designs, in either beeswax or soy candle form, for very reasonable pledge amounts.

cbe0e995dcccdd655b1aa32729688830_originalFor a contribution of $12 or more, supporters will receive a set of tealight candles in the shape of all three mountains. (Swift intends to eventually create models of several other mountains as well.) For $30, backers will receive a large concrete model of the mountain of their choice, and $35 gets you a large candle in the shape of whichever mountain you prefer. (An early bird reward offers the same for $30.) For $60, supporters will receive both a large candle and a concrete model, and $100 will get you all three large candles plus a set of tealights. All candles are available in either golden beeswax or white soy.

Finally, for a contribution of $250, backers will be invited to an official launch party for Cascadia, at which they will be able to make their own candles or concrete models. (Also, free drinks!) The candles will be on display at MadeHere PDX for the duration of the campaign, so if you’re in the Portland area, stop by and take a look.

“From getting the best data, to designing the digital models, to 3D printing, casting, wick selection and beeswax quality, every detail of each step was carefully considered to bring you the highest quality candle for your home, says Swift. “Cutting edge manufacturing and information technology meet one of the world’s oldest inventions, the candle. The result brings people closer to the natural world.”

Take a look at the Kickstarter video below. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Beeswax Molds forum over at 3DPB.com.

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