Kristoffer Rønn-Andersen recently graduated with a Master’s degree in engineering, but he found that he just couldn’t resist the call of the creative. Having started out by designing a few gifts for his girlfriend, he soon found himself unable to turn away from the maker’s siren song and now works full time creating, promoting, and running his own business called Primal Crafts. Much of the inspiration for his pieces comes from Norse mythology, although his works represent a synthesis created by a mind with a broad variety of interests. One common thread that runs throughout his body of work is the use of 3D printing as the method to bring his vision from paper to product.
Not the first person to discover the fascination of combining the ancient with the absolutely new, his embrace of the technology has given him the benefits so regularly associated with 3D printing: the ability to keep stock to a minimum, create customized pieces, and to push outside of what would be possible with more traditional manufacturing techniques. But he loves 3D printing for more than just what it can do for him. In an interview with i.materialise, he explained the broader pull of the technology:
“I like to challenge the ordinary, both in terms of esthetics and style, but also in terms of the distribution and manufacturing, which is where 3D printing fits in the brand…3D printing democratizes manufacturing – it makes it easier for people without the financial means to start something at low risk. If 3D printing had not been as accessible to me as it is, I would probably not have started Primal Crafts. So without 3D printing, Primal Crafts would never have existed.”
The truth of the matter is, though, that 3D printing cannot make up for poor design or undesirable product. As much as Rønn-Andersen benefited from the technology, it is the quality of his designs that truly make his business a success. There is a simplicity and authenticity to the pieces he creates that pulls forward the ‘realness’ of ancient objects. Rather than just being copies of things, his creations are imbued with a touch of the shamanistic, serving as vessels for a connection with time and place, rather than launching themselves unanchored as timeless and universal. Instead of breaking his collection into a series of unrelated one-off pieces, his ability to comfortably move among a complex web of influences is what provides the identity of the whole:
“I feel my broad line of influences gives my jewelry a uniqueness that gives the business a breath of fresh air…In the beginning, the individual pieces were not that similar, but over time my design language has become more refined, which has created a more coherent assortment of designs.”
Rønn-Andersen sees his pieces as more than just objects that happen to be produced by 3D printing, but instead sees that production technology as something that must be woven in throughout the design process. Sometimes he starts with a hand-drawn sketch of his idea, but more often than not, he begins by working directly in a 3D modeling software such as Rhino, SolidWorks, or Blender. This means that he is thinking about things such as wall thicknesses right from the beginning as part and parcel of the piece, not something to be retroactively gamed to make it work.
“To me, it is crucial that these aspects are integrated into the early design of the pieces, otherwise they might not turn out well, either because the piece is not printable or because you have to make last minute changes to the dimensions which ruin the design.”
It’s the marriage of an engineer’s attention to detail and the creative thinker’s artistic eye that draw customers back to Primal Crafts again and again. And I have a hunch that that’s not about to become a thing of the past. Discuss in the Primal Crafts forum at 3DPB.com.[Images: Primal Crafts]
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