The UK tradition of celebrating the holiday season with Christmas crackers is gradually spreading to the US. It’s also making its way into the sphere of 3D printing with a fun, 3D printing oriented holiday season project by Faberdashery. Faberdashery, a Frome, Somerset, England-based 3D printing company, which offers a variety of 3D printing related services, concluded their 2013 “25 Days of Making” holiday project by sharing their design for 3D printed Christmas crackers on Thingiverse and YouMagine. Now updated with three new designs for 2014, users can download the designs and print them using the open source models and their own home printers.
What’s a Christmas cracker, you ask? More commonly than out of 3D printed materials, they are made from thin cardboard tubes that are wrapped with brightly decorated Christmas paper that is twisted and tied off at each end (looking like a big piece of wrapped candy). They are usually sold in boxes of around three to twelve with each individual Christmas cracker being decorated differently.
Traditionally, they are handed out at Christmas dinner or before or after gift exchanges. The idea is that two people, often with arms crossed, hang onto opposite ends of the cracker and pull, breaking the cracker and loosing its contents, which are typically a colorful paper hat, pieces of candy, small trinkets, or even a joke, riddle, or aphorism on a small strip of paper (or all of the above). Some crackers have snap like a cap gun when opened. The hats were to be worn throughout Christmas dinner.
The Faberdashery “elves” are clearly quite 3D design and printing savvy as their array of 3D printed objects demonstrates. The Christmas crackers, which are obviously lacking the brightly decorated wrapping, look a little bit like old-school tubes for pneumatic tube systems yet still seem to function somewhat like the traditional crackers. We imagine, however, that they make up for the less dazzling exterior by concealing three surprises on the inside. There are three different crackers which evidently, when opened, reveal 3D designs printed on the inside.
Faberdashery’s designers also note that, unlike traditional cardboard, the 3D printed crackers are not as easily disposed of after being pulled — so they’ve made the tubes themselves part of the decor:
“Once you’ve pulled your crackers you can turn the ends around, string them together through the special holes and hang on your tree as a cracker decoration!”
Let us know what you find if you print out these Christmas crackers! Keep us posted on your findings in the 3D Printed Christmas Crackers forum thread over at 3DPB.com.