urn53D printing takes the idea of creating custom goods and products to the extreme. If it can be modeled in computer software, then it can probably be 3D printed. We’ve seen customized jewelry, action figures, and prostheses made using the combination of 3D modeling and 3D printing.

For one woman, the technology aided in a way that most of us probably wouldn’t ever even consider. After her father-in-law passed away, she wanted to do something special for certain family members. Her father-in-law lived his life in the city of Harlingen, the Netherlands, where there stands a statue that is very significant to the city. Built hundreds of years ago, it was constructed to remind residents of a great flood that swept the original statue away. This statue honors one of the men who organized the rebuilding of the city, and the dikes within, following the flood.

She decided that she wanted to create a one-of-a-kind urn for her father-in-law’s ashes, so she contacted her uncle, Andy de Bruin, who is a skilled 3D modeler, and also happened to have experience with 3D printing.

“She knew I had a 3D printer at that time so I gave her some tips,” de Bruin tells 3DPrint.com. “She found artists, sculptors, even someone who could model it and print it, but in the end it would cost a small fortune apparently. So that search turned out to be a bit of a let down and she contacted me again. This time I had sold my own 3D printer so I told her I would give it a try for modelling the whole thing but the printing part would be another challenge, especially involving the cost of having it printed.”

De Bruin’s niece provided him with a lot of reference photos, as well as a small miniature replica that she found in her travels. Within a few days’ time, de Bruin had 3D modeled a very accurate and detailed 3D model of the statue.

de Bruin's modeling work.

de Bruin’s modeling work.

“The challenge was to make it hollow to save on material and costs,” de Bruin tells us. “Also I thought it would be better to split the statue up so it could act like a container. By making it into 2 separate pieces, finding the right printer would be much easier since the total height would be around 20cm. This way people could print it with much better results (less warping etc.) and detail. For a nice personal touch I thought it would be nice to replace the original text on the base of the statue with some factual data of the deceased person, making it really personal.”

urn2Because de Bruin no longer owns a 3D printer himself, he suggested that his niece use 3DHubs in order to find someone who could print the design for her. He had experience with 3DHubs in the past, and thought it would be the perfect solution for her to have the design printed in a location close to her home. She ended up choosing Elwin’s Hub, and Elwin 3D printed the entire urn on his Wanhao Duplicator 4x 3D printer, at a resolution of 0.15mm, in white ABS plastic.

“As everyone knows, ABS has the tendency to warp, so the first challenge was to begin with the top piece of the object,” Elwin explained. “It is a hollow object and the small edges make adherence to the build plate difficult. I tackled this by adding a brim consisting of 20 outlines. It was printed directly onto a glass plate covered with a thin layer of hairspray and heated to 110 degrees celsius, also to prevent warping.”

When all was said and done, all parties were extremely happy with the outcome. De Bruin’s niece was able to have a custom urn made for her father-in-law, something she knows he would absolutely have loved to see for himself. She painted the urn in silver to give a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

This is a tremendous example, showing that even if you don’t own your own 3D printer, you can easily and affordably still have access to the technology. Better yet, you can have access to those who know what they are doing with the technology as well, thanks to 3DHubs.

What do you think of this unique 3D printed urn? Would you ever attempt to do something like this yourself? Discuss in the 3D printed urn forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out some more photos of the urn below.

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