The NTCRI merges the 3D printing of metallurgy with the artisanal manufacture of stone

0

NTCRI merges free-form digital metalworking into stone craftsmanship

What sort of chemistry unfolds when free-form digital metalworking meets solid stone craftsmanship? The National Taiwan Handicrafts Research and Development Institute (NTCRI) takes the concept of Transdisciplinary Mutual Creation to a whole new level as the integration between tradition and technology launches a pioneering project to Taiwan’s local handicrafts. Craftsman Hsu Ching Fu meets digital maker Li Jian You and the table is set; sculptural cutlery is proving to be a pioneering combination for the art world.

manufacturing and digital work of Guoxing sandstone

all images courtesy of NTCRI

craftsman Hsu Ching Fu meets digital maker Li Jian You

The project started when Hsu Ching Fu, an experienced stone craftsman meets Li Jian You, a digital fabrication specialist from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University. Li Jian You, head of digital design, points out that metal 3D printing has so far been mainly deployed in the medical and industrial fields. With that NTCRI project, a new opportunity arises as the technique begins to be applied in crafts and the cultural and creative industries. Hsu Ching Fu adds that modern technology could potentially provide various possibilities for stone craftsmanship and metalworking, which can then form an ideal combination of craftsmanship sensibility and 3D printing sense.

‘Stone craft is the ideal partner that metal 3D printing has been looking for for a long time!, said Li Jian You.

The NTCRI merges the 3D printing of metallurgy with the artisanal manufacture of stone
Li Jian You (right) and Hsu Ching Fu (left) with collected resources

a story about NTCRI’s new form of digital craftsmanship

Stonework has long been an iconic type of craft in Taiwan. In the days when immigrants from Fujian and Guangdong crossed the sea to Taiwan, the various types of granite used as ballast on ships were widely made into decorative and building materials for houses, as well as stone carvings. in temples. After being installed, the Nationalist government had actively exploited the mineral resources in the eastern part of the country, such as marble, serpentine and high-grade stone processing techniques. However, because stone is heavier and more difficult to work, its application was limited at the time to furniture, carvings, or small objects like door plaques.

The NTCRI comes to ask the question: can digital technology open up this art to new possibilities? With this in mind, the Institute offers a series of works that combine stone craftsmanship with 3D metal printing. Aimed at the food and menswear markets, the first launch includes tableware and razors that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

The NTCRI merges the 3D printing of metallurgy with the artisanal manufacture of stone
fossil spoon from Zhongliao, Nantao

Choosing razors, chopsticks and chopstick rests as first products is a strategic decision. Since stone materials and metal 3D printing technology are expensive, it makes more sense to target the high-end market with higher price acceptance. On the other hand, high-end tableware can be introduced into the fine dining and high-end hospitality industries, and can even go viral through collaborations with internet celebrities.

The NTCRI merges the 3D printing of metallurgy with the artisanal manufacture of stone
Hsu Ching Fu’s job is to refine and finalize the design after detailed review

white marble, hematite, sandstone and fossil

Regarding the types of stones used, Hsu Ching Fu has used its expertise to select a wide variety to provide diverse choices, including dark jade and white marble from Hualien, hematite from Puli, sandstone from Guoxing and Zhongliao Fossil, Nantao. Each of these five local materials has different properties. For example, dark jade is strong and tough and can resist fracture even when thinly sliced, making it ideal for delicate items. On the contrary, marble and sandstone have visible crystals and are easy to crack.

The NTCRI merges the 3D printing of metallurgy with the artisanal manufacture of stone
the delicate Hualien white marble fork

The duo demonstrated excellent teamwork, from concept to sampling and production. While Hsu Ching Fu handcrafted the stone parts, Li Jian You used the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) metal 3D printing machines to create the metal parts. It was Hsu Ching Fu’s job to refine and finalize the design, as the stone and metal pieces relied on the skill and experience of the craftsman. Various surface treatments such as polishing and sandblasting have also been carried out to perfect the finishes.

The NTCRI merges the 3D printing of metallurgy with the artisanal manufacture of stone
stone craftsman Hsu Ching Fu

Traditional craftsmanship and digital manufacturing complement each other. The natural grains and warm texture of stone bring an added feel to 3D printed products that were always meant to be mechanical and methodical. However, digital tools can also break the boundaries of traditional craftsmanship. For example, parametric modeling technology can show a preview of the final product, while 3D printing technology can help fabricate metal parts with greater freedom by solidifying metal powder into curved organic shapes through laser sintering.

Share.

Comments are closed.