Since it is possible to 3D-print ceramic, designer bathsheba experimented her first 3D printed ceramic oil lamp. Her oil lamp has a typical bathsheba style - trilaterally symmetrical. It has three fill holes for easy depowdering and a central reservoir for holding the oil.
For generating the Enneper surface she used Surface Evolver, an interactive program used in mathmatics for the modelling of liquid surfaces shaped by various forces and constraints. The holes, bullnose edges, decorations and interior fillets were modeled in Rhinoceros and the 3d model were exported to a STL file.
Since this was a first attempt, she has some "do and don't" to share.
Use cotton string or anything that's a natural fiber to make a wick, but don't use flammable synthetics such as nylon or polypro.
For oil choose vegetable oil or bacon grease but don't use a fuel such as alcohol or kerosene if you don't want the lamp to catch fire. With olive oil the lamp could burn for about four hours.
A stainless 6-32 T-nut can be an option to hold the wick vertical, and diffuse the heat at the base of the flame. Don't use galvanized metal which might gives off toxic fumes.
The lamp was printed at Shapeways and the cost was not cheap - $80. But bathsheba has learned that she need to make a more intelligent design for a practical application. She documented her practical issues in using the lamp. However this is still a very cool design, and most of all, it works perfectly and the 3D printing is very nice!
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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