Dec 15, 2014 | By Alec

December is a time for good food, family and hopefully lots of (3D printed) Christmas presents. But it's also a time to help some of the less fortunate in society, and we're therefore very happy to report that one company from Charleston, West Virginia has found a way to do that through 3D printing.

For Charleston Newspapers, the publisher behind the local papers Charleston Daily Mail, Charleston Gazette and the Saturday-Sunday Mail-Gazette, will be selling 3D printed Christmas tree ornaments to the benefit of the Daily Mail's Neediest Cases Appeals and Gazette Charities. This is a section in the local paper that raises awareness about specific local cases in desperate need of a bit of help, and includes terminally ill children facing expensive medical bills, disabled people who can't make ends meet and elderly people who can't afford heating during the winter. Concerned readers can donate money for specific causes, or for the program in general.

But like last Christmas, the publishing company is doing something extra for these suffering locals this December. A total of 200 special-edition ornaments will be on sale for $20 each, and the proceeds will entirely go to that program.

This year's ornament has been designed by Ron Cabacar, a design engineer at the Robert C. Byrd Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies at Marshall University. The design has also been donated to benefit the Daily Mail's Neediest Case Appeals and Gazette Charities. It features a 3D depicted of the state's capitol dome with the year '2014' engraved beneath it.

The ornaments were even printed locally, using a Z-Corporation 3D printer at the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University in West-Virginia. The ornaments have been 3D printed in batches of 18 and each batch took about four and a half hours to complete.

While a different design from the one sold last year, its designers again chose to go with the capitol dome as it is a local icon. As Martin Spears, of the Robert C. Byrd Institute told reporters, 'We continued with that theme this year because of the dome being such a recognizable symbol of West Virginia. One of our design guys here took a little different take on it and he worked with us here to get ideas of what would be good to get the 3D nature to show up on the ornament, and he took suggestions, looked at photos and visited it in person to see what the most iconic elements are and how to capture that.'

The designers said that they were glad to help a good cause by using 3D printing, while hoping this charitable effort will also introduce this manufacturing technology to a wider audience.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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