Sep 15, 2015 | By Alec

Kickstarter and the 3D printing community have repeatedly proven to be a match made in heaven, with so many 3D printing startups making their first strides into the commercial world through this crowdfunding website. Some, even repeatedly return because they simply find it a great way to reach customers. New York-based Fire & Bone, a company specializing in high quality metal cast 3D prints of amazing miniature animal skull replicas, fall in that latter category, as they have now returned for a third time with another amazing set.

The last time we came across Fire & Bone’s amazing creations was about a year ago, but this third set follows a pattern we’ve gotten used to. The company was founded by Jason Bakutis, Chris Boynton and Matt Kroner, three product designers who met while working for a 3D printing company. Taking things into their own hands, they have since wowed geeks of all shapes and sizes with their two previous skull sets. And their business is doing very well indeed, as some museums are now even selling these skulls in their gift shops.

‘We make tiny, true-to-life animal skull reproductions based on high-definition 3D scans of original specimens, carefully miniaturized in a digital process, then cast in metal,’ they say, and that in a nutshell is what they are all about. The result are a set of amazingly detailed skulls that can come in two forms: either as cool mantle pieces that would fit right at home in a natural history museum (gift shop), or as pendants and rings that complete a geeky or even a metal outfit.

So how are they made? ‘Fire & Bone pieces take full advantage of exciting new technologies, including 3D scanning and 3D printing, to create something that's not available anywhere else: miniature skulls that are highly detailed and faithful to nature's design,’ they say. ‘Our process begins by digitally scanning real animal skulls. We work with a company that uses a proprietary 3D scanning process to digitally capture animal skulls in very high detail. We are thrilled with the level of detail we get from this method, which isn't possible with consumer-level 3D scanners.’ Taking real existing skulls, 3D printed replicas are made of them, which are subsequently turned into metal objects through traditional lost casting techniques. ‘So Fire & Bone is both cutting edge and ancient; a modern twist on a timeless fascination with the animal world, perfect for the modern collector,’ they say.

However, this third collection is somewhat different from the previous two, in part because this is the first time they’ve incorporated a homo sapien (or human) skull – based on an actual skull from a Chinese man, who can be seen in The Bone Room. ‘This has to be one of our most requested skulls, and we’re glad we finally had the perfect scan to turn into a high-quality miniature. Also, we’ve introduced the Thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian Wolf or Tasmanian Tiger, a recently extinct species,’ they add. What’s more, the very popular Dire Wolf skull is now also incorporated into a necklace, while the Raven is also available as a ring.

Like we said earlier, this is already the company’s third Kickstarter campaign, and as the designers explain this is largely because its an excellent medium for interacting and meeting their customers. ‘We keep listening to the requests and advice of our passionate customers, who are naturalists and animal lovers like us. What we’ve brought to Kickstarter this time keeps these suggestions in mind, with a couple twists of our own,’ they say. ‘In putting together this third collection, we recognized what an amazing community Kickstarter has been for us. We get to test demand for new skulls, and we have a great platform for communicating with fans. If this campaign is successful, we will be able to keep acquiring more hard-to-get skulls for our collection and building this project together with you.’

What’s more, no one is yet getting tired of these skulls. Having only just launched, Fire &Bone are again a huge Kickstarting success by gathering more than $36,000 in pledges already – about six times more than they needed to complete their campaign. If you’re interested, you can still get on board here. A skull of your choice can be yours for just $35.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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