The Cutting Edge Revisited: 3D Printing Technology breathes new life in the recreation of stone-age tools

The Cutting Edge Revisited: 3D Printing Technology breathes new life in the recreation of stone-age tools

The Past Meets the Future: Stone Age Tools & 3D Printing

3D Printing Stories: Innovation

There have been tools for as long as man has existed, and today’s Stratasys cutting edge 3D printers are easily considered the apex of precision building and creation tools and now they are employed to help replicate the very early Stone Age tools.

These stone-age tools have received a contemporary upcycle, using one of the most progressive technologies available in the 21st century: 3D printing. In a collection entitled ‘MAN MADE’, designers Dov Ganchrow and Ami Drach have recreated a series of nine stone-age tools, in collaboration with leading 3D printer manufacturer, Stratasys. 

The MAN MADE series of hand-axes includes flint stones formed using the primeval method of knapping – the art of striking flint with another stone to create a new form. In the stone-age, this production technique was absolutely ‘cutting edge,’ requiring remarkable expertise and enabling primeval humans to learn life-changing new skills: the ability to cut meat, scrape skins, chop wood, dig holes and self-defense against wild animals. 

Knapping and 3D printing 

3D printing is in a way a modern day equivalent of knapping – immensely useful, cutting edge and giving new custom form to suit the need. 

In selecting arguably the most progressive 3D printing technology in use today – Stratasys PolyJet technology – Ganchrow and Drach were able to build on the skillfulness of our ancient ancestors, introducing modern day product design and technology to increase the effectiveness and aesthetic beauty of each tool.

To achieve this, several flintstones were scanned by Dr. Leore Grosman’s digital lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology. Ganchrow and Drach then used industry-leading PolyJet technology, producing a 16-micron layer surface finish to create ergonomic design artifacts on the basis of the scanned stones, enabling each axe handle to custom fit the contours of its flint stone with absolute precision. They also used Stratasys VeroGray 3D printing material, which provided a tactile, flawless surface finish with attributes – not unlike the original stone-age tools.


Celebrating man’s incredible achievements with technologies from past to present

The MAN MADE series of tools was designed to celebrate man’s incredible achievements. By blending technologies from the farthest ends of human existence, Ganchrow and Drach were able to showcase how simple designs powered by clever thinking can translate into beautiful, functional and history changing objects.  

MAN MADE has so far featured in two prestigious exhibitions. Any Tokyo, held at the 600-year-old Jojo Ji Temple, Japan, in 2014 was a design event bringing tomorrow’s applied design and ideas together under one roof. MAN MADE was shown in conjunction with Ganchrow and Drach’s earlier “BC-AD” collection to speculate on man’s first and longest-lived tools, reflecting on issues such as branding, agronomics, courtship, manufacture and consumerism, as well as survivalism.

MAN MADE next appeared at BOZAR, The Centre for Fine Arts, in Brussels throughout June 2015. The exhibit’s next stop is the Geological Museum in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, in September 2015 — an intimate solo exhibit showing Ganchrow and Drach’s greater scope of works dealing with contemporary prehistoric stone tools. The MAN MADE collection will then move on to the MUDEC Museum in Milan in October 2015.

Isn’t it amazing how our present cutting edge 3D printing tools can help us recreate the stone age tools of our origins dating back to over 700,000 years ago.

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