3D Printed ivory – Ivory artifacts are so precious due to its white finish, relative hardness and its ease of carving. Ivory trade has been banned internationally decades ago to protect elephants and restoration of artifacts with ivory was in danger. Researches were continually searching for the alternate material to overcome this issue.
Recently in Vienna, a company called Cubicure along with the partnership of Vienna University of Technology, developed a new 3d-printable substance known as Digory. Digory can be an alternate to the natural ivory. The finding can be invaluable for restoration projects of ivory artifacts made from tusks.
Other synthetic ivories exist, but the researchers say Digory is the first that can be 3D printed at high resolution with a technique called stereolithography, using laser light to cross-link polymers within the 3D ‘ink’ and build-up complex shapes layer by layer.
Digory boasts the same optical and mechanical properties as elephant ivory, say the researchers; it can be colour-matched and made into any shape, and it can then be polished, carved, drilled, or glued just like real ivory. The dark veins often visible in elephant ivory can also be reproduced by touching it up with a paint mixture that incorporates black tea.
The printed variants have been used to replace ivory pieces in artwork collections in Austria. The 17th century Shrine of Frederic the Beautiful for instance is embellished with ivory trinkets which have just kinda wandered off over the years and so restorers were in need of a sustainable solution to replace the rare materials.
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