3D printed luck

Paul Boughton

Renishaw has started 3D printing luck in the form of four fitting sculptures and the world's first recycling point for luck and wishes. The pieces were created in collaboration with Strange Cargo, a Folkestone, UK-based visual and public arts company commissioned to produce a new piece for the Folkestone Triennial arts festival in the UK.

For the installation, entitled The Luckiest Place on Earth, Renishaw produced the intricately designed and sculpted luck and wish recycling point from titanium using one of its AM250 additive manufacturing systems. The system welds layers of fine metallic powder using a precisely controlled laser beam, producing the complex plaque in a single piece.

The elaborately crafted titanium plaque incorporates a variety of lucky symbols into its design, including wish bones, horse shoes, clovers, shooting stars, black cats and more.

"We're incredibly pleased with how accurately our additive manufacturing machine has been able to reproduce Strange Cargo's unusual and alluring design for the luck and wish recycling point," enthused Chris Pockett, head of communications at Renishaw. "The piece is yet another example of the potential of 3D printing when it comes to design freedom. 3D printing is no longer just a prototyping method; it’s a practical solution for producing highly complex one-off and small batch builds."  

Visitors to The Luckiest Place on Earth are invited to make a wish and leave a penny at the recycling point, then remove someone else's penny as a memento of fortune gained. 

The piece currently resides under the Folkestone Central Railway Bridge where four brightly coloured sculptures stand guard on the plinths, transforming the area into a lucky gateway. The statues resemble four fortunate Folkestone residents that were specifically chosen from 700 applicants and digitally scanned then reproduced as 3D printed nylon figures. 

"Working with Renishaw has been an incredible experience," beamed Brigitte Orasinski, artistic director at Strange Cargo. "Their approachability, innovation and expertise have enabled my team of artists and digital designers to realise Strange Cargo’s vision for our artwork, The Luckiest Place on Earth. 

"The resulting 3D printed luck point and sculptures are groundbreaking. I still can't believe how quickly Renishaw were able to create such complex designs."

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