- R&D 100 Awards
The 3D Printed Faucets are printed using a computer-guided laser beam that fuses powdered metal into the desired shape with high heat. A solid metal block gradually arises out of the powder, hinting at the sculpted masterpiece-to-be. The block is then polished by hand to smooth extraneous metal and reveal the design. In a revival of the tradition of bespoke craftsmanship, the faucet is then hand-finished by an artisan who gives it a rich, fine patina and feel that mimics the texture found on antique silver pieces. Creating faucet designs that could be 3D-printed in metal presented a challenge to the development team. One significant difficulty was that the heat generated by the sintering process created tension in the faucet parts. They could become deformed in shape, which would cause the roller spreading the powdered metal to crash, thus interrupting the print sequence. It took hours of testing and readjustments to get this right.