Being Nosy

3D Printed Nose Ring Takes a Shape You Might Not Expect

Nose Ring

An artist has created a surreal alternative to the conventional nose ring; a 3D printed ring which features a metal cast of his actual nose.

David Watson is a graduate student studying digital fabrication, art and technology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. His latest project involved scanning and 3D printing a model of his own nose before casting the piece in bronze and aluminum.

As he tells Mashable via email: “I think I was compelled by the pun of the nose ring. I will go a great distance for a punch line.”

However, Watson isn’t just focusing on the funny side. From an academic perspective, the ring is also pretty interesting.

“My nose piece is silly and that is its main thing but, at the same time, I think the piece contributes to the makers movement which is fueled by this idea that the means of production is shifting,” he argues.

“In the course of a day, I can scan an object, 3D print it, make a mold and cast it. Tools, education, technologies, like the 3D printer, are becoming more accessible. All of that is really exciting.”

Nose ring

How to Make a Nose Ring… Quite Literally

Watson began by using a sense scanner to scan his face. From there he used Rhino software to crop everything but his nose, which he then converted into a digital model for 3D printing.

He decided to use two different metals and tried out two different techniques for creating the ring. In the video below, you are able to see Watson sand cast his nose ring with the help of Frankie Flood. 

They took the 3D printed nose and pushed it into a special kind of sand which leaves a firm imprint of the object. Frankie then melted and poured the aluminum in the cast, which is an efficient and quick process. However, this method did not work with bronze, as they could not get the material hot enough.

At the same time as working on this project, Watson was also learning how to cast in bronze from Michael Dale Bernard using vacuum casting. This process begins with taking an object, in this case a 3D printed nose, and creating Sprues (passageways for the molten metal) then investment casting the object.

If you’re keen to make a nose ring of your own, check out Watson’s detailed blog post here. Let us know what you think about this design in the comments.