3D Printed Handles Breath New Life Into Stone Age Technology

Recreated prehistoric implements come together with 21st Century technology to create new tools.

The days when flint tools were at the forefront of technology are long gone, but even that wasn’t enough to stop a pair of designers from creating various 3D-printed accessories for the stone-age implement. Dov Ganchrow and the late Ami Drach created nine different handles, each of which gives the stone a very specific function. The aim of the project was to get people thinking about how many different ways the tool could be used, but also demonstrates that something as basic as a sharpened piece of flint could be useful today.

The designers first had to source material from the Negev desert in southern Israel, after which they spent a lot of time understanding and improving the skill of knapping, which involves striking the flint with a softer stone to break it apart in a controlled way. “The first stage of the project was one of hastened evolution and bleeding,” Ganchrow told Dezeen.

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Once the designers had perfected their process, the flint pieces were 3D-scanned to ensure the 3D-printed handles were a perfect fit. The team created nine handles, named from two to ten due to the numbering system used for archaeology lab’s original scans. Some of the functions the tools can perform include splitting wood, hunting, courting partners, and crafting.

“The handles were printed in Verogray – a performance polymer with support from Stratasys,” Ganchrow said. “The parts were prepared and assembled on the original flint hand-axes, effectively joining the two most temporally distant Making technologies: flint knapping and 3D printing.”

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Ganchrow first came up with the idea after he attended a “low-tech design seminar” that taught participants the art of knapping. Also, because scientists are still unclear of the exact uses for flint tools, the project was an attempt to get people thinking, and encourage debate about what might, or might not work.

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Dov Ganchrow / Ami Drach

[h/t] Dezeen, FastCoExist

Images by Moti Fishbain

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