3DKERA (2019)

3D Printing with Reindeer Bone Waste

In the context of 3D printing and ceramics, there are many possibilities that have not been explored yet. Especially within the sphere of making utensils and art, 3D printing opens up new possibilities, for example in creating shapes that are more structurally demanding. This technique also enables new ways of using materials, which are not easy to do with traditional methods.

The project 3DKERA, in cooperation with the Department of Design and Department of Mechanical Engineering, is opening these new possibilities. The project has a wide collaboration with partners that will concentrate on different aspects of the project: material research for 3D printing, development of 3D printing technologies for ceramics, creation of business models that implement 3D printed ceramics, networking opportunities and development for experiential tourism in the northern Finland.

The core idea of the project 3DKERA is to utilize reindeer bone waste produced in Lapland as a raw material for ceramics production, especially for 3D printed ceramics. The use of reindeer bone ash in the context of ceramics has been researched before in different projects that were partly conducted in Aalto University and mainly in the Municipality of Sodankylä during the years 1998–2004. The current project continues from these findings.


Printed samples to compare porcelain, bone china and reindeer bone china. Photo: Nur Horsanali

Initial research on different shapes, structures and clay bodies. Photo: Nur Horsanali

Workshop and Pop-up Exhibition

Aalto University held a workshop for the project partners in 26-27 September at Väre building. Invited participants was partner companies from Finland (Fiskars, Kerasil and 3DTech) and an interest group. The aim of the workshop was to share the recent knowledge and tests related to the project and strengthen network for the future. Within this scope, the pop-up exhibition displayed relevant work from Aalto ARTS (Ashish Mohite, Maarit Mäkelä, Mervi Kurvinen, Nur Horsanali, Paula Saratlieva, Yi-Chiao Tien).

View from the pop-up exhibition at Kipsari Lobby. Pieces by Paula Saratlieva and Maarit Mäkelä.
Photos: Nur Horsanali

Printing and discussing during the workshop. Photos: Nur Horsanali and Mervi Kurvinen

Visit to Lapland

In November, some of the project partners made a visit to Lapland. The purpose of the visit was to understand the local context better and to gather different stakeholders together through workshops, visits and discussions. During this intensive trip, the group had the opportunity to visit the archives (of the previous project in Sodankylä), reindeer herders and slaughtering houses. During the visit, Aalto University held workshops and gave demonstrations of clay 3D printing to locals and the project partners. From Sodankylä the trip continued to Posio, where the group continued to visiting our partners in the Arctic Ceramic Center. There was also a great pleasure to visit the locals like the Pentik ceramics factory and the Miki Studio. Our partners in Lapland kindly welcomed our research team and the meetings held with local stakeholders led to further discussions on the project. The project has featured in the newspapers Lapin Kansa and Sompio.

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Visiting a reindeer farm in Sodankylä. Photo: Nur Horsanali

Photographs from the workshops held in Sodankylä. Photos: Nur Horsanali


3DKERA project is partly funded by the Business Finland Co-Creation program.

Project Team: Maarit Mäkelä, Priska Falin, Tomi Pelkonen, Nur Horsanali (Aalto ARTS) Jouni Partanen, Kirsi Kukko, Ashish Mohite (Aalto ENG)

Project Partners: Aalto University, Sodankylä Municipality, Arctic Ceramic Center (Posio), Kieringin Lomakylä, Kerasil, 3DTech, Fiskars