Forget the three French hens. This year, the third day of Christmas can bring 3-D-printed ornaments for do-it-yourselfers and online shoppers. The New York-based designer Harry Allen is offering the Radiant Tangent ornament, shown above, as a free download for those who have invested in new home versions of 3-D printers such as the MakerBot Replicator.
"As a business owner I have always dreaded deciding what to send to clients and friends," says Allen, the founder and owner of Harry Allen Design. Last year, he scanned his iconic Bank in the Form of a Pig and added wings to create a miniature 3-D-printable ornament.
"This year," he says, "I have based the Radiant Tangent ornament on some recent design work where I define an object with a series of tangent rods." The result: A spiky, just over 3-inch spherical ornament that references both snowflakes and Sputnik satellites.
Don't have a 3-D printer? Don't worry. Allen has partnered with Shapeways, a 3-D printing service and marketplace, which will produce the ornament in a variety of materials from matte translucent plastic for $24.01 to sparkly metallic gray for $83.04. "The prices are for the cost of printing, we have not added any mark-up," says Allen, who hopes users of both the free download and purchasers from Shapeways will send him photographs of the finished ornaments at email@example.com.
In Los Angeles, the design firm Alminty3d is 3-D printing miniature versions of classic Midcentury chairs for sale on the company's Etsy shop, which can do double duty as decorative objects holiday ornaments for Mad Men fans. Sorry, no free downloads here; but at $39.99 each the company's versions of the Eames rocking chair are considerably more affordable than the $215 replica by Vitra.
Alminty3d founders Geman Wu and Bibo Lan first produced miniature chairs as favors given out at their wedding. They created 3-D models from CAD drawings using the Rhinoceros program and made refinements, including a visible wood grain texture. "The main challenge was to make sure the supports and structures were strong and thick enough for 3-D printing," says Lan, who uses lightweight, dishwasher-safe nylon to produce the chairs, which average 2.5 inches tall and are available in white and six vibrant colors.
The collection includes four chairs by Charles and Ray Eames — including the classic 670 Lounge and Ottoman ($99.99 for both) — and designs by George Nakashima, Verner Panton and Arne Jacobson.
"The intention of the miniatures was gifts for chair lovers," Lan adds. "But I have explored new uses for them, such as business card holders and jewelry display." And, with the simple addition of an ornament hook, they're an eye-catching bit of modernist holiday decor.