by David Rodriguez December 16, 2015

Written By Alec Via

While we love next gen technology, there is something about those age-old artisanal crafts, such as bookbinding that is very attractive – it makes objects so much more precious and special. The only problem is that they’re typically very time-consuming and require a high skill level, so it’s only for the dedicated hobbyists and professionals. However, as Dutch craftsman Luc Volders explains to, there’s no reason why those age-old crafts can’t benefit from technologies like 3D printing without sacrificing their artisanal nature. And that is essentially what Luc Volders, who is a bookbinding hobbyist, has done. While he still does all the work by hand, he has found a way to use 3D printing to greatly simplify and speed up one of the most difficult aspects of the hobby: making embossed covers.

For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about, an embossed cover is one of those book covers with an imprinted relief – often featuring an elaborate display depicting the story inside or even just artwork that emphasizes the special or valuable nature of the book. “One of the most difficult things to do as a hobby bookbinder is to make a cover with relief (also called embossed). I made some of them and it was a tedious job which I never really got right,” Luc Volder explains. “It involves tedious carving of carton in which a lot can go wrong and then you will have to start all over. This makes it very labor intensive. I made [the example below] by carving out the letters with a knife. Then I glued the artificial leather on the carton and pressed it in using the letters I carved out. It was minutious work and a mistake was easily made. Besides that my carving isn't the best so to say the least: the result was lousy.”

But Luc has many talents and is also involved in building, and playing with, 3D printers. Having built his own Prusa I2 in the past and now working on a delta 3D printer, he decided to try and find out how 3D printing could help. What’s more, he found that you cannot only use a 3D printer in bookbinding, it also makes the production of those elaborate covers far simpler.

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David Rodriguez
David Rodriguez


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