Stephanie Benoit February 3, 2017

Jeremy Burnich is an artist who just can’t get enough of 3D Printing. One of his latest creations was this magnificent steampunk Apple watch cover in copper, printed by our consumer 3D printing service i.materialise!

Removing the patina | Image courtesy of Jeremy Burnich
Removing the patina | Image courtesy of Jeremy Burnich

Although this wasn’t the first case Jeremy designed for his Apple watch, he really wanted to explore the steampunk esthetic. And the perfect material for the job was copper. “I’ve been trying to get something made in copper ever since i.materialise started offering it as a 3D printing material. Copper is a beautiful metal that gains character through use and is lustrous when polished so I really wanted to work with it. With this project, I knew I had a good candidate for something affordable and castable.” Steampunk takes most of its inspiration from the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century – Victorian England and Europe with its steel constructions, steam power and mechanical cogs and wheels. The Apple watch is clearly an electronic device, so Jeremy tried to imagine how it would look if it was powered by steam. He came up with a design that evoked a boiler which could convert steam into electricity. “Since one side had the digital crown and a button I decided that would be the control area of ‘the machine’. The bottom quarter would house steam fittings, the left quarter would be the gears and a connecting rod, and the top quarter and bezel would have electrical related things. And the whole case itself would be the boiler,” Jeremy told us.

Finally Jeremy received his 3D print in shiny copper.


 He said

“I was really pleased with what I saw. Every other detail looked perfect. I especially liked how the little ‘control hood’ over the button came out – it’s my favorite part of the cover.”


But although he liked the effect of the shiny metal, he felt that it looked a bit too ‘new’ for the steampunk style. He dipped the cover in a solution of liver of Sulphur and hot water, turning the bright copper black. Then he painstakingly cleaned off the oxidization with a rotary tool, and applied Renaissance wax to preserve the patina.


The digital design before printing | Image courtesy of Jeremy Burnich


The 3D-printed cover before oxidization | Image courtesy of Jeremy Burnich

The finished 3D-printed copper watch cover | Image courtesy of Jeremy Burnich

The finished 3D-printed copper watch cover | Image courtesy of Jeremy Burnich

Get this steampunk Apple watch cover for yourself on Jeremy’s online shop! Or if you’re interested in getting your own 3D designs printed, you can choose from over 100 different finishes and materials at i.materialise, our consumer 3D printing service.

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