Italy is famous all over the world for so many things. But what defines Italians the most, according to most people, is the way they talk with gestures. This is the concept behind the Italian brand Superstuff’s latest viral 3D printed product: MADE IN ITALY.
Also available on Kickstarter, the 3D printed item follows in the footsteps of Superstuff’s previously released 3D printed viral product, the Umarell. In that case, the team serially manufactured a replica of an elderly man looking at work-in-progress. This characteristic figure in Italian is called the “Umarell” and usually observes ongoing work at construction sites. The 3D printed Umarell can be placed on a desk to observe one’s own working progress.
The MADE IN ITALY takes a different approach. It can be placed on a flat surface. You then push on one side with the finger you prefer, quickly remove the selected finger. You can then enjoy all the explicit meanings of this typical Italian gesture which can mean a number of different things, from “what do you want” to “get outta here”. As a general rule of thumb (or hand in this case), the faster the movement, the more aggressive the tone.
Superstuff also emphasizes that the product is 3D printed in PLA, which is bioplastic, produced from cane sugar or glucose, and that is produced from 100% renewable resources. This is another benefit of using 3D printing: since it is a custom product, produced on demand, it can rely on less durable but much more eco-friendly plastic material.
PLA is biodegradable, which means that the microorganisms that compose the material are converted into natural substances. To get an idea of disposal timing, in optimal composting conditions of 65°C and 95% humidity, PLA degradation occurs in 50 days, while at a temperature of 40°C it can take up to 120 days. Instead, compared to the immortal (immoral…) plastics abandoned in the environment, PLA-based bioplastics degrade without releasing polluting elements, if left on the ground in 15 months, if buried in 24 months and if left into the water in 48 months.
“We believe that digital fabrication technologies allow new solutions in the manufacturing process. When we launched the Umarell on our website, it was nothing more than a test. We did not expect what happened next: it became viral just before Christmas,” says Superstuff co-founder Massimo Temporelli.
The fact that they are produced on demand does not mean they are produced in small numbers. In less than two years Superstuff 3D printed and delivered more than 50,000 Umarell all over the World, making it one of the very first mass-produced 3D printed consumer products.