Metal Additive Manufacturing used to recreate 12th century candlestick

August 13, 2020

A replica of the candlestick additively manufactured in aluminium on a Renishaw Additive Manufacturing machine (Courtesy BBC News)

Renishaw, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, UK, was recently employed to recreate a 12th century candlestick, the Gloucester Candlestick, using metal Additive Manufacturing, reports BBC News. The original candlestick was made using casting in around 1110 for St Peter’s Abbey in Gloucester.

The original candlestick has been held in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, UK, since 1861, having left Gloucester around or during the fire that destroyed St Peter’s Abbey in March 1122. In the intervening years, it was displayed in a French cathedral and later returned to Britain by a Parisian collector. 

The candlestick has a complex design, decorated with a range of real and mythical beasts, which would be very difficult to accurately reproduce using conventional manufacturing methods. 

Complex details on the original Gloucester Candlestick, which has been held in the Victoria and Albert Museum since 1861 (Courtesy BBC News)

However, using 3D scanning combined with the geometric freedom offered by AM, the candlestick was able to be accurately replicated twice in aluminium by Renishaw using its Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) technology.  

Following Additive Manufacturing, the replica candlesticks were hand-finished to achieve the intricate detail of the original, and a gold patina applied to the surface of each piece. They will be displayed at Gloucester Cathedral, in the gallery chapel and treasury.

Paul Govan, Customer Training Manager, Renishaw, described the work as “a privilege”, and stated, “I can see this technology being used a lot more for this type of work – replicating parts that are valuable and that you can let people touch.”

Rebecca Phillips, Gloucester Cathedral Archivist, stated, “It’s lovely to have it back, and also it’s now accessible to anyone of faith and no faith as well. The beauty of it is just gorgeous.” 

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