Fire & Bone's third collection has landed on Kickstarter, bringing a set of seven new skulls: human, Nile crocodile, raven, jaguar, fruit bat, a type of gazelle called the gemsbok and the extinct Tasmanian tiger.
Like the Pleistocene dire wolf skull from the second collection, the human, fruit bat and jaguar skulls also have articulated jawbones. The Fire & Bone team has also been developing its process, whereby a real skull is scanned in 3D, scaled down using 3D modelling software, then 3D printed in high-resolution in wax. This wax print is used to create a master mould, from which the skulls are cast in white and yellow bronze, and silver.
(The human skull belonged to a Chinese man, and was loaned to Fire & Bone from natural history store The Bone Room, which acquired it from a medical supply company in Hong Kong in the 1990s.)
"We've continued to improve the way we digitally miniaturise our 3D scans and prepare the data for 3D printing the wax master. We've gotten better at knowing how to retain as much detail from the original skull as possible throughout the entire production process and that includes refining our mould-making, casting, and polishing process," Fire & Bone said in an email.
"Our articulated jaws have improved tremendously as well. Our new Jaguar and Bat and Human jaws are far more robust and have much more motion that our first articulated jaw. We experimented a lot and tried a few different techniques before we figured out the best way to make those work."
As well as the seven-skull collection, Fire & Bone is releasing its first ring, a raven's skull, and a brand new pendant, an upscaled (compared to the second collection) dire wolf jawbone on its own.
The team, which consists of three people working out of a basement, has its own website, where you can purchase skulls from the previous collections. It's also selling its skulls from a number of museums around the world. However, the Kickstarter process is still deeply important to the team.
"Our first campaign started it all and we're so grateful to have that community there and to have such enthusiastic and supportive backers and customers. We've been able to build this amazing collection of animals with their help," Fire & Bone said.
"We love getting feedback and suggestions for which animals people would like to see added to our collection. We love seeing our pieces in the wild on social media. We've got a strong community there and we get excited when we have new animals to share with everyone."
It seems the Fire & Bone fans like it too. The campaign went live earlier today, and has already made $19,247 of its $6,000 goal at time of writing. Skulls are currently being offered as a reward for a minimum pledge of $25, and include a chain and optional stand. You can check it out on the Kickstarter page.