Working with Bone  
  Developing and exploring techniques which could be applied to the production of bone housings..  

Laser Etching

Laser etching the bone created a very crisp, dark brown image. The etching of the bone gave it a less "spooky" appearance and made if look processed.




Different power and speed settings produced different effects:

High Power (Top)= Textured

Low Power (Bottom) = Smooth


3D Intersections

  The 3D scans needed to be repaired before they could be imported into the CAD/CAM software.  
  The 3D scans where then overlapped, and a boolean function was performed in order to determine if a there is a consistent area - for example a flat panel - which could be machined from any bone.  
  Machining the bone on the mill, revealed that the shoulder blade still contained some yellow grease in the center.  
  Turning a sample of porous bone on the lathe revealed the same yellow grease. However, taxidermist, Drew Bain informed me the way to remove it was to soak the bone in white spirit and heat it gently.  
  The white spirit removed the grease and whitened the bone. The cylinder has a delicate, spongy appearance but is surprising strong.  



Bone Laminate  
  Bamboo panels are creating by fusing strips of bamboo together. Could something similar be achieved with bone? A bovine femur was cut into strips, and then diced into small cuboids. These were then fused together and sanded to create a uniform flat section. This could be applied to create bone panels or even bone flooring.  
  Bone Optics  

Experimenting with the translucent properties of bone. The optical qualities, like most other properties of bone, are fairly inconsistent. Different types and areas of the bone are more translucent than others. For example, the compact bone on the femur is opaque however, the same compact bone on the shoulderblade is translucent. The cancellous (spongy) bone generally diffuses light well if the light source is a 2 - 5 millimeters underneath. There is a notably large section of translucent bone on the shoulderblade.

The light passing through bone is always very diffused, and therefore difficult to get a bold outline.


If chicken bones are left in vinegar they become floppy. The samples of bone pictured below were placed in a vinegar solution to see if they would become moldable, or if they would fuse together under pressure. The ability to shape bone would have been useful for product housings.

Unfortunately, after 3 weeks, the bones did not become soft enough to bend, however there where noticeably softer.

Copyright Andrew Ross 2008