We discussed this a while ago, now Andrew Ickeringill has gone and done it
To quote from FB today:
This is something I've been working on for a while now, as far as I know I'm the first to have a habaki and shirasaya made in Japan from a 3d printed sword.
This is just a test run, the habaki and saya were made as favors, hence they're no frills, just the basic foundation, no real finishing.
There are still some kinks to work out before I'm ready to start using this process on clients swords... but it's certainly exciting to think about the possibilities that this technology can bring.
The goal is that when a sword comes to me for restoration, it can have the habaki and saya made in Japan while the actual blade itself never leaves my possession, in fact I can continue working on the polish while the other parts are being made. Also if the blade originally had koshirae then the 3d print can be used as tsunagi... so many upsides!
Awesome stuff. Look forward to following the progress.
Well done Andrew. This is the way forward, no doubt at all.