Tilted Espresso Cup

Here’s the second of two new espresso cups (read about the other one). The concept is simple: slice through the bottom of the cup and the handle at an angle, so that the cup looks like it’s sinking into the table.

I think I can say with some confidence that one of the direct inspirations for this cup was the death of Lt. Van Mayter in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “In Theory” (AKA “Data gets a girlfriend”):

The result is decent. The disconnected tip of the handle doesn’t quite reach the table’s surface, probably because of imperfections in the manufacturing process (the handle might have bent a bit before firing, or it might have shrunk by a different amount than the body of the cup). The handle also doesn’t end in a sharp wedge, as one might expect, because this 3D printing process can’t print very thin surfaces. Finally, the cup is a bit large for a typical espresso. That’s partly to make it big enough that I don’t need to compromise on its shape, and partly because some of the inner volume of the cup isn’t actually usable (because it’s meant to be tilted!).

But the illusion is reasonably convincing. Or, perhaps more accurately, the concept is completely clear, so that even if you don’t actually believe that the cup is sinking into the table (and hey, you shouldn’t), you can at least suspend disbelief and enjoy the effect (not to mention some delicious coffee).

As always, the cup is available for purchase on Shapeways, with the caveat that it’s going to cost a lot more than a regular cup. Really, this one might be a fun candidate for mass production.

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