News / Edmonton

Invention by University of Alberta students is no pipe dream

Four University of Alberta students have put their heads together to create a cutting-edge bong as the country prepares for legalization

Simon Grigenas (left) and Andrew Feltham (right) are the co-founders of BRNT Designs. They have designed a 3d-printed bong that is resistant to breaking.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

Simon Grigenas (left) and Andrew Feltham (right) are the co-founders of BRNT Designs. They have designed a 3d-printed bong that is resistant to breaking.

Simon Grigenas’ idea to create a 3d-printed ceramic bong didn’t appear in a puff of smoke.

Rather, the concept became crystal clear after his bong fell three feet and shattered during a smoking session.

Grigenas, a medical marijuana patient turned designer and marketer, joined with three other University of Alberta students to build ‘the hexagon’, what they describe as a modern, minimal and multi-use smoking apparatus.

“Using the current bongs on the market, there were a lot of difficulties … I was really disappointed with the selection,” said Grigenas, who received his medical marijuana licence after a head injury left him with migraines.

Recognizing that there was an expanding market for bongs as the country inches towards legalization, Gregenas formed BRNT Designs (pronounced ‘burnt’) along with Rahman Amlani, Ty Thomsen and Andrew Feltham, who are responsible for the company's finances, design and marketing, respectively.

Their bong is currently in the prototype stage, and they are launching an $18,000 crowd-funding campaign on Sept. 13 to mass produce the bong and establish a starting customer base.

Simon Grigenas shows how his team started the design for a ceramic bong.

Kevin Tuong/Metro

Simon Grigenas shows how his team started the design for a ceramic bong.

BRNT uses a 3D modelling program and a 3D printer to create the bong’s mould, which they then tweak by hand.

One of the bong’s unique selling points is that it’s drop resistant and won’t crack in a dishwasher or freezer, which can be done to cool the smoke.

“We put a lot of thought into the engineering,” Feltham said.

Grigenas said the ceramic material, compared to the more popular glass, offers other benefits as well.

“With ceramics, they are a more porous overall material. Therefore it diffuses the smoke better, which is cooler to inhale,” he said.

The bong was also designed for a culture where marijuana consumption or acceptance of the habit is becoming more commonplace.

It’s designed to look like a vase so you don’t have to hide it when your guests visit, Feltham said.

The team is so proud of the design – which will be exactly the same from model to model due to the sheer precision of 3D printing – they go so far as to call it functional art.

“It can be a centrepiece in your home. It looks like it belongs in a home.” 

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