“Game of Thrones” fans looking for the perfect way to prep a dragon steak — or whatever they eat in Westeros — might want to check out this custome cast iron skillet with a sword-style handle conceived by a couple of entrepreneurs from Seattle.
Bruce Valles and Victor Avila are 3D-printing geeks and co-founders of Hilted Cookware. The two brothers are “waging war against traditional cookware” with the creation of their “Legend” 10-inch skillet, and they’re hoping to cash in on the hype surrounding HBO’s soon-to-be-gone fantasy series.
Hilted lauched in March, but was conceived more than a year ago as Valles was cooking chicken parmigiana in a skillet before settling in on a Sunday night for an episode of “Thrones.”
“I couldn’t help but think, ‘What if this skillet had a sword handle?'” Valles told GeekWire this week, ahead of the fourth episode of the final season of “GoT,” which airs tonight. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that thought ruined my traditional level of excitement for the episode but it definitely had my mind distracted for the better half of the show.”
Like a regular old Gendry, Valles set to work the next day on studying swords like this one and working on a model for the cookware. He rendered a design in TinkerCad and made an initial 3D print. After modifications, he finished final designs in Fusion360 and over the next several weeks put his Creality CR10 printer to work making “pretty awesome models.”
Valles’ regular job is a regional director of digital strategy for Compunnel Digital, where he helps fortune 500 organizations “identify and create a framework to transition from monolithic or legacy digital environments to a more efficient architecture like microservices.”
His 11-year-old daughter Audrey is the one who really got him into 3D printing about four years ago.
“Her elementary school is big on STEM and was doing a session on exploring helmet safety through 3D printed nanotubes,” Valles said. “She asked me the same day if we could get a 3D printer, I thought, ‘Heck yeah! My Barbie days are over!’ We would print random things from time to time like new tags for our cat Henry or a cell phone case for my phone and she would always ask me if this was how the future would be or if everyone would have these in their home to replace things with.”
Valles said he got more ambitious over time and when the skillet idea materialized, he felt like he could make it happen.
The most difficult aspect, though, had been finding a foundry to bring the Legend to life. Hilted shared their 3D-printed skillet prototype with at least 11 different foundries, getting more and more discouraged with each rejection of the project.
“After doing some research we came across American Skillet Company and their custom state-inspired skillets,” Valles said. “We tracked down their manufacturer after some deep recon and reached out to Roloff Manufacturing in Kaukauna, Wisc. We sent them our design and they quickly came back with ‘We have to make this work.’ They’ve been doing custom cast iron for over 75 years and have helped bring Kickstarter favorites to life like the State Skillet and Wabi Nabi. They’ve really burnt the candle at both ends helping us not just at the manufacturing level but also from a strategic level in terms of effective design — we’re fortunate to have a partner like them supporting us.”
Hilted Cookware is accepting pre-orders for the skillet now, priced at $100. The plan is to ship them by May 13 so that “Thrones” fans have them in time for the series finale on May 19.
Future plans include more sword-inspired skillets, including 8- and 9-inch versions of the Legend, and variations on the handle design, which Valles said will be put to Hilted followers to determine what they want to see next.
“Swords and swordplay captivate our imaginations, whether it’s clashing sticks as kids, reading tales of dueling knights and swashbuckling pirates, or sitting around with friends watching ‘Game of Thrones.'” Valles said. “Plus, cooking is just more fun when you’re slinging around our 10-inch Legend skillet like a sword!”
Valles said he an Avila have gone through all seven seasons of the series twice, and he’s been on team Tyrion since early on. Avila likes The Hound.
“I think we both agree that a steak would be well deserved for Ned Stark,” Valles said. “And we’d know just the skillet to grill it up on.”