A few weeks ago the Economist ran a briefing on 3D printing and it’s effects on mass production, alongside an equally good leader article. While it is general in its nature, there are elements in the article about jewellery manufacturing.
Overall, the article both provides a current snapshot of the readily available state of the art in rapid manufacturing, as well as introducing to the general public how current trends in 3D printing are affecting the way commercial and industrial goods are manufactured. They’ve even mentioned in passing a commonly reiterated point about 3D printing’s particular strength in the area of small scale mass production versus using traditional mass production on short product runs.
I’m listing it here as a useful reference for those jewellery CAD/CAM users who may want somewhere to start when communicating to others what the fuss is about with 3D printing.
We have an exciting summer season of jewellery CAD short courses planned at the British Academy of Jewellery in London starting 12 June. If you’ve been reading about the CAD training here but have been curious about taking one of the CAD courses I’ve developed, now is your chance.
i.materialise published an article in their blog not too long ago which I feel is too valuable a lesson for CAD modellers who are serious about 3D printing.
But, just like I normally do here, I don’t normally post these things without adding my own additional advice:
<UPDATE – The original article has been updated to include some more accessible schemes and programmes not previously mentioned.>
BBC Business News recently aired a segment on How Crafts Workers are Learning to Sell their Work. In the segment, both the mentors and the craftsmen highlighted the importance of learning business skills. The mentors also pointed out the balancing act required to stay a luxury manufacturer without devoting all your time on building the brand. While the examples provided were silversmithing and leatherwork, this is every bit as true for a new jewellery business.
Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow mentoring scheme mentioned in the video is an interesting one for ambitious luxury craft designers, but highly competitive (as you can see from the description on their own site). Since not everyone is aiming for the top end luxury market, I think it’s worth sharing some of the other UK business training schemes and support out there for craftsmen and budding jewellery businesses.
A 3D Character Model sculpted in Blender by John Williamson
Over at the i.materialise blog, they have recently released a wonderful interview with Jonathan Williamson, professional 3D CGI modeller and tutor from CG Cookie, a training site for 3D modelling for the gaming industry.
I agree with all of his points. While his advice is more focused on CGI modelling for video and games (as shown in his choices of software, none of which I would ever recommend for Jewellery CAD or 3D printing), he does mention product design and toy design, and his advice resonates with any specialism of 3D modelling, including jewellery design. But most importantly, what he says about the world badly needing more 3D content creators echoes what I’ve previously said in my lectures and on this blog, and it is good to hear others pushing for this.
Have a look:
Recently i.materialise‘s increasingly well-written blog publised a good article on ways to help 3D printing content creators to make their work more profitable through online distribution. While the article is primarily directed at i.materialise users, most of the tips are relevant to other 3D modelling marketplaces, such as Shapeways or Thingiverse. With this in mind, it’s definitely worth a read for those students and individuals who are trying to find new ways to monetise their CAD modelling work.
For anyone who has been following activity on these sites, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is definitely a strong market out their for bespoke produced items via 3D printing. I will be curious to see how this market evolves. Will it become a race to the bottom for worker’s wages, or will it lead to an entirely new ecosystem of tiers of skilled designers?
The technicians at FormLabs have written a first rate article on painting and applying clear-coats to 3D printed models to turn them from prototypes into sellable parts.
Considering just about every other area of product design makes use of paint jobs for finishing parts, it make sense there are likely CAD jewellery designers out there who would find this technique useful for their work.