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.
For years we’ve been gradually seeing the growth of more and more websites which attempt to provide a connection between CAD modellers and customers in need of their services. Whether it is being driven by the propagation of 3D printers, a greater number of creatives trying to start their own businesses, or simply a growing interest in personalised consumer goods, it is clear there is a steadily growing demand for creative CAD services. The question is where do these new digital middlemen fit in between the 3D modeller and the customer.
In a previous article we talked about the different ways in which CAD is being used by jewellers to interact with their customers. For this article, I’m going to look at the market from the other direction, and explore ways in which jewellery CAD designers can offer their skills to the wider market.
For this month’s Something Beautiful in Jewellery, I present Artur Dabrowski.
Artur was trained as an architect based in Brooklyn. Through his Shapeways shop and his own website, he has been making some elegant pieces of jewellery using CAD.
More after the break.
I don’t normally recommend online courses, but seeing as what they’re teaching isn’t really being taught anywhere else at the moment at this general basic level, it’s worth sharing.
3Dprint.com is running a series of Beginner Design for 3D Printing and Advanced Design for 3D Printing online courses. These are courses designed for providing individuals with essential knowledge of preparing CAD models for 3D printing, and basic tolerances and design principles for building objects for 3D printing in plastic and other materials. Considering this information is always useful for CAD designers and only taught in a few places (besides my own courses), I reckon it’s worthwhile. We’ve missed the early bird registration, but there is still time to enrol for the summer courses starting on 20 June.
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.
Back in January, Bre Pettis (founder and former CEO of MakerBot) launched his own boutique 3D printed product brand called Bre & Co.
Their site and presentation is a fascinating study in ways to make 3D printed products appeal as a premium product to the current 25-35 year old middle income consumer market. It also shows what a website would look like when an artisan boutique is created to sell mostly or fully 3D printed retail products.
This marks an interesting evolution in the development of the CAD/CAM and 3D printing in the jewellery market. While we have talked about how CAD/CAM is portrayed to customers in the jewellery market before, it seems we are now seeing several distinctly different business strategies evolve which use 3D printing as a key component not only for manufacturing, but also for retail presentation. Each of these strategies shows how CAD/CAM is used and presented in a different target market.
For this month’s Something Beautiful in Jewellery, I present a jeweller and fashion accessory designer Kali Ratcliffe, and her new brand ELIXIR.
Embossed leather hat, made with Rhino and a CNC milled mould
Kali is a graduate of the Royal College of Art who has studied under several jewellery and silversmithing masters before collaborating with a few London-based fashion labels. What makes her work so interesting is the diversity of approaches she’s willing to take to make the piece she wants, combining resourceful application of Rhino and Zbrush with laser engraving and control over metal and leather to make quite diverse (yet cohesive) forms.
More examples of her work after the break. Continue reading