Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time here talking about 3D CAD as it applies to precious metal working. We’ve also talked about the rapid advances of 3D scanning and how it gets more valuable to CAD jewellers every year.
But how does 3D scanning apply to gemstones?
3D Scan of a Diamond using OGI Systems Scanox Tender mini (image courtesy Leibish and Co.)
The world of 3D diamond scanning and mapping is a parallel road of development in 3D scanning technology, but with its unique combination of specialised scanning setup and pattern recognition software, it’s as fascinating to see in action as any kind of 3D scanner on the market. (Video after the break.)
In all the years I’ve been writing this blog, I haven’t come across very many good case studies involving using 3D scanning to assist in jewellery making. It seems like such a sensible way of going about working alongside antique jewellery, but limitations in technology (as we’ve discussed here previously) continue to prove an obstacle.
All this makes this latest article from TCT Magazine a happy surprise. It seems one of the engineers at 3D Scanning company Physical Digital found a way to make 3D scanning work for him to help reverse engineer his fiancee’s grandmother’s ring to use as the basis of designing something of his own.
See for yourself. It’s an interesting story.
Hasbro and 3DSystems collaborated to form 3DPlusMe, which produced this Marvel 3D Printer.
Given the speed at which 3D printers have been improving in the past few years, I knew it was only a matter of time before 3D printed toys reached the point where they could be made on-site while customers wait at a toy store. From the look of recent events in the news, it seems two big toy manufacturers had the same idea. It seems all they were waiting for was the right combination of 3D scanning systems and simple 3D user interface. Continue reading
(or “Why can’t we just 3D scan a ring and make copies on a 3D printer?”)
Last Updated 14 June 2016.
This is a question which seems to come up mainly among advanced students or those already experienced with using CAD for jewellery, but I do get the occasional person who has just been to a trade show and seen the latest 3D scanning machine released onto the market. Either way I reckon this is a good question to answer next, as it ties in with several other FAQ articles I’ve written previously for this site.
It seems for the past 10 years 3D scanners have been improving rapidly in terms of scanning resolution, scanned mesh quality, assembly of data, ease of use, and efficiency of file sizes (otherwise known as decimation to those who work with the machines).
You’ll even see salesmen and technicians at trade shows demonstrating how easy it is to 3D scan a ceramic or plastic part or a visitor’s face, import it straight into their program, and manipulate the mesh form in full colour.
So why doesn’t this scanning device work the same way with jewellery?
Well, it kind of does, but not at all in the way you would expect, and as of the date this article was written 3D scanning still faces some serious technical limitations. To answer this question fully, I’ll have to answer the question in three parts: the differences between the various CAD geometry types used by 3D modelling software packages, the problems with model conversion, and the technical limitations of the 3D scanners themselves.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, FabCafe in Tokyo are offering bespoke rapid prototyped chocolates with your own gorgeous (or terrifying) face printed right onto them.
This is why I never ask the question: “What will they think of next?”
Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day.
One very active area for technological innovation right now seems to be finding increasingly fast and easy interfaces for machines. Company after company seems to be working to bring to market the quickest and most natural ways possible to simplify everyday transactions and interactions using a combination of computers and technologically enhanced objects. Continue reading