How to Copy Protect Your STL Files

The Makers Muse Youtube channel has recently released a video with some excellent practical advice on how to place copy-protection measures on your .stl files. This is particularly important advice for those who sell their models on online 3D modelling communities. Have a look:


i.materialise article – How to Get Started With 3D Modelling

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:

i.materialise Article – How to Get Started with 3D Modelling

i.materialise Article – Top 10 CAD Sculpting Programs for 3D Printing

i.materialise‘s 3D printing blog has released a nice article listing 10 popular choices using sculptural CAD for the purposes of 3D printing and product design.

While many of the choices are primarily from digital effects programs, they can all be used with some adjustments to your workflow, and with the right tolerances jewellery design will work just fine.

They’ve left off quite a bit of jewellery specific sculpting programs, however. ArtCAM Jewelsmith features 2.5D relief sculpting, while 3Design’s Shaper, and the T-Splines and Clayoo Rhino plug-ins all offer organic modelling to more traditional types of product design CAD, but this is still a helpful list.

Serpents Buckle model made with Sculptris. Designed by Michael Mueller.

Serpents Buckle model made with Sculptris. Designed by Michael Mueller.

i.materialise blog article – Top 10 3D Sculpting Programs for 3D Printing

3D Printing Industry – Elements Lab and Their Upcoming Jewellery Maker App

3D Printing Industry recently wrote an interesting story about Taiwan-based 3D printing bureau Elements Lab and the Jewellery Maker app they’re currently working to build.

As with similar efforts in the past to build a simpler mass customisation tool, the idea is to make jewellery modelling for 3D printing simple enough for anyone to try their hand. They even made a trailer to show off the app’s intended capabilities:

You can read more about it here:

Elements Lab and Their Upcoming Jewellery Maker App

Frequently Asked Questions 11 – What are Parametric Solid Modelling and Direct Modelling, and How Do They Apply to Jewellery CAD?

Parametric CAD Modelling Animation

A sample of the parametric CAD modelling process as a quick animation (complete with history tree on the right).

(This article is one of my series of Frequently Asked Questions posts. See the rest of the FAQ pages.)

After a discussion with a colleague a few months ago, I went searching around the Internet to find a good definition of parametric history as it applies to product design CAD and jewellery CAD in particular. Unfortunately, after days of searching it appeared no one on the internet has ever bothered to explain this parametric modelling technology in layman’s terms, much less in terms relevant to a jewellery CAD designer. All my searching turned up was either very generic descriptions of parametric or direct modelling, highly technical articles from industrial engineering blogs, or salesmen selling their software without ever getting specific on technical details.

Indeed, during my research of for this article, it seems as if the most technical aspects of parametric and direct CAD modelling have been intentionally simplified to make the user interfaces more friendly for product designers. However, that did not change the fact nobody I had found had ever tried to explain what it is in a clear way before.

In an effort to solve this problem once and for all, I’ll now demystify what parametric solid modelling and its newer cousin direct modelling really are, and how they work with jewellery CAD.


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3D Systems Launches Geomagic Sculpt with Touch 3D Haptic Stylus

Yesterday 3D Systems announced the launch of their new Touch 3D haptic stylus and Geomagic Sculpt CAD software.

Best of all: the case study they’re using for the launch is a jeweller!


From the looks of things, it seems Geomagic has decided to learn from the pricing and marketing mistakes made by Claytools before they were bought out, and seems to be actually releasing the hardware for an accessible price this time (£2500 instead of £6000). But whether you love Claytools or hate them, they were still one of the only games in town for proper haptic sculpture– Anarkik3D’s Cloud9 has yet to match the same level of precision control, and the closest other sculpting tools would be non-haptic options such as the powerful but awkwardly designed Zbrush interface or Mudbox.

It’s still early days yet as to how good it really is, but no doubt we’ll know soon enough.

TCT Magazine – 3D Systems Launches Geomagic Sculpt and Touch 3D Stylus

Sculpting Air – CAD Designers Experiment With the Leap Motion User Interface

SpaceX Leap Motion Demo

(Image Courtesy SpaceX, and their Future of Design Leap Motion demo)

Since the Leap Motion sensor was released last year, quite a lot of people have been excited about the possibilties the tool could bring. Hailed as a portable Kinect, a lot of designers have been experimenting to see what the machine can actually do for them.

Recently I came across a few interesting experiments designers have been performing with the interface to see how the tool might work in design software. (Videos after the break).
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