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.
It’s an older article, but it makes for a nice and clear case study as to how jewellery CAD and 3D printing have improved one jewellery business’ profitability.
A very talented colleague of mine here in the UK has recently completed an online tutorial (along with a video) on how to set up your Wacom Cintiq Companion pen tablet for optimised use in Zbrush.
For those who do not know, Zbrush specialists are particularly fond of switching over from using a mouse to a pen tablet, as it allows for the most freedom of movement and pressure sensitivity when performing surface sculpture.
Have a look at what he’s come up with:
(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.
And now for the second of my two jewellery CAD video tutorials focusing on how to use Matrix CAD techniques in Rhino. This one covers the Gem Cutter, Gem on Surface, and Prong tools.
As with the previous tutorial, those who might be concerned about whether this would make Matrix unnecessary shouldn’t be– when you watch the video it quickly becomes clear that these techniques won’t approach the efficiency of Matrix. However, it’s nice to know that if you’ve taken a Matrix class you won’t be stuck if you have to downgrade to Rhino.
You asked for it, so here it is:
I present the first of my two jewellery CAD video tutorials focusing on how to use Matrix CAD techniques in Rhino. This one covers the Ring Rail, Profile Placer, Gem Loader, and Bezel Builder.
To those who are concerned about whether this would make Matrix unnecessary– when you watch the video it quickly becomes clear that these techniques won’t approach the efficiency of Matrix. However, it’s nice to know that if you’ve taken a Matrix class you won’t be stuck if you have to downgrade to Rhino.
I recently stumbled upon a community dedicated to the use of generative algorithms in 3D modelling for jewellery. In English, that is to say they experiment with the Grasshopper plug-in and Rhino to make entirely new tools which create and control exotic geometry on a design’s surface, allowing for much greater speed with working on complicated and repeating forms.
See for yourself: (video after the break)