Frequently Asked Questions 10 – 3D Scanning, Model Conversion, and Jewellery CAD

(or “Why can’t we just 3D scan a ring and make copies on a 3D printer?”)

goscan3d 3d part scanner

The GoScan3D hand-held part scanner demonstrates just how portable 3D scanning is really becoming. But how useful is it for parts like jewellery?

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.

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Workflows for Jewellery Design in T-Splines and Rhino

I recently was pointed to this video. While it’s as much a T-Splines sales seminar as anything, it walks through some good workflow examples of how to approach organic modelling in T-Splines for jewellery design scales, not to mention showing off some lovely designs.

If you’d like to know more about the video’s speaker Saskia Dattner, she a fine jeweller who produces some impressive work out of Pforzheim Germany using Rhino, KeyShot, and HDR Light Studio.

Video Tutorials – Using T-Splines for Rhino To Make a Sculptable Crossover Ring

And now for a new tutorial. This one is for T-Splines for Rhino, and talks about how to make a sculptable crossover ring. It is based on a private training lesson taught earlier this month at Holts Academy. It is also part of the more advanced jewellery CAD courses we teach here.

Frequently Asked Questions Part 4 – When 2 CAD Programs Are Better Than 1 – Jewellery CAD Software Combinations

cog ring courtesy

Finding CAD tool combinations which mesh together (literally). Image courtesy

(Updated 12 Aug 2015)

(This continues my series of Frequently Asked Questions. See the rest of the FAQ pages.)

Today I’d like to take a moment to talk about the commonly practised but controversial subject of combining software packages together.

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Comparing 3Shaper and T-Splines for Matrix


Recently, we’ve started adding both T-Splines and 3Shaper to our computer courses here at Holts Academy of Jewellery. This means I’ve been spending a lot of time with both. While doing this, it occurred to me that not many other people would have the experience of working with both tools, while simultaneously not having any vested interest in selling either.

So, from this stance of neutrality, I would like to offer my evaluations of each subdivision modelling plug-in for their respective jewellery CAD software packages. Continue reading