Something Beautiful in Fashion Jewellery – ELIXIR by Kali Ratcliffe

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

i.materialise Article – 9 Free CAD Programs To Get You Started with 3D Printing

Our friends at i.materialise have put together their own list of cheap or free 3D CAD programs to help people get started with product design CAD for 3D printing.

i.materialise Article – 9 Free CAD Programs To Get You Started with 3D Printing

While not all of these choices are the easiest to learn (Blender has a reputation for a steep learning curve), and none of them are particularly designed for making jewellery specifically, it is a good list. But if we’re discussing inexpensive CAD programs for 3D printing, I would also add 3DCoat as well.

Toolfarm Article – Pixologic is Collaborating With Formlabs To Create a 3D Printing Plug-in

Pixologic (makers of Zbrush) recently announced a new collaboration with the 3D printer manufacturers Formlabs to make an enhanced 3D printing plug-in for Zbrush. The plug-in would allow users to take a model from within Zbrush and more quickly and efficiently export it directly into Formlabs’ Preform software to start the 3D printing process more quickly and easily. They’re even talking about a “One Click Print” tool.


ToolFarm Article – Pixologic Is Joining Forces With Formlabs With Integration Plug-In

Setting Up the Cintiq Pen Tablet to Work Better with Zbrush.

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:

Glen Southern - Zbrush Cintiq options

Setting Up a Cintiq Companion in Zbrush – Glen Southern

Something Beautiful in Jewellery – Zbrush’s Dedicated Jewellery Design Case Studies

It was recently brought to my attention that when Pixologic (makers of Zbrush) expanded their website, they officially included the jewellery industry as one of their official user bases for the site. This is in no small part thanks to the pioneering work of several talented craftsmen with dedication and staggering amounts of free time on their hands.

The result is a technical case study section of arresting beauty. For a software page, this features quite a catalogue of awe-inspiring high end jewellery work, featuring sculptural CAD heroes like TS Wittlesbach and Jack Du Rose alongside some newer faces.

Pixologic Zbrush jewellery design examples

If you’re looking for some fine jewellery design inspiration for the week, start with Pixologic Zbrush’s jewellery design case studies!

(Update: This article has now become part of a regular feature on the blog entitled Something Beautiful in Jewellery.)

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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Exhibition Review – Diverse Maniere: Piranesi, Fantasy and Excess, at the Soane Museum

I recently visited the quirky Soane Museum and their latest exhibition on the graphic art of Piranesi, with matching 3D printed and cast objets d’art. I was rewarded with a demonstration of 3D printing for manufacturing like I’ve never seen before.

Piranesi engravings Continue reading