For years we’ve been gradually seeing the growth of more and more websites which attempt to provide a connection between CAD modellers and customers in need of their services. Whether it is being driven by the propagation of 3D printers, a greater number of creatives trying to start their own businesses, or simply a growing interest in personalised consumer goods, it is clear there is a steadily growing demand for creative CAD services. The question is where do these new digital middlemen fit in between the 3D modeller and the customer.
In a previous article we talked about the different ways in which CAD is being used by jewellers to interact with their customers. For this article, I’m going to look at the market from the other direction, and explore ways in which jewellery CAD designers can offer their skills to the wider market.
Get Your Personalised Product Made in CAD Online – The Next Generation of E-Lancing Sites
A few years ago we talked about the growth of e-lancing and how it has allowed digital workers to connect with clients around the world. But more recently, it seems we’re now finally beginning to see e-lancing come to product design and jewellery CAD.
In particular, sites like makeitmineonline.com and volumatik.com offer private clients a direct way to connect and interact with bespoke designers. For each site, CAD designers register to offer their serves directly to enquiring clients through well-constructed client management interfaces. Conversely, the general public (in these cases, usually people with some amount of computer savviness and a very discerning eye) also register and request the services of these clients.
Etsy for CAD – 3D Modelling Communities and Fulfilment Houses
In this same period of time, we’ve also seen a growth of online boutiques selling hand-made crafts, much like Etsy and Not On The High Street. What is most interesting is that this same style of online shop is now being applied to CAD modelled products and jewellery.
Sites like myminifactory.com, shapeways.com, and i.materialise.com would cover the low-end of this, where CAD designers might offer their products directly to the customers. They then, in turn, use the website’s 3D printing services to get the pieces directly produced and sent to them. On the upper end, jewellery company websites would show examples of their rings on their websites and produce them on demand using CAD/CAM. Examples of this abound, such as Taylor and Hart.
Connecting Jewellers With CAD Designers Through Social Media
On the jewellery trade side, we’re also seeing sites focusing on connecting CAD jewellers with the industry itself. In cases like this, the sites work more as middlemen for business to business commerce.
We’ve talked about these sites before, but the few we mentioned before are all still going. Cadfolio.com and Jewelrythis.com still offer ways for CAD jewellers to connect with other jewellery manufacturers and retailers.