shade metals

How Do You Make 3D Printed Jewelry?

Sara & Cesar

For us, 3D printing jewelry is an intricate and time consuming process that leads to great results. Plus, the technology of it all is fascinating. Well it's only fascinating in theory to me, and it's fun to see Cesar's face light up when he figures something out. I'm not terribly mechanically inclined so I only understand a little of what's actually happening. But here it is in laymen's terms with pictures.

It starts with a bunch of drawings.

Then we darken the chosen one with marker so that when we photograph it the lines are clearly defined. This helps once we put it into software.  The gradations and blurs of drawing and painting don't translate so well into the computer. We use Adobe Illustrator to trace the drawing- you can see a section of the clover ring below.  

After we had the outlines, we filled in various pieces with a color. This color coding signifies different layers, with light blue being the tallest layer on the ring.  Think of it like an aerial view of buildings, and the light blue ones are the tallest skyscrapers. Cesar pulled each clover straight up, to 4 different levels.

In the drawing, the height goes- light blue, blue, purple, black - but in the finished model the tiny black layer of clovers is on the top. We think having the tiniest clovers raised the highest adds a spark to the piece.  

Cesar uses three types of 3D software; Solidworks, Rhino, and ZBrush. Often he will have to do the first round of work in one program and then take the piece into different software. ZBrush allows him to do more sculpting work- like playing with a mound of clay but on the computer.  

Other programs are more about extrusion, bézier curves, sweeps, flows, and some other stuff I don't know. Thanks for the jargon babe :) You know typing with accent marks makes me feel special.

Once we have the printed wax we cast it like any other piece, see how we cast here and why clover plants are awesome here.  

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