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Everyone loves jewelry. And 3d printing.

Traditionally, jewelry has been made with aged processes like lost wax casting and soldering. But, digital fabrication, from 3d printing to laser cutting, unlocks a new world of possibilities for jewelry, a realm of digital craft. You can prototype and iterate quickly, and the materials you can print with are varied and exciting, from acrylics to metals to ceramics.

With modeling software, you can create designs that are unique, interesting, and designed specifically for the medium of 3d printing. This instructable will show you how!

 
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Step 1: Materials

You'll need a combination of tech and traditional tools to make your d-craft jewelry.

Step 2: Create your file

For this project, I am going to be using Rhino to create my file.

Create your necklace form:

  1. Open up a new file.
  2. Select the Polyline tool and start creating the outlines of your design. If you are doing a piece that is more organic or curved, use the Curve tool.
  3. Use the Point tool to add points in the center of each cell.

  4. Go into the view where you can see all four viewpoints. Select each individual dot and move up using the red gumball arrow. This will adjust the height of your cell.

  5. Then, ExtrudeCrvtoPoint for each curve block. You'll see your form take on a faceted form.

  6. My design will be the same segment repeated so in a few steps, so I hit the Mirror command.
    • Rotate the mirrored piece to align with the curve of the first.
    • Move the mirrored piece to line up with the end points of the first piece. This is important, because if they are not perfectly matched, you will not have a closed curve and will run into problems later.
  7. Repeat the Mirror command and alignment steps to complete the curve of your necklace.
  8. Then, select Join to unify your three curved segments.

If you want to incorporate holes in the necklace to easily hang the chain from, follow the following steps:

  1. Create a circle that is .25mm (this will be a nearly perfect fit with the jump ring).
  2. ExtrudeCrv.
  3. Copy this form so there are holes on both sides of the necklace.
  4. Move to desired locations symmetrically on both sides of the necklace piece, making sure the extrusion intersects with the surface.
  5. Now, continue the below steps to make the object solid, and then see Step 6 to separate the necklace form from the extruded cylinders we just made.

Make a solid:

  1. Select your joined object and hit Copy and select Copy in place.
  2. Use the blue Gumball arrow to move your copied plane up 2 mm (or more, depending on the thickness desired).
  3. Then, hit Dup border to create an outer border around the top and bottom faces.
  4. Hit Loft to close the open borders from the top face to bottom face.
  5. Join your surface, and check that the object is now closed.
  6. Lastly, Boolean Split your object from the cylinder holes.

I wanted my necklace to lay flat on my chest, so I curved the form:

  1. Create a BoundingBox around your polysurface.
  2. Create a curve and extrude it.
  3. Select FlowAlongSrf to curve the necklace piece along the curve you just made.

Export:

  1. Scale your piece (I did mine at 5" in the x direction)
  2. Make your file a Mesh
  3. Export the selected mesh as an .stl file.

Step 3: Upload your file + prep for printing

I used an objet printer, which prints from raw .stl files, so we can simply upload the file we just finished in Rhino.

  1. In the Objet StudioTM software, open your .stl file.
  2. It will likely automatically place the file in the upper left corner. The file will be face down, but we will reorient it to be face up.
    • When you select the object, a Model Settings tab will appear at the top left corner. Select the Transform option to reorient the piece.
    • In the middle Rotate section, reorient your piece so it is face up.
  3. Select the finish for the face of the necklace. You can select either "Glossy" or "Matte" in the upper right corner.
  4. I did a mix of materials to give a different material finish. The printer I used was loaded with TangoBlack+, which is a flexible material, as well as VeroWhite, which is a more rigid material. You can mix the two to not just vary the material property, but to also change the color to a medium between black and white.
    • Select Multiple materials in the upper right corner
    • For the piece I printed, I selected the mix "DM9885_shore85," which is a nice deep blue-grey color. The 15% vero white added to the flexible tango will give some structure to the final piece.
  5. Next, select the Tray Settings tab in the upper left hand corner, and click on Placement so that the necklace piece is oriented in the optimal position for printing.
  6. Hit Validate (also in the upper left hand corner under Tray Settings) to make sure your file will print.
    • A message will show up in the bottom left hand corner that says "Validation succeeded."
  7. Next, select Estimate and a time estimate will pop up depending on the type of printing you are doing (high quality, high speed, and digital material).
  8. Finally, select Build and the job will be sent to the printer.

Step 4: Printing process

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Once your print is loaded, it will start printing on the Objet. I've included some images of the process. You can see that the support material is laid down first, and because our necklace is curved to lay flat on the chest, the necklace builds gradually throughout the printing time.

  1. Once your print is finished, remove it from the bed.
  2. Here's an Instructable that details steps for how to clean the Objet correctly.

Step 5: Cleaning

Picture of Cleaning
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Now that you have taken your piece off the printer, it's time to clean the print.

Because we had the print set to be "Glossy," the top surface is free from the support material. This makes it easier to clean and to get a nice surface for the front. However, you still do need to rid the backside of the design from the resin support.

There are two ways to clean your print, if possible, I suggest a combination of the two.

  • Water bath:
    1. Set your print in a water bin between 6 - 24 hours and the support material will flake off in layers as it soaks.
    2. Then, remove the flaked material. Note: You often have to do multiple soaks to flake off all of the material.
    3. You can either do another soak and repeat the process or head to the spray booth (see below)
  • Spray booth + resin removal tools:
    1. You can repurpose a variety tools to clean some resin off your print before you resin: an electric toothbrush, a pointy tipped instrument, and a scraper. You want to try to get most of the extraneous resin off the print.
    2. Once you have a thin layer of support material covering your print, head to water spray booth to quickly remove the thin layer on your print. Be wary if you have a thin print, it could break.

Step 6: Crafting your necklace

Now that your part is finished, it's time to put together the final necklace.

  1. Measure out your necklace length. I did a 14" chain.
  2. Then, take 2 of your end caps and clamp one to each end of the chain using the flat-nose pliers.
  3. Cut your chain in half, and repeat adding end caps to the now open ends.
  4. Now, take 4 of your jump rings and attach them one at a time to the end.
    • Loop the jump rings through the two holes in the necklace, and close the rings.
  5. On the right side of your necklace chain, attach the jump ring to the clasp.
  6. On the left side, attach a few jump rings to give multiple lengths to the necklace.

Step 7: Finished!

Picture of Finished!
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Now your dcraft necklace is finished! You have successfully merged tech + craft to make a statement piece. Show it off!

NamedJohnny9 months ago

I really must buy a 3d printer...

smithallen_studio (author)  NamedJohnny9 months ago

You can also design and have your piece printed through Shapeways. It's a great option!

eeVee9 months ago
Its Beautiful!
smithallen_studio (author)  eeVee9 months ago

Thank you! Ill be posting another related instructable about doing an ombre dye on this same necklace!

Cant wait to see it!
What color where you thinking?
smithallen_studio (author)  eeVee9 months ago

Right now, we are experimenting with a deep blue/indigo dye and also a sunset orange color. More colors to be in the works though!

Very chic! It would be awesome if you used all original photos though.

Hi! Thanks for the suggestion. All photos are originals now. :)