Introduction: Create Movable 3D Printed Jewelry Using CAD

About: Mechatronics Engineer who loves to implement new ideas. Expertise in mechanical design, electronics, 3D printing, and robotics.

Hello everyone, today I will be showing you the beauty of 3D printing technology. You can do a lot with a 3d printer and one of them is creating a movable part. Basically, you design in such a way that 3d printer assembles all the part for you without doing the manual assembly. Hence, saving time and effort on your part while creating better structures. This is the first workshop which I conducted with The Assembly and its a great place to work if you are a maker in Dubai.

I will show you a step-by-step guide in designing your own jewelry using CAD software

Step 1: Materials Required

  1. 3D printer - at least 15x15cm area
  2. Autodesk Fusion 360
  3. PLA Filament (any filament is fine)

Most important material here is the 3D printer. If you have one then make sure that its area is at least 10x10cm. In case if you don't then use 3D Hubs or local companies to outsource the design. We used MakerBot Replica+ to print our design. CAD software which we used is Autodesk fusion 360 and it can be downloaded for free in the above link. Just make sure you sign up for student version by filling up the form to get a few years of license instead of the normal 30-day trial.

You can download all the files from GrabCAD -

I have posted all the source files and STL files so that you can print it out. STL files are also posted below.

Step 2: Tolerance Test

Before starting printing, we need to do the tolerance test of a 3d printer. Tolerance test checks the limit of your printer. It will tell us how much gap we should leave so that the structure will rotate perfectly. Since you will have a different printer than mine so your tolerance might also be different. Tolerance of any printer depends on nozzle size, filament, speed .etc. I personally had a lot of failed attempts because I didn't find the right tolerance for my printer. So this step is important if you want to save your filament and time.

On the above design, those numbers are the gap in millimeter between the cylinder and solid cube. Eg - 0.3 is 0.3mm of a gap in radius between cylinder and cube. The diameter of all cylinder is 5mm and as the number increases, so the gap increases. For my case, at 0.6mm the cylinder just starts to come out and at 0.7mm it rotates perfectly. Hence, 0.7mm is my tolerance value since it will help me in making rotating jewel.

Download the tolerance file below. There are many other designs to check tolerance of your printer like this so look up to it.

Step 3: Square Jewel - Rotating

Now we start making the design of square jewel on fusion 360. The design consists of 3 cubes which are connected through each other with a cylinder inserted in a hole. A gap between the cylinder and hole is the tolerance of 0.7mm.

Printing Settings:-

  • Raft: No
  • Support: No
  • Infill: 10%
  • Resolution: 0.2mm

All the source files of square jewel are below.

Step 4: How It Rotates

This is how it looks like inside the square jewel. That's the cylinder and hole which I was talking about. If you want to know the step by step method on how I designed it then download the word docs below. It will be a headache to make this instructable too long :)

Step 5: Earing - Chained Jewel

Making a chain jewel is more simple, just intersect 2 rings so that there is at least 0.7mm gap between them. If the gap is too less then it will end up getting merged and won't be able to move.

Printing Settings:-

  • Raft: No
  • Support: No
  • Infill: 40%
  • Resolution: 0.2mm

Design files are below.

Step 6: Optimizing the Chain

The interesting thing to note here is that the vertical ring shouldn't touch the printer bed while the horizontal ring is tilted at an angle. There are important reasons for that.

If the vertical ring goes below the base then the 3d printer will print the full design in the air when it starts printing with the ring. Since that will require more printing time and filament so we avoid it by keeping the vertical ring slightly above the ground. For the horizontal ring, it fits perfectly only when it is tilted and if the ring is parallel to the ground then it will need additional support. Again we avoid the support by keeping a tilted design.

We implement the above method to optimize the design. Optimization is basically using the minimum amount of material to produce the same result. Since we eliminated the support, we reduce the amount of filament and printing time required to achieve the same result.

Below is the word document to show you step by step guide in designing the earing

Step 7: Congraluations

If you reached till here then you finally know the basics of CAD and 3D printing. There is a lot you can do with CAD software. What I showed you is just a tip of the iceberg. I have a collection of CAD design animations which will interest you - My CAD Animations

I also post about my design and engineering project on my youtube channel - Technology Design Channel

Have a good day.

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