3D printed ring commission

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Alongside my current work as a design intern, I have also been keeping busy with my own little projects, including a few commissions. My most recent one was for a good friend I met in Utrecht, who wanted me to design a ring for a close friend of hers.
The brief was straightforward, she wanted a black, 3D printed bat ring. Perhaps something with a bit more dimension and she also suggested a heart in the centre.

This is was I came up with.

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For the first design, I knew I would be working in laser sintered nylon, so I was very wary of the unsupported lengths. I also wanted to design a ring that was still wearable, without the band of the ring compromising the overall look. By using the heart as a centre piece and creating ‘facets’ I was able to draw along those lines to create the band and wings.

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However, with this first design, I felt it was a bit to busy. The extra supports would make the ring stronger, but with the skeletal frame I was working to, it would still be relatively fragile. Therefore, I decided to strip the design back and use the nylon as a prototype for a steel version.

I am very pleased with the end result and I am also glad that I choose to strip back the design to its original structure. I feel the use of ‘white space’ really makes the design stand out and makes the overall appearance more balanced.

And most importantly, the client and her friend, were both very happy with the end result!

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Jweel: Open Jewellery

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Jweel, a product of Skimlab, is an application that provides two user-friendly modelling programmes that allows everyone to have a go at designing their own piece of jewellery. As part of their services, Jweel claims to give every user, regardless of technical skill or jewellery know-how, the chance to create their own jewellery and express themselves creatively.

From this, I believe that this software has been cleverly designed and marketed:  I agree with the statement made on their website that “everyone has an inherent need to express themselves” and by removing the cost of buying a modelling programme and the complications that can arise from designing a piece of digital jewellery from scratch, Jweel can reach and appeal to wider audiences.

(All images are sourced from www.jweel.com/en/)

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The two modelling programmes consist of a Text ring and Freestyle ring app. The text ring application is the simpler of the two, promising exactly what it is titled as: a ring made up from text of your choosing. Available options for editing include the size of the ring, the font, italics and/or bold, and a comprehensive range of symbols.
In contrast, the Freestyle ring application offers much more freedom, but of course this requires more time to master. Although, the interface of this application appears quite basic and minimal at a glance, once I had grasped how the features worked, I was pleasantly surprised at how intuitive this application operates.

With both applications, once the design is complete, you can choose from silver, gold, brass, steel or titanium and a finish of sandblasted, gloss or at a premium, high gloss and, from the gallery provided on the website, each design is finished to a very high standard.

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I think this is a great application for introducing CAD and CAM to a wider consumer market and for the services provided, at a reasonable price. In my personal opinion, I found some features on the applications limited: restricting some of my own design ideas. However, this comes from an individual who already has some experience with CAD and could create the exact design she wanted in another programme: it most certainly does not speak for other individuals and their experiences.

Overall, I enjoyed using this software and I intend to enter one of their monthly competitions. I really appreciated the direct link between constructing your design digitally and having it manufactured: with efficient rendering and price updates. Additionally, I am excited about the potential of more online modelling programmes/apps. Not only will this eliminate the need to buy or download software: making CAD more accessible, but it may also mean an increase in specialist programmes with refined features e.g. stone setting for jewellery.

Finished Commission!

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Since my last post, I have successfully finished the three-part pendant commission I was working on, so I am now able to post some photos of the finished result.

This commission was an interesting project for me. In some respects I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn new skills and take on a more traditional project: developing my skills in that area. At other times, I also had a lot of doubt about the outcome of the final piece, as it was not my own design or style of work.
However, working with a client, coming up with different designs and suggesting options was also an enjoyable aspect of this job and once the commission was finished (and photographed) I could sit back and really appreciate what I had produced. I feel the photos in particular really do the jewellery justice and successfully display how the three parts fit together.

Overall, this experience has opened up new avenues of exploration for my practice, including the use of CNC milling and engraving, and I feel this, and future projects will continue to shape my development as a well rounded jeweller.

http://www.debbieclaxton.co.uk/pendantcommission2014.html

Engraving with the Roland JWX-10

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Commission Update!

Since my last post, I have had several meetings with my client and after working through a few ideas, we have decided to cast the pendants in silver, from machine engraved wax. This gave me the opportunity to learn and develop skills in another area of jewellery manufacturing which, I  am really excited about!

In order to achieve  these engraved wax replicas, I used my Maya modelling skills to create digital designs of the finished product. These were then exported into an .STL format and transferred over to another programme called Protowizard: using the Roland JWX-10 Milling machine.
At first, the programme was quite daunting as the programme required a lot of specific numerical data to be set correctly on the X, Y and Z axis. However, once that was set, it was a matter of introducing supports and setting the correct tool to begin cutting.
The cutting process itself took around 46 minutes, excluding the time it took to change the tool and I am very pleased with the results!, even if it did take a few attempts to get the right depth of text.

Jewellery Commission.

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At the beginning of this week, I was asked to work on a jewellery commission .
The individual wanted a customised version of a ‘His & Hers’ pendant with a personalised engraved message.

I am really excited about this commission as I have many ideas on how I can symbolise the parents and daughter using silver and gold and exploring a more unique and innovative form. This will also allow me to demonstrate the traditional jewellery skills and techniques that I learnt at University.

Going Freelance: An update!

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Hi everyone!
So since the summer I have now started work as a technician at Loughborough university! I am really enjoying the job and it also means I have access to the facilities for my own work.
With regards to that, since September I have been featured in two exhibitions:

Portal 2013
September 14th – November 9th 2013
Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, St David’s Road,
Cwmbran, NP44 1PD, Torfaen, Wales.
http://www.lgac.org.uk/ (see image above)

Lustre 2013
8 – 10th November 2013
Lakeside Arts Centre, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD
http://www.lakesidearts.org.uk/Crafts/LUSTRE.html

Both exhibitions were a great success and in conjunction with portal 2013, the shell series was featured on 3D PRINT UK’s website!
http://www.3dprint-uk.co.uk/portfolio/debbie-claxtons-sls-shell-series-beautifully-crafted-shell-sculptures/
Since then, I have had several commissions and interest from online companies and I plan to be far more active on this blog to keep you all up to date with my experiments and projects.
Images from Lustre are to follow.