I’ve been working on fine jewelry for about seven years now and I love it. Working on an engagement ring that someone will be wearing and treasuring for many years is a special task and very rewarding. But the truth is that most of us don’t get to buy fine jewelry too many times in our lives, and even if we do, even if jewelry is truly meant to be worn and enjoyed, it’s still nice to have something personally special but also CHEAP, to wear on that canoe-trip adventure you’ve planned without fear of loss or breakage.
This is where I feel 3D printing can really fill a niche. Growing up I loved to bargain shop and I was always looking for something a little different from what everyone else had. I guess that’s what most of us are looking for, if we think Town-Wide Garage Sale Day is one of the best Saturdays of the year. And it’d be silly to deny that costume jewelry has a pretty important place in most people’s jewelry boxes. Plastic jewelry even has a precedent, in plastic, sure, but also in the vintage bakelite pieces that are sought after today. 3D printed plastics offer designers and their clients a way to get that something quirky and personal, at a reasonable price, in only the quantities desired.
Which is why I went ahead and designed for myself something that maybe no one else will want:
To make this cuff I used the picture frame tool in Rhino3D to make a tracing of a map of New Jersey. I then did the design as a flat layout and flowed it on to a surface built in the desired shape of the cuff. I love how this approach let me have square wires that follow the shape of the curved “surface” of the cuff, which was deleted for the print. I’m fairly pleased with the result:
I had it printed in a rough, unpolished plastic (in Parkway green!), and if it’s lost or broken down the road, I can easily reorder. I’m also planning to use the map template I created to make some other models following the same theme. Earrings would be a fun and very light and comfortable, I think!
Edit: I’m experimenting with offering this bracelet for sale. It can be purchased printed to order in your choice of colors on Shapeways: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/devon-makes-these