Bear Cub Martini Glass

This was a custom martini glass of 3 bear cubs climbing a pine tree. The client provided some photos for inspiration and specific volume requirements for the martini. Originally conceived as a 3D printed piece through Shapeways, I designed around the requirements for their process. However, because this was a luxury item, the client opted for using a traditional foundry and had the glasses cast in stainless steel.

Because of the need for precision for the glass, I modeled the basic form in Rhino. Then I exported that Geometry and brought it into ZBrush for the sculpted elements. I looked at a number of materials from porcelain to steel to give the client some options for materials, as each material has different specifications for minimum wall thickness.

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The basic bear cub was modeled in ZBrush, and 3 different copies of it were posed on the stem of the martini glass

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The details of tree bark, branches, and roots were sculpted on the geometry that I created in Rhino

 

The foundry used a 3D printed pattern to create traditional molds and then cast the final glasses in stainless steel.

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I thought that this project was interesting because I was able to combine the precision of CAD, calculating the liquid volume, with the artistic freedom of digitally sculpting in ZBrush. I also liked how well it turned out, as an actual martini glass.

The client was also very pleased with the results. and says that the metal also serves as an excellent heat sink, keeping the martini cool!

3D Printed Custom Jewelry

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One of the cool things about using a service like Shapeways is that you can get 3D prints made in materials like metal–even precious metals. This clasp was a commission for fashion designer Katie Bickford-Sawkings. It is printed in polished silver from a model created in ZBrush:

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Shapeways first prints the model in a castable wax, then uses a traditional lost-wax process to cast the final piece in metal.

Each material has it’s own design constraints, which has been a sometimes frustrating learning experience for me, as I’ve had to keep tweaking things to create something that will print successfully and pass through multiple steps to become a finished product….

Sometimes a customer wants text engraved or embossed on a small piece of jewelry. While I can model it as small as I want–there are limitations to how fine a detail you can get. The smallest detail that you can get is about 0.3mm, so when you model the text you have to think about the thickness of the strokes and serifs rather than the height of the letters. You also have to be aware of the space between letters!

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On this jump ring, the customer wanted the word “C.U.R.E.” in a font that had thin serifs. To scale the text up so the serif was 0.3mm would make the word too big to fit on the ring! So I had to go in and modify each letter, offsetting the original curves to create letters that would make it through the process.

But even though there are some design constraints with this process, there is also a lot of freedom when it comes to sculpting digitally and then reproducing that piece with 3D printing.

An example is this Bahamian conch shell. The client wanted this specific type of shell in a piece of jewelry, and airmailed me an actual shell so that I could use it as a reference.

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I used a Structure 3D scanner to capture the basic geometry of the shell and then imported into ZBrush.

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The scan data gave me a pretty good base mesh for the shell, and I had the actual conch shell in my lap as I went in and sculpted the details. This 3D model of the conch was then incorporated into a custom pendant.

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For Shapeways and other services that offer custom jewelry from 3D printed wax, there is a minimum feature size that affects details that are engraved or embossed. Because of the lost-wax process that the design must go through, the smallest feature for polished metals is 0.35mm

For an example, look at the ring above. The strokes of the letters in the text “One Ring To Rule Them All…” is scaled to 0.35mm. The ratio of width to depth is 1:1, so it mustn’t be deeper than it is wide…It is possible to print details in wax 10 times smaller (.03mm), but it will be rejected when it comes to manufacturing.

If you would like some help turning your idea for a custom jewelry piece into reality, you can contact me on the Designers for Hire page at Shapeways. I would love to help you bring your dream to life!