Tag Archives: 3D Printing

Tech on the Neck -wearable technologies and technology in the jewellery studio

Today is ‘Embrace your Geekness Day’, and we love when jewellery and technology meet in a beautiful way so we are encouraging you to get involved by harking on about your passion. Anyway, if you are reading this you are probably into jewellery, so let’s nerd it up and see what the technological enthusiasts are up to.

Jewellery is more often about appearance over function. Traditional jewellery making techniques date as far back as any tools that were made for human survival, yet utility and beauty have frequently gone hand in hand in the jewellery world and now designers are using cutting edge technologies to realise their pieces. A 17th century abacus ring is thought to be the first known item of wearable technology; its teeny tiny silver beads count as an impressive feat to this day.

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17th Century Abacus Ring. Photo via Gizmodo

Personally, I am still baffled by mood rings; their mystic powers (thermotropic liquid crystals that show different colours at different temperatures) never fail to interpret my complex emotions. Thankfully there are many movers and shakers in the jewellery world forging the path with new technologies allowing us to reap these beautiful rewards.

Architect Jenny Wu created Lace, a collection of 3D printed and cast jewellery, that echos the designs of her architectural practice. These beautiful interlocking designs are not just appreciated as pieces by the wearer and any admirers; she has been recognised for her pioneering work in 3D printing by the design press.

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Jenny Wu

Glasgow based Lynne Maclachlan has taken 3D printing into the realms of geometric brights for our delight. With a background in aerospace engineering, Maclachlan creates optical illusions with these seemingly simple structures.

Fan neckpiece

Lynne MacLaughlan

Speaking of bright, if you have a bright idea that solves a problem, there is an invention award for you. The James Dyson Award website is a wonderful place to hoover up ideas for innovation. Entries have previously included Elenice de Faria Elmi a jewellery designer whose idea for a magnetic earbud to listen to music hands-free led her to examine its use for children and teenagers with hearing loss. Entries for the James Dyson Award close on July 20th.

So on this day of embracing the geekery in your life we will wish you the best of luck with re-inventing yourself as an inventor. Or just remind yourself that geek is chic and that passion doesn’t go out of fashion whilst on one of our lovely courses!

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Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

Innovations in Jewellery Making

Tutor Anna Campbell has been looking at innovations in jewellery making.

When I go to museums and see jewellery that has been found on archaeological digs I am always amazed at how current it looks, how it could have been made today. We still use many techniques that would not have been out of place hundreds of years ago and yet technology has moved on to develop methods that would be incredible to those jewellers from yesteryear.

Here I look at some of the key innovations that have taken the craft of jewellery making in new directions.

 

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Roman gold rings with stones, 3-4 Century AD from the collection at the British Museum

 

1. 3D printing

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Examples of 3D printed jewellery from Fathom and Form jewelry LINK http://www.aniwaa.com/3d-printing-for-jewelry/

 

3D printing allows us to use a machine to ‘print’ a 3 dimensional object. This innovation is becoming more utilised in jewellery making in many ways including

 

  • to make samples and test pieces in resin or plastic
  • to print in wax ready for casting in metal
  • for printing directly in plastic or metal

 

Printing in wax for casting by Next Day Wax

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It’s an exciting way to design jewellery and to try this out yourself you need to master computer-aided design (also known as CAD) or work with a CAD designer to transfer your sketches into a CAD file that is suitable for printing.

Recently, students and staff from LJS were lucky enough to visit a local 3D printing company My Mini Factory. You can read more about this visit here.

 

2. Laser technology

Soldering, particularly multiple solder joins in one piece, can be the bane of the jeweller’s life (as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you!). It is particularly tricky when trying to fix broken pieces with gemstones already set because of concerns of damaging the stones. The use of laser welding has helped to make the process of repairing and soldering easier without heat damage to the whole piece.

Laser engraving has also meant that engraving is possible without damage to the piece and is now regularly used at the assay office when hallmarking, helping to ensure pieces aren’t damaged as they could be with the ‘struck’ mark.

 

3. Metal clay

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Metal clay necklace made by visiting tutor Julia Rai

 

First developed in Japan in 1990, metal clay is a different way of working with metals. Metal particles, an organic binder and some water are combined to create a putty-type substance that can be moulded and shaped, dried and fired either with a torch or a kiln. It is a beautiful addition to our ways of working with metal and artists working in the medium have fast developed their skills to do so.

Metal clay is available in many metals including fine silver, sterling silver, gold, copper, bronze and steel. It also comes in different forms including lump clay, paste, syringe and paper.

If you would like to see what is possible to create with metal clay check out the pieces submitted to the Metal Clay Masters Registry.

 

4. Motorised drilling and polishing

Drilling and polishing pieces has become a quicker process than our predecessors could ever have imagined as we have the benefit of using many nifty pieces of machinery including the pendant motor, flex shaft and motorised drill.

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Jool tool

 

At our last supplier event Petra from Metal Clay Ltd brought along one of the latest innovations in polishing – the Jool tool. You can have a look at a video review of the Jool tool here.

We all definitely had tool envy!

 

What other innovations have I missed? Have you tried 3D printing? We’d love to hear your thoughts on innovations in jewellery making. Please share them with us in the comments below or via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

LJS gets an insight into 3D Printing

Last month groups of LJS students were lucky enough to secure a place on our visit to a local 3D printing company.  ‘My Mini Factory’ which launched in 2013, is the world’s leading curated social platform for 3D Printable objects.  The community platform connects 3D Designers, makers, users and brands.  For more information about the company please click here: https://www.myminifactory.com/


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The tour of the studio was absolutely fascinating and we were given a great insight into how the 3D printing world works.  Students (and lucky staff representatives) were shown lots of different 3D printed jewellery masters in various resins, along with the finished cast pieces.  Max (our guide from My Mini Factory) explained the process of getting from a digital design file to a finished piece of jewellery.

One student, Nadia Thomas ( http://www.chamareldesigns.com ) was asked to provide two examples of her work in order to be reproduced with a 3D printer.  A demonstration was given of the ‘scanning’ process.  This essentially was a 360 degree photo of the object which was converted into a digital file ready for retouching and printing.

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The images below show the 3D printed versions and Nadia’s original sterling silver masters.

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We got lots of great feedback from the students that attended and many have since said that they would love to give it a go for their own work.  We still love our jewellery to be handmade but would definitely be open to experimenting with this exciting technology.  We would love to hear your thoughts or experiences of 3D printing.

Author: Sophie Arnott

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