Oct 1, 2015 | By Alec

While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when 3D printing plastic bits in your garage, many experts believe that high quality jewelry will play a key role in making this technology a widespread commercial success. The potential of 3D printed jewelry is reflected in so many fun, unusual and often inspiring designs on Shapeways and Etsy, but few we’ve seen are as remarkable as those made by Hong Kong-based Vulcan Jewelry, who have just unveiled a truly unique Kinetic Ring – complete with three moving gems.

Now if the name of Vulcan Jewelry sounds familiar, that’s probably because we’ve looked at some of their remarkable creations before. Vulcan Jewelry was born in the mind of Desmond Chan a few years ago, who has worked in the 3D animation industry in Hong Kong for about ten years. ‘I enjoyed making jewelry and in 2013 when I couldn’t find a special Christmas present for my wife. Finally I decided to use my 3D modeling skill to build a star shape pendant and used 3D print technology to make it in sterling silver. That was my first jewelry design and she enjoys wearing it,’ Desmond told 3ders.org.

Since then, the Hong Kong-based designer has been steadily developing gorgeous works that can all be found somewhere in overlapping regions of technology and art. Back in April, this resulted in perhaps the most impressive piece yet – a pendant featuring a tree embedded in a cross, also made with 3D printing. This gorgeous piece was thoroughly influenced by the works of Salvador Dali, an artist whose presence can be felt throughout the works of Vulcan Jewelry.

But Desmond’s latest design is undoubtedly one of the most impressive. The Kinetic Ring, as its name implies, was inspired by kinetic rolling balls, but then features gorgeous rubies embedded in a wearable ring. ‘This ring with three ruby spheres that start at the top track, and by gravity follow a path into a small spiral. The rolling gemstones move with every movement of the wearer. It explores the delicate balance between freedom and captivity,’ Desmond explains. It is truly one of the most remarkable 3D printed rings we’ve ever seen.

So how, you might wonder, do you 3D print something like this? Well, Desmond doesn’t even own a 3D printer and if anything, this particular design is too complex to 3D print with a high quality metal 3D printer. Instead, 3D printing is used to make a casting mold for the final creation. As he explains, every design begins with paper and pencils, before moving on to high quality Autodesk Maya sculpting. ‘Once I am happy with the design and shape, I export the model as a STL file and send it to i.materialise or Shapeways to be 3D printed,’ Desmond tells us. He is also very happy with those services, as he feels that they are perfect for low volume creation as he does. ‘They are helping independent designers to develop our own brand and collection. We are now able to transform our designs into wearable jewelry without having to invest a lot of money to purchase expensive 3D printer and materials,’ he adds.

Typically, he uses wax 3D prints, before using lost wax casting techniques (in which the wax is molten away to leave the final mold) to cast the Kinetic Ring in sterling silver. As you might expect, inserting the rubies takes a bit more effort, though the ring track has been carefully designed to enable this ‘I designed a stretch of track that can be easily adjusted by a pliers. I place the ruby spheres into the track and then using the pliers to close the opening segment,’ Desmond explains. The result is a clever yet stylish and truly unique creation. Can you imagine your wife or girlfriend (or yourself) wearing one of these for a formal dinner?

If you’re interested in this ring, or some of the other creations by Desmond, head over to the Vulcan Jewelry website here, or their Etsy shop here. Desmond, meanwhile, is already moving on to the next project, where he is applying the same moving sphere concept to a bracelet and a necklace, to complete the set. ‘I am also working on personalized jewelry that can allow customer to create their own piece. I can print on-demand after customer confirms the design,’ he adds, so we will probably hear more from him soon. 



Posted in 3D Printing Applications





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Ruudje Kaaskop wrote at 10/2/2015 4:52:02 PM:

ofcourse i meant Luigi Colani The earth is round, all the heavenly bodies are round; they all move on round or elliptical orbits. This same image of circular globe-shaped mini worlds orbiting around each other follows us right down to the micro-cosmos. We are even aroused by round forms in species propagation related eroticism. Why should I join the straying mass who want to make everything angular? I am going to pursue Galileo Galilei's philosophy: my world is also round. — Luigi Colani

Ruudje Kaaskop wrote at 10/2/2015 12:56:56 AM:

What a lousy finish! any professionel goldsmiths stomach would turn by the sight of such a grainy surface! Shapeways = Big Money, uses a 50K solidscape 25 micron printer, Cartier, Piaget and their likes have used STL files with printers for decades! Now we, the real artisan goldsmiths, can finaly afford a CARIMA C-CAT 5 micron printer and cast our prints ourself! Power to the people! We have been slaving away for peanuts for far too long! Even Master Industrial Designer Maestro Golani is a crap jewellery-Designer! Stick to your trade, 3d printing was never invented for making crap jewellery even more worthless! Bloody Amateurs!

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