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A paradigm shift: print on demand objects to sell


#1

Hi all,

Another shift in the scene. Like lulu.com where you create print on
demand (POD) books that are made one at a time for the customer, and
you notice because you get a check, this is now moving into objects
(and will one day touch us in the jewelry world as well).

See http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/16-04/bz_instapreneur

Comments?

best
Charles


#2

Processes like this may eventually be used for metal jewelry but
there is a long way to go on the resolution and finish of CAM product
in the jewelry world before such a product would not require
extensive finishing work by a bench goldsmith. That is not to say you
cannot do it. I have been looking at plastic injection molds being
made now that can be put right into use after machining rather than
sending them out for finishing and polishing which is the typical
process right now. These molds have a mirror like surface finish and
are very complex surfaces. The drawback is the machinery needed to
make them is in the mid to upper six figure range and it takes a lot
of machine time to produce finishes like that. To pay for equipment
like that you need very high dollar products like molds and dies not
consumer items.

The main reason I don’t see this type of process being used for print
on demand jewelry is not that you cannot make such a machine but
rather that the precision necessary for such a machine to function
makes it way too expensive to use for such a purpose.

Just my .02 worth.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#3

Charles,

This appears to be the birth of a whole new area of opportunity for
designers. At the moment the available materials and processes are
limited but I can see that this will probably expand in due time. I
think that some of us here on Orchid will see this as too limiting
but I think that this process opens up a tremendous amount of
possibilities, only limited by ones imagination.


http://www.ponoko.com

Joel Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com


#4

Hi James,

My personal and professional history involves a close association
with a couple of the more popular CAD programs, from pre-beta to
current iteration. I’ve also been involved with some ongoing R&D on
some of the “printers”, although I am no longer involved in that
field.

Your comments are right on the money. The CAM industry is not
"moving" in the direction of print-to-go jewelry for exactly the
reasons stated, and also because the jewelry industry represents
such a tiny market for the growing machines. The cost/benefit is
just not there.

Of course, hope seems to spring eternal among jewelers. What I see is
that once a new hammer is obtained, everything is viewed as a nail.
Neither CAD nor CAM are always the most appropriate tool for the job,
but it’s hard to convince many of that, especially if they’ve spent
the big bucks and the months/years of training in CAD and CAM.

And I certainly think that YOUR particular forte is safe!!

Wayne Emery, long time admirer of your work


#5

To expect the print on demand to meet the needs for production of
existing styles of jewelry… it isn’t going to happen.

The change that will occur is consumers concepts and acceptance of
that considered to be jewelry/personal ornaments. The new market will
be people who have never known the world without bit and bytes.
Current styles will not die, they will be supplemented and perhaps
complimented, with innovations which at this time we can barely
imagine.

J Collier
Small Scale Metalsmith
http://jlcollier.com


#6
Wayne Emery, long time admirer of your work (Jim Binnion) 

First, perhaps Jim could be persuaded to talk about what he’s been
doing lately (?) Pretty cool stuff…

The problem with CNC in jewelry, as Wayne pretty much said, is that
people DO see everything as a nail. Trade magazines are full of CNC
jewelry that all looks exactly the same, and I’ve only rarely seen
designs in galleries online that are worth much of anything. It’s
not a condemnation of it, it’s just that it is what it is. Some
jewelry is made by wax carving and always has been. At least half of
it is not, though. I had a guy wanting to CNC a design that was a
couple of wires bent a certain way and soldered down, and he
insisted on using the computer - his mind couldn’t reach that far.
So it took him 3x as long, and then he had no dimension to it when
it was done - the tool doesn’t make wires, it makes square-sided
shapes with no shadow line. I want to go CNC too, for the business,
but it’s only good for what it’s good for…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#7

I have been involved in CAD/CAM for fine jewelry going on 15 years
providing nearly 15,000 master patterns and custom “one up’s” over
that period of time. The variety of designs I have seen is astounding
and many styles do not look like “CNC” jewelry at all. I think that
there are obvious levels of proficiency in CAD that can be achieved.
There are in fact many examples of fine jewelry and art that could
not be created otherwise.

Example www.bathsheba.com

Like it or not production printing of jewelry is exploding now and
will continue to be refined as the technology becomes more cost
effective. 3D printing ( RP )of models in lieu of subtractive CNC
will lead the way by allowing fewer constraints and greater design
freedom.

Steven Adler
A3DM


#8

John,

I too have noticed that a lot of CNC look very much the same. I
suspect that this is the product of using high end jewellery
specific software tools exactly as the program developers intended,
never colour outside the lines and it all has the same “look”. I say
suspect because I don’t even bother to demo anything which I can’t
justify purchasing because of price.

Granted under cuts aren’t easy without a 5 axis mill but square sided
shapes come from square sided models. Want the shadow lines resulting
from wires on a plate, create them as grooves around the wire in the
plate in the model… not quite the same but very close to the same
look is possible. A good designer has to work with the tools and
their strengths and limits; hammer or 5 axis CNC both treated the
same care and understanding. And just as a hammer is the best tool
for some jobs so is CNC

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#9
There are in fact many examples of fine jewelry and art that could
not be created otherwise. Example www.bathsheba.com Like it or not
production printing of jewelry is exploding now 

I agree, Steve. I just think it’s at the expense of the artistic
quality of jewelry, and all I’m really trying to get at is, “Don’t
forget your hands.” Bathsheba is nice work, I’ve seen it in person.
1/2 of the styles are what used to be called “Turner’s Cubes” - your
basic apprentice exercise in the machine shop. And all of it is
easily made by hand, if desired. In fact, CNC can’t make ANYTHING
that can’t be made by hand - it just excels at precision, and it’s
often faster. Understand that I don’t have CNC, but I want it - I’m
not anti. There is a whole group of CNCer’s who think that everything
can be done by machine, and that jewelry = waxwork, though, and
nothing could be further from the truth. I can bend 6 wires and
solder them into an elegant shape before one can boot their computer,
and have it sold before the wax burns out…It’s good for what
it’s good for, no more.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#10

As Steve Adler rightly points out, production printing of jewelry
designs is where the future is headed. The technology is constantly
advancing and as patents on certain processes expire, costs will
come down. In several years, perhaps even less, it won’t be uncommon
for custom design shops to have simple-to-use, 3D desktop printers.

Although the resolution is too grainy for jewelry, there’s a printer
going for $5K that is slated to go down in price to $1K in 5 yrs.

It’s only a matter of time before we see affordable quality 3D
jewelry printers.

By now, I’m used to gross misconceptions being promulgated about
CAD/CAM, usually by those who’s opinions are matched by their
admitted lack of personal experience with the technology.

Those of us who do have some experience, don’t all believe that CAD
is “the answer” to every design question or that it can’t be combined
with traditional methods to create something that is greater than the
sum of it’s parts. If anything, I’ve gained a greater respect and
appreciation for handmade jewelry, having worked with both methods.

The design options on the Pokono site (which was mentioned as the
basis of this discussion) are limited to flat cookie cutter shapes,
laser-cut and assembled. However, in the hands of the right artist,
this general method; combined with forging, welding and applying
patinas, is ANYTHING but limiting!

Case in point: Heath Satow, a frequent contributor to the Rhino
Newsgroup. http://www.publicsculpture.com/portfolio01.html Although
he’s not a jeweler, I’ve learned a great deal about Rhino from
Heath.

It’s been said many times, but CAD is just a tool, albeit; a
powerful tool that must be explored and mastered to produce anything
of beauty and worth. And, it’s easy to say that a lot of CAD jewelry
is predictably commercial looking and uninspiring, but the method is
truly only limited by one’s experience and imagination.

Every once in a while I stumble upon a new technique that just blows
me away, even though I’m using much of the same software I’ve used
for years… It’s not hard to imagine that the next “wave” in CAD
jewelry creation will feature very organic textures and treatments
that completely break free from what has been heretofore commonly
typified by the technology.

Regards,
Jesse Kaufman
JDK Jewelry Design
www.jdkjewelry.com
http://jdkjewelry3d.blogspot.com


#11
By now, I'm used to gross misconceptions being promulgated about
CAD/CAM, usually by those who's opinions are matched by their
admitted lack of personal experience with the technology. 

Jesse all of what you say is true, and very well put. I have no
arguments or disagreements with this entire topic - the rising of
CAD technology in jewelry is a simple truth. The problem I have is
with HOW some people are using it. I’ll paraphrase your own quote to
illustrate:

"By now, I'm used to gross misconceptions being promulgated
about jewelry design, usually by those who's opinions are matched
by their admitted lack of personal experience with it, and the
use of technology as a substitute for design." 

You put all this quite well in your postings, and I will say you
seem to have a good attitude about the whole field. I swear to God,
if I ever see another monolithic ring with diamond melee encrusting
every surface I’m going to throw up! Page after page of it in every
trade magazine.

As you say, it’s just another tool. I’d go even farther and suggest
that it’s healthier to think of it as a DRAWING tool and not a
design tool. Design is in the mind, or some might say the heart…
So many machinists putting out machinist jewelry…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#12

Hi John,

I swear to God, if I ever see another monolithic ring with diamond
melee encrusting every surface I'm going to throw up! Page after
page of it in every trade magazine.

Don’t blame the CAD folks for this. Blame DeBeers for trying to get
rid of their fish tank gravel.

Dave


#13
I swear to God, if I ever see another monolithic ring with diamond
melee encrustingevery surface I'm going to throw up! Page after
page of it in everytrade magazine. 

Amen, John!!!

I whole heartedly agree. My take on the reason most Cad/CAD looks
alike is that designers think their “pushing the envelope” by going
overboard. Making good design work in any medium should be the goal,
not making a gaudy POS and calling it cutting edge.

Rae.


#14
Don't blame the CAD folks for this. Blame DeBeers for trying to
get rid of their fish tank gravel 

I don’t blame the CAD folks for anything, Dave. It’s the reliance on
the computer, instead of using as just another tool, as has been
said. It’s the dependance on pave wizards that gets them. For those
who like a more robust style of jewelry, I went to Baselworld and
poked around for just a minute. Highly detailed work that doesn’t
rely on melee-encrusted monolithic surfaces - real goldsmithing,
real design:

Just one example…Yes, the computer is an important factor in
today’s jewelry world, but no, it’s not going to take over the
business…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#15
As you say, it's just another tool. I'd go even farther and
suggest that it's healthier to think of it as a DRAWING tool and
not a design tool. Design is in the mind, or some might say the
heart..... So many machinists putting out machinist jewelry... 

I’ve been working with Art CAM for 9 years, and I still find it
easier to fabricate a lot of items, or use the cad for select parts.
It is nice for certain items, but there are limits- undercuts, open
galleries, and general lightness in detail. John, you are right, it
is a tool, and it sits in my tool room area, waiting for
opportunities. I can usually carve a ring wax, faster than I can
design it in ArtCAM, and faster than the mill can machine it. It is
a handy tool for certain things- Daniel at Race Car just cast some
sterling hinge sections for me for a men’s bracelet project. That
was faster than fabricating them, and really accurate as well, even
though I assembled two waxes to get what I needed.

Rick Hamilton


#16
Yes, the computer is an important factor in today's jewelry world,
but no, it's not going to take over the business.... 

I have been working on my blog where I want to address this topic,
but since it is not ready yet and the subject came up here, I would
like to comment on it.

History of Art is divided in roughly 3 periods: Paleolithic,
Neolithic, and Modern. It is not the only way to look at it, but it
is the way I will use.

Paleolithic period we can define as the period where artistic
expression was limited by the available art medium. One example would
be horn carvings. The shape of the art object was controlled by the
shape of the horn itself, so artist had to tailor his imagination to
the available shapes.

Neolithic period is when man acquired ability to produce the art
medium itself, and was no longer limited to the shapes provided by
Nature. Pottery is a good example of that.

Modern is not easy to define, but we can say that it began when
specialization in a particular art discipline arrived on the scene.
When artist was totally (or at least in large degree) freed from
consideration of the art medium, the artist could finally concentrate
on expression as a medium. Modern Art would be an example of that.

It is interesting to juxtapose development of Jewellery Arts with
general history. While pure Goldsmithing is akin to Neolithic period,
Gemstone cutting and therefore Gemstone Jewellery is still in
Paleolithic period of development. We still have to rely on Nature to
provide us with suitable gemstone shapes. Of course with recent
development in gem cutting we are not as limited as before, but to
some extent we still are.

If we pose a question how would that Modern Period in Jewellery
would look like, the answer has to be Lab-Grown Gemstones, Precious
Metal Clay will be improved to have crystalline structure comparable
to the forged metals, and Computers will free the Jeweler from the
drudgery of been aware of idiosyncrasies of jewellery materials.

Since I practice traditional approach to Jewellery, some part of me
hopes that this day will never come, but as a student of History, I
must say that it is inevitable, and it would usher the Art of
Jewellery into new and exciting phase.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#17
I can usually carve a ring wax, faster than I can design it in
ArtCAM, and faster than the mill can machine it. 

Back in the old days, you had to make .02 ct. diamond eternity rings
with four prongs in size 4,5,6,7,8,9,10, and mold each one. Then the
same for shared prong, and the same for fishtail, and the same for
channel set and still the same for bar set. Then you’d have to do it
all over again for.03 ct.,.05 ct, and on and on. AND then the same
for 7 stone, 5 stone, etc. In the end you had 100 pounds of rubber
molds and 15 man-years invested. This is one of many places where CNC
is a huge benefit - just scale your ring or change the size onscreen
and cut it. Another is that generic type of ring called “class
rings”, with type laid out around an oval top and logos and such -
many hours of hand work done quickly and precisely on the computer
(the old way was etching, BTW). Those are “chore” jobs, though -
lucrative but not really creative. Also woven rings, which aren’t
that hard and also don’t sell terribly well - but there are weaving
wizards that are handy. Don’t take my thoughts to mean that CNC isn’t
useful - it certainly is. I’m just not worried about my job,
either…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com