You don’t have to be an expert to start making 3D printed jewelry.
There is a free, beginner-friendly browser-based program called JWEEL that lets you build and design 3D printed jewelry.
You can buy your jewelry after you finish designing it, but don’t have to (prices start at about 61€/$83 for brass, and they don’t SPAM you with e-mails!) Here’s more information, including how to use JWEEL.
First of all, you might wonder: Why should you design and print jewelry in 3D? Because 3D printing can easily and affordably create intricate, high-detail pieces. 3D files, unlike handmade prototypes, can be resized easily. They can also be printed in metals such as silver or gold, brass, resin, or basic plastic (good for prototypes!) Best of all, 3D printed jewelry doesn’t have chunky “casting seams.”
JWEEL is good for beginners. More advanced designers may want to download Autodesk 123D for free via our Creation Corner (or, if money isn’t an issue, pay for a professional software suite such as Rhino or 3Design.)
A Rendered Image of a Gold Ring Created with JWEEL. Jweel has settings for both smooth angles and pointy, rigid angles.
JWEEL is ideal for people with no 3D design experience. Since it’s browser-based, you don’t have to download anything to start designing. Their interface lets you build jewelry free-hand, with strictly minimal use of premade templates. That way, you can legitimately brag about the custom piece you created “almost entirely from scratch.”
Here is an interactive preview of a finished piece:
Note that JWEEL does not let you download your model as an “.STL” file. Presently, you cannot print your design from an at-home printer or store it on your computer. However, you can save and back-up your design file on their server for free. You can also send your design to a printer directly inside the program, and do not have to worry about checking wall thickness or “proofing” your design.
To use this software, you will need:
- A two-button mouse with a clickwheel.*
- Your computer. **
* It is possible to use Jweel without a mouse, but it takes longer and isn’t as easy.
** Considering to use a mouse with no click wheel? Please don’t.
This is what the JWEEL interface looks like. There are tips that appear on the screen as you work. Click on this image to enlarge it.
Key Strokes for JWEEL:
Zoom: Hold down Z and roll the click wheel
Rotate view: Hold down right click and move your mouse.
DELETE = First press D, and then Left click. Do not click both at the same time.
Make a new “limb:” Double click on a sphere. Another ball will appear for you to move around.
Move “balls” or “limbs” around: Click a ball. Hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse at the same time.
Make a “ball” larger or smaller: Click a ball and roll the click wheel back and forth.