Hey Jewelers! Don’t be afraid of Blender 3d!

Learning to design jewelry is often a time consuming task.  Learning how to design in a 3d software package can be even more intimidating…

Don’t let blender fool you.  Yes, it is one of the most complex 3d modeling software programs available today.  While I say that, you should also know that I’ve been using if for years, and have discovered that I only use about 15 or 20 of its functions to design really good jewelry for my customers.

Watch a quick start, and study!

Get started using these three functions

Like I said, I only use about 15 to 20 functions within blender.  There are a couple of add-ons, that we’ll cover later, but for now… 

Of course, you can go out and buy one of the several $3,000.00 to $7,000.00 programs to use in jewelry design, but this defeats the purpose of these lessons, how to design and 3d print jewelry for under $500.00.  I know that you can do it, because,well, I’m doing it every day.

 Lets get started

the S Key

Scaling an object!  That is what the S key is for.  

To scale an object on the screen, first use the left mouse button to select it.  Once it is selected, press and release the “s” key, and you’ll notice that the mouse changes on the screen.   Move the mouse pointer to size the object.

In addition to scaling the object in its entirety, you can scale it independently along either the x, y or z access.  Remember, you are working in 3 dimensions, hence, the x, y and z.

To scale along any of these axis, follow these procedure. 

Select the object you want to scale.  Press and release the “s” key, then either the x, y or z key.  using your mouse, you can scale the object along the specific axis.

Understanding Blender's Scale

As jewelers all work in terms of metric measurements, specifically millimeters, we must first understand what it is we are trying to accomplish here.

These videos and instructions are intended to be used to teach you to design an item, then export it to be printed on your Elegoo Mars or Anycubic Photon 3d printer.  

In blender, the common measuring system is in Blender Units, or for version 2.8, meters.  When you first run the program, you will be presented with a 3d square.  The square in the center of the viewport, measures two units.  

Don’t be concerned with these “Units”, because the easiest way to think of them, is as millimeters.  Why millimeters?  Because you are going to be exporting your designs to an STL file so that you can bring it into the printer’s slicer and then print it.  Each of these units, once exported as the corresponding stl file, will be the equivalent of a millimeter.

Using your numeric keybad, press the 7 key.  This will show a top-down view of your object.  The square should be on the screen, and you should notice that it measures 2 squares by 2 squares.  In stl format, that would be 2×2 millimeters.

 

You should use a Numeric Keypad

If you’re using a desktop computer, then you probably already have a numeric keypad built into your keyboard, but if you are using a notebook computer, then you will want to invest in one of these.

This is a link to amazon, and it is an affiliate link that if you purchase this, I will receive a small fee from Amazon, it doesn’t cost you any extra, and the funds I make there help keep this page active!

click to view on Amazon

Using Boolean tools

One of the functions that I use a lot to make my designs is the boolean tools in blender.

They are not perfect, but they can cut down on the design time and allow you to be very creative when making objects.  Even if it is not jewelry related.

There are three different functions in the boolean tools box, but we only need concern ourselves with the first two, and for this lesson, only the first of the three, “difference”.

Using Blender’s boolean “difference” tool is not that difficult, but you should remember how to select the objects, and in what order to do so.

When selecting objects first, arrange them in a way, that one will be removed from the other.  Remember that the object that you want to remove, will cut out the object that you wish to make the cutout in…

Follow the instructions in the video, that will help you visualize what it is I’m trying to write here.

Once they have been arranged, select the item that will act as the cutout.  Then, with the object selected, press and hold the “shift” key, and while holding the shift key, select the item you wish to cut into.

Release the shift key, and you should notice that the outline colors of the object are different.  Take note.

On the “edit” tab, select the “difference” button, and you will see that the object cutout, will remove a portion of the model object of the remaining item.  

Practice this and get used to how it works…  We will be using this often while designing jewelry.

Practice

So, let me say that you should practice these functions.  I’m sure you are going to pick up the scale function quick.  The boolean tools will take some getting used to.

It is important that you understand these functions, and if you practice for an hour a day for a few days, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step…

We will be moving into more detail during the next lesson, so get ready.

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