Etsymetal Charm Swap

March 01, 2012 3 min read

I am participating in the EtsyMetal Charm Swapfor the first time. 20 members of the Etsymetal team create 22 charms each for trading with each other. Each participant receives at the end 20 different charms to create their own bracelet or charm collection. It's a great way to collect art work from so many amazing artist. 20 different charms (one from each artist) will be used to create the EtsyMetal Charm Swap bracelet. The other 20 will be available for sale individually in the EtsyMetal team store along with the completed bracelet. Half of the proceeds from the sale of the bracelet goes towards the EtsyMetal Youth Outreach Program.

I typically don't create charms as all I do are rings. Charms require a totally different design mind set from me. It took me a while to come up with an idea. I knew I wanted to do a design in CAD and have it 3D printed. I played around with many shapes and techniques and finally developed a charm design that reminds me of a cocoon.

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Rendering of charm from different angles

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Rhino Screen Shot from front

It was modeled in Rhino4 with T-splines plugin. I mostly used commands TSPipe and TSBridge to create the organic shape and connections and then just modified it by pulling and pushing the faces and edges. The charm will attach to the bracelet with a 16ga jump ring threaded trough the top hole. It took some adjusting to get the thickness of the connections right so it would be possible to print it without being to bulky and therefore too expensive.

I did send the stl file out to Shapeways for printing in Stainless Steel. It took about 3 weeks to complete and came back on Monday.

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Stainless Steel 3D printed Cocoon charm
The charm is 21.5mm x 9.5 mm. I need to make a few minor adjustments before sending it out for final printing of all 22 charms. The hole for the jump ring needs to be a bit larger as the 16ga wire does not fit right now. I also want to make it a bit puffier and give it more volume by stretching the connections a bit out to both sides.
I do like the printing texture a lot and actually wish they would not polish it so much. The Stainless Steel has a bit of a yellow tint to it unlike normal stainless steel. Maybe that comes from the added bronze in the mix.

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Stainless Steel 3D printed Cocoon charm
I also tried some other printing materials. Below in the image the middle is a print in White Strong Flexible plastic. It has the most texture from the printing process. The Frosted Ultra Detail Plastic on the right is the finest print with only very fine printing lines. I will try to cast that in Sterling Silver to really see the potential of this printing material for other design projects. It is not suitable as a material for the charm as it would not hold up to wear and tear. But I think it can be burned out during the lost wax casting process in a similar fashion as the white plastic I used for some of my RAW rings.

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Stainless Steel , White Strong Flexible plastic and Frosted Ultra Detail plastic 3D prints by Shapeways
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Stainless Steel , White Strong Flexible plastic and Frosted Ultra Detail plastic 3D prints by Shapeways

I have to make all changes this weekend and get it out before Monday. The charms will have to be back before the end of the month to be able to make the deadline for the swap.



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