Quick vid of my neckbangles… and me being over excited as I rush off to Newcastle to meet @bartv & @shapeways
Developing a new product family quickly using @blender
My blog’s been pretty quiet of late as I got ready for @shapeways at the Maker Faire http://bit.ly/10z8u4V And here’s why…
As you know I’m really into designing typographic cufflinks… but I’ve also been working on something a bit more accessible to a wider audience (who aren’t type geeks or cufflink wearers, which is a pretty small audience to be fair).
Introducing the “Neckbangle” (I wasn’t sure what it was, it’s not a necklace, it might be a choker, it’s like a bangle hence the new product framily name is neckbangle).
Here’s the basic concept - I built it using Blender (which is awesome for rapid development). It’s a contoured, spherical wrap around one-piece design. Styled to sit at the base of the throat…
This took about a day to work out the specifics… it’s an asymmetrical slice through a hollow sphere - which gives the base structure a close-fitting, natural look which should fit most female necks. It’s got a 76mm aperture at the back which allows it to hook on without too much trouble but not fall off. In theory anyway…
Then I took a couple of hours to experiment with the form and create two other versions… the ancient neckbangle (inspired by the metalwork styles of old Saxon / Roman jewellery)
And the Shoredtich neckbangle - a punk themed version:
Cutting holes in an asymmetric slice of a sphere ain’t easy… you really need to do it by eye, changing the slice angle by -1 degrees on the X axis, regular (ish) rotation increments around the Z axis and adjusting Y axis coordinates by instinct. Blender is awesome for that - the controls for rotation around the object’s origin mean you can quite literally click away in each axis until it looks right on the little control box, no complex movements necessary. Also, for each hole or spike, just <shift><d> duplicate the last one and move it again… easy really.
What’s next? Well I’ve got a few prototypes in plastic and steel coming, so gauge the sizes with some real women… then it’s a matter of working out how to attach pendants and, of course, mount typography on it.
I’ll keep you posted ;)
This retro gamer cufflink took minutes to make in Blender… I took the STL of my type cufflinks, the STL of my pendant model and joined them. The result… geek chic
a whole load of typographic 3D printed cufflinks - finally put the vid on tumblr
Spore prototypes arrive: 2 piece interlocking design (thanks @shapeways)
The Spore is my first experiment with interlocked printed components. It’s a 12 point hollowed-out conical star inside a 2mm thick spherical shell with 24 holes cut in it. It was a material test as much as anything - I wanted to get a feel for alumide, transparent plastic and sandstone.
As you can see, it’s worked out quite well. The really interesting thing is how sturdy and usable the sandstone is (the white one) and how good the definition of the alumide is (the grey one).
The next step is working out how to link them so I can 3D print a whole necklace… stay tuned ;)
day #35 - some thoughts on prototypes and what to do with them
I’ve got a few pototypes back and I thought it would be useful to add some sort of framework to how we’re approaching the prototype process:
1) Materials change the appearance of the design more than you might think…
This one seems obvious, right? Sure. But it threw up an interesting couple of points for me. 3D designs (unlike graphics) are subject to real world factors that affect the success of the design, i.e. light, gravity etc. Look at the red Ethanol pendant and the white one for comparison. They’re identical, except for colour, the same material and the same 3D model. But in the real world, the red one has much more definition and the type characters are a lot more defined by the contrast of solid colour, light and shadow. The white one looks great from certain angles, but from other angles it lacks definition and the design gets lost.
2) Design font characters and walls thiner than you wanted at the SVG stage (a bit)
What? It’s like this. All the models and 2D SVG artwork I’ve created looks just right, but the thickness of bevels and extrusions in the real examples have made everything a little bit fatter than expected. This is a trial and error process, but the bottom line is, it the weights are perfect in the SVG artwork and 3D model (I’m using Blender) they’ll probably be a little bit too fat when the 3D print gets delivered. We’re talking small amounts here, do a siting test to gauge it then work backwards. This issue really effects finer type and lines, if everything is a quite big (say characters 1cm high) it’s not so much of an issue, but if you’re working in 5mm or less, it’s very noticeable.
3) Stress test the prototypes…
My first prototype ethanols got a wiggle / bend test. The ‘strong and flexible’ plastic finish was fine - tough enough. The frosted detail version snapped off (see the pics in the blog). That’s great - I needed to know which materials would be robust enough for smaller size / detail designs, and how that would affect usage in everyday life. The last thing you want is to get a whole load of pieces returned by pissed off customers who snapped it by accident.
4) Life test the prototypes…
Right now I’ve got a Higgs Boson keyring in my pocket. I’m going to see how it works out for toughness. The wife is wearing her YummyMummy necklace all over the place to see how it feels too. Here’s some initial feedback - the YummyMummy is a bit too thick and weighty (1 cm deep extrusion) and it’s completely flat. A slight curve on the Y axis so it moulds a little bit to the throat/neck area would help that, plus thinning down the depth to change the weight. The only way you can get that kind of feedback is to test with real people. Let’s see how the keyring works out…
I’ll update these more as they develop. Watch this space…