Archive for July, 2011

A Very Special 3D Printed Wedding Ring

There are few objects in life more valuable or emotionally meaningful than a wedding ring. Imagine then, how amazing it would be to be able to design the perfect wedding ring for someone you love! Thanks to some help from i.materialise, Ann Marie Shillito did just that by designing a gorgeous titanium wedding ring for her daughter Keri. And, here is her story:

When ‘things’ come together, perfectly timed, the outcome can be so gratifyingly fantastic.

How wonderful then that I have been able to give my elder daughter a most precious gift, one that is a culmination of my knowledge and making skills, and is her wedding ring. ‘Things’ came together perfectly timed to enable this to happen.

This all began at the end of December 2010 when Rob proposed to Kari, my daughter, and she wanted a specific engagement ring, similar to one I had designed and made a number of years’ ago. This original engagement ring was in titanium, machined and then hand carved to flow around an oval diamond in a gold setting. For a couple of reasons it would have been difficult for me to remake this ring. Fortuitously, in January this year, i.materialise announced their new service – 3D printing titanium and when I mentioned this to Kari and Rob as a way to make the ring they were both all for it. Personally, this is just perfect as I am a 3D print evangelist (since going to Stuart Devlin’s Master class held at the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London in 1990) and I now run Anarkik3D, a company that has developed a haptic 3D sketch modelling package, Cloud9. With this combination – organic modelling using Cloud9 and 3D printing titanium – the design could be a super fluid titanium wedding ring that flows around the diamond of a gold engagement ring.

With the general concept approved, my daughter and I had a great time in London’s Hatton Garden looking at possible diamonds before she and Rob went to choose. They settled for a beautiful square corner cut one. As I am not a ‘proper jeweller’ (‘proper’ ones work in gold and precious stones, I am told!), I worked with jeweller friend, Teena Ramsey, on ideas to get the designs for both the engagement and wedding rings to be an elegant integrated set.

The next stage included a number of steps:

  • designing a test ring in 3D using Anarkik3D’s Cloud9 package
  • getting it 3D printed in steel for Kari to see and try on (to get the ring size right)
  • designing the set in Cloud9 (with the engagement ring ‘set’ with an accurate digital diamond, created and imported from Rhino) to email as a 2D image to Kari and Rob for approval
  • finalising the designs and saving the rings in .stl format
  • 3D printing prototypes in ABS (polymer) to check the ring size, how they slot together, the .stl files and have prototypes for Kari and Rod to handle.

Left: Screen capture of designs from Cloud9 for approval.  Right: 3D printed titanium wedding ring (with prototype engagement ring in ABS)


With all this checked and approved the .stl file of the wedding ring was sent through to i.materialise and in 2 weeks I had the raw titanium ring to start working on! I gave Teena the ring and diamond, we sorted out Rob’s wedding ring and ordered the gold. Finally with the engagement ring made and set, I finished the wedding ring. They fit together so it looks as though the diamond is floating within the flowing titanium bands.

Kari and Rob were married on the 25th June, mid-summer, in a beautiful setting in the Scottish countryside. It was a perfect day and such a lovely couple.

‘I have been so lucky growing up with a jeweller as my mum, from walking through the front door after school to the fond and familiar sound of her hammering away in her workshop to her making my wedding ring using a 3D computer programme! What an interesting life my sister and I have had. Mum, having made my wedding ring has given us a unique and special gift and our rings are now all the more precious to us.’ Kari

Photos of ring and development: Ann Marie Shillito, Anarkik3D, Edinburgh

Photos of the rings on Keri’s finger: Jana Ramos

Columbia GSAPP Saturated Models 3D printed: Soft Surface

Alistair Gill and Veronika Schmid held a Saturated Models seminar at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. During the seminar the Master’s students explored 3D printing and created 3D printed objects. i.materialise made the resulting 3D prints. This is the third interview with a team of participating architecture students, Jung Woo Yeo and Wonshok Lee, and their project Soft Surface. The first two interviews can be found here and here.

1. Who are you? We are passionate architectural designers who just completed a Master of Architecture program at Columbia University in the city of New York.

2. What is Soft Surface? Soft Surface is an undefined object which is composed of two basic modules that together are repeated to create a network of nylon frames. The object changes its state from rigid to semi-rigid to flexible by controlling the relationship between frames even though each frame is stiff. This object is also made flexible in shape and size by adding or changing the combination of modules. It looks solid at first glance but is actually similar in consistency to soft dough. This project is an experiment in flexibility and unpredictable transformation, and also a question of perception. Soft Surface is a hollow object, but it is perceived as mass. It is a combination of lines but it is perceived as surface.

The function of Soft Surface is not determined. It can have multiple functions. This object can be used as a light cover or window shade in small scale, as a ceiling, or wall in large scale. Anywhere a surface is needed, can be a potential site. Taking advantage of the quality of this object, these architectural devices will have unique porosity and flexibility.

3. Why did you make it? There was a valuable opportunity for us to conduct a 3D-print project in the ‘Saturated Model’ course at Columbia University, taught by Veronika Schmid and Alistair Gill. We took the chance.

4. What software did you use to make it? Rhinoceros. To build the sophisticated model in detail, Rhinoceros was the right choice for us. Rhinoceros was also what we were used to working with, which allowed us to model quickly.

5. What was the process by which you came to your design? Our idea started from a question ‘is it possible to make a soft wall?’. Then, ‘how can we make a soft object with rigid frames’ was a question that followed. By considering objects from various perspectives, we reached the idea that should be a hollow object with frames but perceived as a solid mass. Questions concerning flexibility led us to more sophisticated flexibility, like changing the state of the object from rigid to soft and size and shape at the end. To realize these ideas, we studied with physical models (made of plasticine clay) and developed digital models. We created two basic modules that are organized with seven frames respectively. We generated a unique joint to permit the free movement of these frames and details for assembly and changing states. We tried new methods in 3d printing technology at every stage and it led us to the innovative result we did not imagine.

6. Will you be using 3D printing more often in the future? Definitely.We experienced the great potential of 3D printing with this project. We explored innovative ways from the early stage of design through design development to the constructing model stage. It was a kind of a paradigm shift in design. We believe this technology is opening new horizons in design from small scale objects to large scale architecture. We hope to have chances to further examine the potential of the 3D printing.

Photos are by Julie Jira.

Irresistible 3D printed products now for sale in the (New) i.materialise gallery

Those with a weakness for buying beautiful objects should be afraid, be very afraid – i.materialise now has an online gallery of incredible 3D printed products that can be yours to own and enjoy. Because we’d like to open our store in style, we’ve filled the gallery up with awesome products from very talented designers, many of who you might already know thanks to our jewelry design challenge, the incredible reputations some of these designers already enjoy in the world of 3D printed design, or their presence on i.materialise’s homepage.

For those who followed the i.materialise jewelry design challenge, you will already be familiar with many of the products now for sale, and perhaps already know exactly what you want to buy (I admit, I have had my eye on a couple of these for a while now). The winning ten designs are now part of the .MGX summer collection 2011, meaning that in addition to being available online, they will also be on sale in the .MGX Sablon Shop, the world’s first shop dedicated exclusively to 3D printed design. Here are a couple examples (both of which are on my personal wish list. A strong hint to family and friends who are reading this blog while my birthday fast approaches):

Wavelet bracelet: Made by Igor Knezevic

Stone: Made by Dario Scapitta

In addition to winning entries from the design challenge, you can now also purchase other irresistible examples of 3D printed jewelry from designers you may already know, including Karen Wuytens, Bathsheba Grossman, Michiel Cornelissen, and Dan Yeffet. We thought that these designs were too beautiful not to share, and once you see them, you will know why. I can tell you from experience, there are not many women in the office who have seen the Happy Bird earrings and not wanted a pair for themselves.

Happy bird earrings: Made by Michiel Cornelissen

Rygo: Made by Bathsheba Grossman

Finally, we have also included a number of lamps and other home decorations created by talented individuals who came to i.materialise in order to bring their designs to life. Who knows, perhaps the next design we invite to join this collection will be something created by you!

A maze light: Made by Oscar Rottink

1000 et une fruits: Made by Mika Debruijn

See all of these designs and more at

***Those who follow this blog regularly are perhaps wondering who I am and why you see posts from me all of a sudden. Therefore, I will take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Vanessa (also known as @belgiancanuck on Twitter and as myself on Google +) and I am the official writer for i.materialise’s parent company Materialise. I can usually be found running around the corporate headquarters gathering information for case studies, press releases, and application notes. Other times, I can be found staring at 3D printers while they are at work as this helps me sort out my thoughts. The rest of the time I spend at my desk staring at Tweetdeck, reading blogs, and of course, writing. As a tall, blond Canadian with a very loud, frequent laugh, it is never hard to find me when you visit the company. When I was asked to contribute a few entries for the i.materialise blog, I naturally jumped at the chance… so, here I am. It”s nice to meet you all!

Rolling out a bigger shopping cart @i.materialise

Dear community members, your prayers have materialised today !

Well, at least some important ones.

Our shopping cart has been enlarged to hold as many models as you like.
This makes it easy to fill it up and reach the 100$/100€ order value free shipping limit.

We also repaved the way to the checkout and improved the easiness of adding earlier uploaded models to the cart.
Requesting offline prices for several difficult models can also be combined in 1 offline price request.
We will put those models back with a price tag on your personal shelf.

And yes, we implemented a test for WebGL.

Let me guide you through the latest update.

Read more…

Looking for a unique jewelry design experience?

At i.materialise, we love introducing people to the wonders of 3D printing and the incredible experience of bringing unique designs to life. In order to reach more people than ever, we work hard to identify groups that have the potential to make great use of this technology and try to provide services to get them involved. An excellent example of this has been Sketch to 3D, which has allowed anyone with a great idea, a pencil, and a piece of paper, the chance to realize their design in 3D.

Now, we are proud to announce our newest service, Jewelco, which will give people the chance to design jewelry in collaboration with a pool of international designers. Jewelry is worn to celebrate events and commitments that are nearest and dearest to our hearts, so why not make sure the design really is the perfect fit with what it stands for and who it is worn by.

So, if you are looking for a unique piece of jewelry perfectly matched to your taste, and you would like to experience what jewelry design is all about, then this is your chance to design your own jewelry, together with a professional jewelry designer, in our exclusive beta test.

This beta test will run from July 11th until August 26th, during which time we will offer high-quality, custom-made jewelry with discounts of up to 30%.

So if you are getting married; or if you are looking for jewelry to mark another special occasion, visit us at or contact us at

Join us in changing the future of design

If you love design and love making things
If you like to share information and start conversations

If you would like to shape the future of creation and design

Then we would like to hear from you!

What are we looking for?

It is very important that you are really passionate about the things above, that you are inspired by the beauty of making things – and that you like to share that with the world.

It is ok to be young, nerdy and/or geeky.

We would like you to listen (and talk) to our community and help them create designs that enrich their lives.

Living online and social media are your natural environment.

You speak/write fluent English and some knowledge of 3D printing would always help.

Our offices are based in Leuven – Belgium (We are part of Materialise – a pioneer in 3D printing and we have the world’s largest collection of 3D printers under one roof). The i.materialise team is a bunch of enthusiastic software developers, product designers, marketers and service people. We can offer you a challenging job within this group.

Interested in joining us?

Send your cover letter and CV to

Prime gray on its way to pass the test

Mid June we introduced the material “prime gray” as a try out for 1 month. Your reactions are clear: you would like to have it available for a longer time. That’s why we extend the testing period with 1 month. On top of that, with every order that you place between now and August 15, you get a free sample of this material. More information about the material can be found here . Tell us what you like or not? This way we can look for materials that suit you better.

skater prime gray

By courtesy of Howest Campus Kortrijk, Digital Arts & Entertainment, Django Verbaant

Ctrl-Z: 3D printing in fine arts

Last week I attended the official opening of Ctrl-Z. On a PC, Ctrl-Z is the shortcut for ”undo”. It is also the title of the first large exhibition – curated by Eric van Straaten – in The Netherlands of sculptures by artists using 3D printing.

Ctrl-Z features sculptures by Hans van Bentem, Antoinette Briët, Jennifer Hoes, Thomas Huyghe (Belgium), Thomas Laureyssens (Belgium), Stijn van der Linden, Mike Pelletier (Canada), Rinus Roelofs, Theo Schepens, Marc Sokpolie, Eric van Straaten, José van Tubergen, David van der Veldt, Ilse Vermeulen, Hugo Vrijdag, André van de Wijdeven and Rem van der Zee.

Here’s a short impression below, and more images can be found on Flickr.

Ctrl-Z @ De Vishal, Haarlem


Made by Eric van Straaten

Made by Rinus Roelofs

Made by Ilse Vermeulen

Made by André van de Wijdeven

from 2 July – 7 August 2011
Grote Markt 20
2011 RD Haarlem
the Netherlands


I’m saddened to announce that I’m leaving i.materialise. I had a wonderful time at Materialise and I’ll really miss the great and fun team here. I loved working at a place where you were surrounded by such expertise in 3D printing. I also loved walking around and seeing entire car bumpers, bobsleds and prostheses emerge from the many 3D printers here. The knowledge and skill that the staff here use to finish these things still amazes me.

I can only hope that in my time here I’ve been able to transfer some of my knowledge and skills to the people here. I do believe that if we look at the i.materialise website now we have been able to build a solid foundation for continued and future growth. I also know that the guys have a lot of fun surprises and new things in store for you in the coming months! I want to thank you, the community, for all your efforts in helping us improve the site and all the fantastic designs that you have had made with us. It has been truly inspiring to work with so many talented designers and artists!

For me it is now time to move on and take the big step in starting my own company. I’ll be working with a friend to start something that will hopefully make a significant impact in moving 3D printing forward. It’s been my dream for several years now to let anyone make anything. By letting people design and make whatever it is they want exactly as they see fit we can 3D print a better world. One that has a lower impact on the environment and where the products suit us. Currently, heavily marketed products with millions of copies predominate. They are not made for us, not suited to us. Mass production is a deception, and a dangerously wasteful one at that. My next venture is a bit of a gamble and it’s going to be more difficult than anything I’ve ever done. But, knock on wood, it might just be another nice little pinprick that will help deflate mass production. More news on that will follow next week.

If you’re curious as to what I”ll be up to next follow me on Twitter or read my personal blog here. You can also email me at joris (dot) peels (at)
For any i.materialise related questions you can email contact (at)
I’ll miss you guys! Love, Joris

Image is Creative Commons Attribution, AntwerpenR.

i.materialise is proud to launch Gold and Silver

Today, for the first time ever, you have the chance to create your own products in gold with i.materialise! We are ecstatic to be the first 3D printing service in the world to offer you the chance to see your creations brought to life in this amazing material. And, if that was not enough, we are also announcing the launch of sterling silver. Our Periodic Table of Materials has never looked so good!

“There’s gold in that thar 3D printing service”

It has been 183 years since the first Gold Rush hit in the United States and although most of us are no longer racing off to make our fortunes digging in “them thar hills”, the lure of gold and the power it holds over us remains. There is something that sets this metal apart from all others, and mankind has been using gold to fashion their most precious artifacts for thousands of years. Now, through i.materialise, you too can bring amazing designs to life in gold. Whether you design a personalized wedding ring that screams “I love you” or a hip hop necklace that takes bling to a new level is up to you to decide. With 3D printing, there are almost no limits to what you can now create in gold.

The gold used is 14 carat and there are three colors to choose from: very bright yellow gold, a deeper gold with a reddish rose tinge, and white gold. The material properties for all three colors are identical. After receiving your design, we first create a 3D print in wax and then replace the wax with molten gold, resulting in a design of solid gold. Your design is then finished and polished by hand before being sent to you. It is important to note that with this process, creating designs such as a “ball within a ball” and links of chains will not be possible.

Don’t forget, there is also silver!

Just like in the Olympics, Gold will probably steal all the attention in this post, but silver is not to be underestimated. This gorgeous metal (with a color I personally prefer over that of gold) is now also available through i.materialise. Do you need a baby gift a little more unique than a bottle warmer? Print a personalized spoon! (If this service was available when my nieces were born, I know I would have) And, for those interested in going beyond making jewelry and ornamental objects, don’t forget that in addition to its bright shine, silver also has very high electrical and thermal conductivity. So, for those that are interested, feel free to try out some circuits or mirrors.

The process for bringing your designs to life in silver is the same as that used for gold. The only difference is that instead of replacing the 3D print in wax with molten gold, we will replace it with molten sterling silver. This also means that the same design limitations apply. So, don’t be disappointed when we are unable to print your “ball within a ball” silver pendant hanging off of your silver chain (made of links).


The big question most of you are probably asking is, “How much will this cost?” The answer is that you will have to submit a design and request a quote to find out. Before you get frustrated by this answer, I would like to explain that our launch of gold and silver is in fact a test that will be taking place between now and mid-August. During the test period we will be looking at the prices on a case-by-case basis and carefully watching the kind of orders placed. Later, this will allow us to provide a pricing scheme that best reflects the needs and wants of you, our community.

But, if you really want to know how much an object in gold or silver will set you back, here are some hints:

  • A 14 carat gold piece (in all three colors) with a volume of 0.25cm³ would cost around 178.6€, and a piece with a volume of 0.35cm³ will be 225,5€.
  • The cassette ring above would cost about 51€
  • A sterling silver piece with volume 0.25cm³ would cost 30,10€, a piece with volume 0.35 would cost 31,5€.