Advertised as “the easiest way to draw in 3D,” SketchUp is user-friendly 3D modeling software. Perhaps it is so user-friendly because you start by drawing lines and shapes — the way you would on paper. Then, according to the SketchUp website, you “push and pull surfaces to turn them into 3D forms. Stretch, copy, rotate and paint to make anything you like.” With this functionality in mind, you can imagine the sky’s the limit when it comes to 3D design. Recently, SketchUp gave its veteran and new users a challenge in partnership with i.materialise: submit 3D designs for “3D printable rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets, charms, or cufflinks.” Yes, folks, it was a 3D Printed Jewelry Competition and the verdict is in on the winners!
Olivier Eloy took first place in the design challenge, submitting a Silver Diamond Pendant that aptly displays the geometric dimension of SketchUp’s design possibilities. The pendant, which is shaped like a life-sized diamond, can be worn on a leather or silver chain. Elroy wanted the piece to have an antique finish, and that’s what i.materialise did for him, printing his design in sterling silver as part of his first place prize, which also includes a €100 ($110) i.materialise voucher and a SketchUp Pro License.
Second place in the competition goes to Ariadne Kapelioti’s C.A.T. Cocktail Ring — another cosmic design based on the circular orbit of the sun, moon, and planets that represents “the great themes of life; birth, growth, rebirth, social structure, faith and worship.” Kapelioti received a €75 ($82) voucher from i.materialise for her highly unique ring design.
Finally, in third place was Rui Cabanita, who received a €50 ($55) i.materialise voucher for her “Gravitational Waves” earrings — a great design concept inspired by the recent discovery of these waves announced by a team of scientists in February 2016. According to the New York Times, the scientists “heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.” The Times described the discovery as “a ringing confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape.” I can’t think of anything cooler than basing a jewelry design on a recent scientific discovery of this magnitude.
The earrings’ shape is based on data released by the LIGO twin observatories located in Washington state and Louisiana — where the gravitational waves were observed passing through the air at the speed of light. Regarding the design process, Cabanita explains:
“We generated the curves using a spreadsheet program and then trimmed, scaled and polished them in a vector-based graphical program and finally exported them to SketchUp Make 2016 where we developed their 3D shape.”
If you didn’t get the chance to participate in the SketchUp 3D Printed Jewelry Challenge this time around, I bet you are inspired enough by these winners to start dreaming up your own designs for next time around! You can also check out this page for more upcoming Design Challenges from i.materialise.