Before a 3D printer can start printing your jewellery model, you first need to work on a 3D file and create a 3D model for your jewellery with a 3D design software.
There is no single software that dominates the market and is the most suitable for everyone. Every designer, whether beginner or experienced, has different needs, preferences, and objectives in mind.
Here we will cover some of the most recommended software used by jewellery designers to kick-start your journey.
CAD Software for Jewellery
Rhino3D is a popular software used in architecture, industrial design. It creates complex and precise models. RhinoGold is a version dedicated to jewellery design and allows you to create very detailed jewellery pieces.
It offers a large choice of jewellery components and combinations, such as earrings, bracelets, pendants, eternity bands etc. Build a unique design from scratch, or use the templates and tools. RhinoGold includes modelling modules and engraving modules, which make this an efficient software to create 3D jewellery models.
Sculptris is a free sculpting tool, especially suited for creating organic shapes. Users can upgrade to Zbrush, the premium digital sculpting tool which allows you to model, paint and texture. Often used for character design, it is also a good tool for jewellery modelling due to its high resolution. Zbrush allows you to sculpt anything and add intricate details, such as gemstones. It is good for texture and surfaces, however using Zbrush requires some 3D modelling experience.
Matrix is a well-known CAD software specifically designed for creating jewellery. You need to be experienced in modelling as this is a complex tool. It contains step-by-step builders and has all the advantages as Rhino.
Made by jewellers, for jewellers. Inspired by video games graphics technology, 3Design allows you to get photo-realistic renderings of your 3D models. With a little practice, it is easy to master this tool to get your perfect 3D printed jewellery.
Blender is an open-source free software. It uses a mesh-based direct modelling system. As this software has a very steep learning curve, it is less suitable for beginners.
TinkerCAD is easily one of the easiest free 3D modelling tools. With a simple and user-friendly interface, it is accessible on the internet. Prior experience is not needed. It is good for designing simple jewellery pieces and for trying out, but not suitable for details.
If you like geometrical models, SketchUp is a good tool to design edgy or geometric jewellery. It is a free and popular tool and easy to learn. There are many plugins available in the SketchUp Workbench and tons of guides and tutorials to make your 3D modelling life easier. Download the free extension SketchUp STL to convert your SketchUp model to STL.
This list is non-exhaustive. When deciding what software to use, you should take into account these factors:
- Free or paid
- Geometric or organic shapes
- Beginner-friendly with less functionality or powerful but very complex
Remember to pick one that suits your needs, and have fun!