How does Lumitoro create its perfectly imperfect jewelry? We get a lot of questions about the design process and specifically, how we use 3D printing in the making of our jewelry.
Lumitoro founder and designer Roberto Chaves takes us behind the scenes.
“It all starts with a sketch. I love the raw feel of a pencil on paper to give that first burst of life to an idea. My passion for technology and design has compelled me to also experiment with drawing on the iPad with a pressure sensitive stylus.
“Inspired by the sketch, a 3D model is born. I work in an engineering-oriented CAD program for pieces with more strict geometric properties and for more organic pieces, in a 3D modeling program aimed at creating movie-like CG. I’m always on the lookout for new tools that best help to transform my 2D concepts into realistic 3D models.”
“When I’m satisfied with the 3D model, it’s time to bring the virtual to reality. The 3D printing industry has exploded in the past year but I’ve been following its progress with great interest for over 15 years.”
‘3D printing or Additive manufacturing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling (subtractive processes).’ source: Wikipedia
“Now widely available, 3D printers are outputting everything from houses to artificial limbs and even food. After purchasing our first 3D printer over two years ago, I dusted off my sketch book...the time for Lumitoro had come.”
“We now have four 3D printers in-house that allow jewelry prototyping in near real-time. I’m still amazed that in as little as 30 minutes, I can hold a plastic prototype of a necklace in my hand. Better still, I can make changes on-the-fly. Lumitoro’s beautiful models are eager to try on my latest creations, providing valuable feedback on sizing and overall feel. Based on their input, I can make multiple adjustments and hit ‘print’ to produce a new and improved prototype.”
“Once we have what we’re confident is a ‘winner’, the digital files are sent to 3D printing services in order to mass print the jewelry in a variety of different materials.
From sterling silver and stainless steel to raw bronze, matte black and more, the process of selecting the right material and finish for each collection is one of trial and error. I typically produce test pieces in a variety of materials and finishes that I think will work and am often inspired by the results.
The ‘right material’ depends on the visual aesthetic, the tactile sensation and the complexity of the design. We learn more about the opportunities and limitations of each material as we go. For example, the large Stickii necklace can’t be printed with the stainless steel process we use, which is the reason the Stickii pendant was created.”
“Having decided on the material and finish for a collection, it’s time to place the orders. I still get a rush when the delivery person arrives bearing Lumitoro gifts. They are only ours to admire for a short time before they become gifts to their proud owners. Whether you treat yourself or receive a Lumitoro piece from someone you hold dear, I want you to know that its conception was this designer’s labour of love. Created to celebrate the perfection in imperfection, Lumitoro truly is perfectly imperfect. ”