Tile necklace

December 28th, 2011 . 4 comments

I made another piece of jewelry for Kat‘s birthday last week – I thought I’d experiment with making a necklace rather than a ring like last time. It’s 3D printed and cast in sterling silver, and sits in three parts. Originally the idea was to have the arrangement customisable so they could be re-positioned along the chain, but in the end only a few combinations hang well in practice. Doing it this way, as opposed to a pendant, is much more complicated than I imagined and will require a bit more experimentation and prototyping if I attempt it again in the future.

The design is inspired by an islamic tile pattern that we saw recently while travelling in Turkey. I modelled it in Houdini by first procedurally re-creating the tiling pattern, then randomly breaking it up and distorting the pieces with some final detailing and bevelling. The final form was chosen by spending a while experimenting with different random seeds and noise offsets to find something that worked aesthetically. I then brought it into Blender for final tweaks, cleaned up the geometry to be watertight, added sprues for ease of casting, and exported the STL file for the print service.

§ 4 Responses to Tile necklace"

  • jesse says:

    Neeeeeet! You’re a desert legend Matthew.

  • Mihai says:

    This is beautiful and totally geeky – romantic.
    I would love to see a little walkthrough of exporting the geo to a format that 3d printers understand, along with a list of “do”s and “don’t”s when it comes to procedurally modeling for a 3d printed output.

    Thanks for sharing this, I am truly inspired.

    P.S. We worked together at DrD.

  • Matt says:

    Hi Mihai, I remember your name 🙂

    Unfortunately I never had luck making a good mesh directly out of Houdini – this may be due to just one or two of the tools I used (eg. polybevel), but after exporting OBJ and importing that into Blender there were always one or two funky edges.

    Meshes for 3D printing need to be watertight and manifold (so the printer can make a solid volume out of it) In this case and also for the last thing I 3D printed before this, I brought the final mesh into Blender for cleanup. It’s got a nice ‘select non-manifold’ tool designed for this purpose, to find any weird geo that can’t be printed, and it also has a built-in STL exporter, which is the format that most 3D printers accept. You can use any mesh modeller for this of course, but that sort of point-by-point topology cleaning is not really what Houdini was designed to do efficiently 🙂

  • Mihai says:

    I found this cool little trick to detect non-manifold geo in Houdini:
    put down a “divide” sop, turn OFF “convex polygons” and turn ON “remove shared edges”. If the result of this node is 0 points, your geo is manifold. If not, it’s, well, non-manifold, with (i think) single edges symbolizing more than 2 polygons sharing the same edge, whole polygons represent holes in your geo and edge loops represent some really dirty parts of the input geo that need some serious attention in order to clean up. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a straight forward way to clean no-manifold geo in Houdini, I would love to be proven wrong though and shown how to do it 🙂


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