March 26, 2010
The sunflower pendant

A screenshot of the blender interface

blender render

Blender render of the sunflower.

The final, printed sunflower pendant

The final product

pendant black

The pendant sitting on the oven.

Extreme close-up

Pendant sitting on oven for nice black background.

Jewelry has traditionally been either expensive, well crafted items sold by large companies or crafty objects made by individuals. With the advent of rapid prototyping I think that may change. Instead of needing the sophisticated skills required to do metal-work, casual knowledge of a 3d graphics or CAD program is now sufficient to make sophisticated objects in stainless steel; even silver and gold!

After learning about the site and their capability to print a three dimensional object that you designed, I decided to attempt the process myself.

What I came up with was a stylized sunflower with a loop in the back for a chain so that it could be worn as a necklace pendant. The Gallery above shows both the digital and real life physical product.

I used the open source, 3d modeling software blender to create the digital model. However, any software that can output an .stl file is probably suitable. There are other tools that can help with this process as well, mesh doctor is one that shapeways recommends.┬áDesigning a model that will be printed as a 3d object is a very different and has different limitations and restrictions than a model that is destined to be a character in a game or a film. Models must be ‘water tight’ for instance, meaning there can’t holes in the final object. (A hole in a digital model means there are unconnected edges or no ‘faces’) This was a fun project and wasn’t difficult, if you’re interested in trying it out yourself, blender is a free (as in beer) program and shapeways will print your design for a very reasonable price in many different types of material, like glass, plastic and even metals.



Hey thanks for reading this far! Maybe you'll be interested in more of my projects? Check out my homepage :)


  1. Justin
    Posted Jan 29 at 4:53 pm | Permalink


    Could you please post the .stl file online? Perhaps on or could you please email me a copy of it?


    • Posted Jan 30 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Sure, why not.

      Here you are:

      Mind telling me what you’re planning with it? If you’re making a gift for someone, could I have a pic to post on my blog to show that someone printed one out? That’d be pretty neat!

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