Super History Girl Necklace

21-12-2011

Super History Girl The Curator is a wonderful lady, and for her birthday and our trip to Berlin, I came up with an idea for a necklace. I wanted to make something unique and wonderful that she would appreciate and that I'd have fun making. I often joke that she's "A super girl who saves history" and so the idea began to form.

I'm quite amazed that one can make such things quite easily nowadays. Here is how I went about it.

Firstly, I sketched up the idea in Ilustrator, using the path tool. Exporting these as an SVG allows importing into Blender. I suppose I could have used Inkscape had I been thinking along these lines.

The SVG is converted into a set of 3 curves. You can add a modifier to these in order to extrude the curves a certain distance. By doing this, we end up with a 3D model from the flat curves. Remember that you need to convert this path into a mesh before you can export it as an OBJ file. An OBJ is format preferred by Shapeways.

Shapeways are a company based over in Sweden and I've used them before. They recommend using Meshlab to tidy up your OBJ file and also NetFabb which helps with the scaling. In this instance, I just guessed with Blender and kept uploading a newer version till it seemed right. I went with a bronze looking metal. 3 weeks later, it arrived at the office looking better than I'd hoped.

Of course, all jewellery needs a box. I figured laser cutting a box would be perfect.

box

In order to do this, I used QCad and an amazing little python script called Boxotron which creates a set of DXF files (which you can check in QCad or Inkscape). Using a laser cutter and 5mm acrylic, I came up with a box that sort of worked for me. I then took the name Katie, translated it into Japanese and exported the text as a BMP which allows for laser engraving. Placing the piece in the laser cutter was the final stage.

Actually, the final stage involved chatting with a jeweller at Central St Martins who told me that the findings and chains I would need should be bought from Cooksongold who duly delievered the silver rope chain and other parts I needed to create the final piece.

Overall, I'm really happy with the result, and even happier that The Curator likes it.