David Cunningham of New York-based DGC Jewellers is among the first people to have casted using creations made with the 3Doodler, turning them into pieces of fine jewelry. It all started when a friend sent in a 3Doodled heart - the friend was interested in having it cast in gold and asked a momentous question, "David, do you think this will cast?". David got in touch with us with exactly that same question and, to be honest, we weren't exactly sure! Luckily he charged ahead and after some experimentation returned with a prototype: a 14K Yellow Gold Heart! At that point we both knew we had to see more... David is now back with a total of 14 finished pieces including rings, earrings and pendants. Without further adieu, let's take the tour of these fantastic Doodled treasures and find out how they were made.

3Doodler: What was challenging about Doodling the initial jewelry? Were there any that didn't turn out as expected?

David Cunningham: "There was a relatively short learning curve in learning how to control the pen, finding a surface the piece would stick to, and understanding what it is capable of; but the challenge wasn't in how we were going to make it, but rather what we were going to design with it. For me the onyx pendant was a kind of work in progress. I used the triangle tip and printed almost like I was decorating a cake with frosting. This gave me a shape that I really liked, but I didn't know what to do with. I printed the swirl wire around it and cast it, but it wasn't until I was looking at the cast piece that I decided to antique the pattern, and set an onyx bead at the bottom that completed the look. We were surprised on several occasions how different the pieces looked after they were cast, compared to how they looked in green, yellow, pink, and blue plastic!"

Onyx Pendant 3Doodled Jewelry

Onyx Pendant

We used the triangle tip for this piece, and treated it almost like decorating a cake with frosting.  Once cast in sterling silver, we set an onyx bead on the bottom of it.

Peridot Earrings

Peridot Earrings

We just played with making basic shapes for this piece.  We cast them in sterling silver, attached them together, and then bezel set a peridot in each one.

Two Tone Pin 3Doodled Jewelry

Two-Tone Pin

We used the triangle tip, and as it was extruding we twisted it before it completely hardened, creating a really neat twisty look.  We cast it in sterling silver and then gold plated the center part.  We bead-set a garnet on the one side and then attached a freshwater pearl to the other side.

3D: Did the melting plastic medium allow you to make any forms you wouldn't have been able to otherwise?

DC: "We really tried to focus on what we could make with the 3Doodler that would be difficult or impossible to make using traditional methods of jewelry manufacturing. We made a few pieces that we liked, but we decided that they could be easily made with metal wire or wax wire, so we went back to the drawing board with them. The organic look and variation of thick and thin, and even some of the little mistakes, add to the interest and appeal of what we make with the 3Doodler. On the two-tone pin we used the triangle tip, and while extruding it we were able to twist it before it hardened, giving us a cool twisting look; while this is something we could have done with triangular wire, it was still something fun to do with the Doodler."

3D: What other jewelry applications do you think you might like to explore with the pen?

DC: "We do a lot of custom jewelry using CAD software and our 3D printer. So most of what we make is very exact, where tenths of a millimeter matter. I want to explore some options of combining the two looks of precision and organic by making pieces from CAD and allowing room on them for us to add some 3Doodled embellishment. Maybe we will work on a line of 3Doodled engagement rings!"

Flower Ring

The ring shank was made around a ring mandrel and cast in sterling silver.  The top was cast in 14k rose gold and has small diamonds set in the pedals with a madeira citrine set in the center.

Two Tone Earrings 3Doodled Jewelry

Two-Tone Earrings

Sterling silver heart shaped earrings with the word 'love' in 14k rose gold on the front.

3D: How long does each piece take from beginning to finish product roughly?

DC: "The Doodles don't usually take too long, it really depends on how many times we have to redo it until we get the look we want. When we have the piece ready for casting we invest it (surround it in plaster), then burn it out overnight, and then cast it the next day, so this is a two day process. After casting, it depends on how much we are doing to the piece as to how long it will take to finish it. With most of these pieces we cast several of them at once and spent 3-4 days from start to finish to complete a group of them."

3D: Which piece was the hardest to make? Do you have a favorite one?

DC: "I wouldn't consider any of them really hard to Doodle. I think we were just having fun playing with the pen and seeing what we could make with it and we never really thought of the difficulty level. Setting the stones in some of them would be the more difficult part of the pieces. Asking which one is my favorite is like asking which of my kids is my favorite, I love them all! There was time and thought put into each one, looking at what we could do with the pen then figuring out how to bring out the best of the technique in a piece of jewelry. Each of them started as a Doodle then turned into a piece of jewelry."

Splatter Pendant 3Doodled Jewelry

Splatter Pendant

This was cast in sterling silver and then we flush-set some small diamonds in it.

Squiggle Ring 3Doodled Jewelry

Squiggle Ring

Made around a ring mandrel used for hand making jewelry.  Cast in sterling silver.

Knot Ring 3Doodled Jewelry

Knot Ring

We used the FLEXY material and actually didn't use the pen.  We had to use wax to hold the knot and ring together.  After casting we set two diamonds in the ends of the rod.

3D: What is the casting process like?

DC: "My jeweler Rob Oakley and I created these pieces together. Once we were happy with the piece we made, we used the "lost wax" casting or sometimes called "investment casting" method used by most jewelers to make the piece into the metal we want. In a nutshell, we attach wax sticks (sprues) to the pieces and attach the sprue to a large wax base called a button. The button is attached to a rubber base that a steel cylinder (flask) will fit into. Special plaster made for casting is poured into the flask surrounding the piece to be cast. Once the plaster is set, and the rubber base removed the flask is ready to go into the burnout oven. The burnout schedule runs overnight and brings the flask up to 1550° Fahrenheit to completely melt out the wax and plastic from the plaster mold. When the burnout schedule is complete there is a negative cavity in the plaster in the shape of the Doodled piece, and the flask is held at 1000°F for casting. We use a centrifugal, vacuum and argon gas, induction melt casting machine to inject the molten metal into the negative area in the plaster mold, thus creating the piece in metal. The cast piece then has to have the sprues cut off and cleaned up, sandblasted, tumbled, polished, and stones set if the design requires it. This casting and finishing process is best left to professionals, and those familiar with casting techniques. However, I would be happy to provide casting services to other fellow 3Doodlers."

3D: How have people responded to this new style of jewelry?

DC: "We have been receiving very good responses with the people we have shared them with. It has such a fun look! We currently have more rings and pendants of different styles ready for casting that we hope to be adding to our Etsy site soon.

Also, I'd like to thank my friend Michael Husted for sending us a 3Doodled heart and asking "David, do you think this will cast?" The result of that piece is what launched us into the exploration of using the 3Doodler for designing more jewelry.

14K 3Doodler Heart

World's First Solid Gold Doodle! <3

For more of the DGC Jewelers 3Doodled pieces be sure to check out their Facebook page
and Etsy store!

Splatter Pendant 3Doodled Jewelry

Pear-Shaped Pendant

Cast in sterling silver and has a  pear shaped cubic zirconia set in the center.

Aquamarine Briolette

Here we used more of the caps to make an earring and pendant set with aquamarine briolettes.

Amethyst Briolette Earrings 3Doodled Jewelry