I’m looking at another interesting attempt to leverage 3D printing for public use by JulBox.
Julbox is another company using a user-design and 3D print business model, where they offer design freedom for users within a limited scope.
Essentially, they provide a surprisingly well-stocked library of basic 3D design functions centered around basic shapes like circles, triangles, common shapes and a set of pre-made templates. These are then modified using their web tool interface to create unique jewelry pieces.
There are literally hundreds of design elements to choose from, all pre-made to be easily produced, so there’s no worry whether a particular design won’t be 3D printable.
For this same reason they do not allow user-specified fonts in their text tool. Text is very important as it permits one to engrave names on pieces, or even make a piece out of name. However, in order to preserve the integrity of the production process, they’ve limited the usable fonts to only a few. But they’re not bad and should be usable for most purposes.
The tool allows you to join elements together as well as “engrave” objects on top of each other.
The design tool enables you to create bracelets, pendants and earrings. You’ll be able to specify not only the element design but also the chain length (if it’s a pendant necklace) and material (18k gold and silver are options).
I found the site to be extremely easy to use; anyone should be able to produce their own designs using this service.
Once you’ve made a design the next step is to purchase it. Here the company provides a unique price based on the size, shape and material selected. Be aware that gold and silver items will not be inexpensive.
Behind the scenes JulBox no doubt sends the completed designs to a 3D print service for actual production. It’s not clear which one is being used, but it might be a company like Shapeways, Sculpteo or i.Materialise. You’ll never know, as the printed and finished object will be shipped to you promptly after production.
There’s always been this worry whether the public would be able to get their heads around designing their own pieces, so one can wonder whether JulBox will succeed. However, I cannot imagine any way to make the interface any more straightforward than JulBox has done.
It seems to me that the issue here is really one of publicity: I think people would actually use this system if they only knew about it. To that end, JulBox appears to have a fairly comprehensive social media strategy whereby designers can quickly post their designs for distribution to friends and others.
If you need custom jewelry for yourself or someone special, you might give JulBox a try.