Not everyone knows how to design. Actually, most people don't know how to design...

I'm a father, a teacher, and an occasional maker of things. I'm not a designer by trade and I'm definitely not a professional. I don't think I'm the best of the best when it comes to precision but I am someone with a mind for creative ideas who knows his way around a CAD program. When the Vectary x MyMiniFactory contest was announced, I chose to go small. Real small. Like, so small that a standard FDM printer is probably going to have trouble with the tiny dimensions and hard angles. Given that the top prize for this contest is the MakeX M-Jewelry - a high precision DLP printer - I figured I'd roll the dice.

With my entry, I wanted to show off a two key components of the Vectary interface:

Google Fonts Integration

CAD software doesn't typically play nice with fonts. While it's possible to import text, project onto surfaces and ultimately extrude shapes - it's not easy, which can be a huge barrier for someone learning to use the program. Vectary's design engine provides access to the entire library of Google Fonts, which makes it easy to select, brainstorm and design around projects that depend on a textual component. Google provides a searchable library that makes it easy to visualize how various fonts will look with your text.

This project is based around a 22mm x 22mm x 5mm cufflink plate, so to center the text, I built a box with those dimensions and then snapped the text to the top face. I repeated this process with each of the four words and moved them into position to fit the look I was going for. The built in integration of Google Fonts meant that I could simply type my text and adjust to fit - saving time and allowing me to focus on the overall design of the project.

Freeform Modelling Tools

Not all CAD software is created equal, and I don't think all software should be able to do the same things. What Vectary does really, really well is allow you to manipulate existing shapes using vertices, lines and faces. Couple this with some powerful transformation tools and you have a recipe to modify to your heart's desire. What I really wanted to test with this project is whether the M-Jewelry would be able to handle precise peaks and valleys over the text terrain. I used the subdivide command on the faces of the top and bottom text, and used the Local Selection Gizmo to push and pull the peaks into position.

Cufflink Post and Toggle

Once the text was done, the only thing left was to model the post and toggle. For this, I started with a basic cylinder and tweaked the geometry to match the angular look of the face. For the post, I opted for a fixed shape. I drew a cone, altered the number of segments and modified the dimensions to be proportional to the rest of the model.

Why This Design?

This challenge was built around a printer designed for Jewelry. It's capable of delivering ultra high resolution and as such, it only made sense to focus on something small, with precise details that would show off it's unique capabilities. I don't think my this design is the most complicated - or the most labour intensive, but I do think it shows off what the Vectary software can do when coupled with hardware capable of delivering specific results. I'm a teacher, I love making things and I can't wait to see how my students react when they get the chance to use Vectary's software via Vectary teams.

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