Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rubies and 3D Printing.

 

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The other day I had to change this ‘ruby’ and set an amethyst in this pendant.

So Anne and I trotted of to Koln and went to visit the' ‘Cherman Schtein Vinkel’—the one where we bought the other one last week.

It’s run by  a sour old bag who smokes up a storm in this dingy awful shop.

Man, the place stinks something terrible and the first thing she says to be is  “ Did you break the other stone?”

Bitch.---- I gave her a snotty answer.

Anyway, the ruby that I pulled out of the pendant is one of these Thai rip off stones.

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Basically, it is low grade corundum, normally from Madagascar that is filled with leaded glass. Here you can see in the picture a bubble that is typical of these stones. This bubble just happened to be in the way of cutting

 

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Glass bubbles, a sure indicator that a Thai dealer somewhere is about to get you to pay for his deep fried puppy tonight.

Except that these get sold in the bags smoke shop---for like EU500 a pop.

On E bay, type in ruby and you pick these up for ten bucks.

That’s the gem trade for you.

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Something that has interested me for a while is 3D printing.

Back in ‘98 I downloaded the first Beta version of Rhino, a Cad/Cam program.

But the tutorials were very sparse at the time, and when my computer crashed I lost the program and by then it was a couple of hundred dollars to buy, so I never went back.

Fast forward to now and the tech has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.

So I downloaded a ‘lite’ free version of Sketchup, a Google based architectural design program that also can do simple CAD.

 

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Anyway, a while ago I had made myself a solder holder with a lid, to stop my birds from chowing my solder –gets real expensive quickly.

So I thought that would be a cool thing to do as a first project, kind of simple right?

 

Solder-Station

It’s got quite a steep learning curve, and this is a simple program, but any way, after lots of tutorials and head scratching I got to this stage.

 

Meshlab

Then I downloaded Meshlab and after more WTF’s I got to a non manifold model.

That tech talk for ‘ It does not leak”.

Solder-Station-Safeways

Then I set up an account with Shapeways, a firm that specializes in 3d printing. And after their software checked my brave attempt, Viola! it could be printed.

Next I am going to do the lid.

It’s really cool because  if another goldsmith wanted to have a thingi like this, I could just send them the STL file and presto, they go to a print shop and print it out.

Ok, so Safeway charges $55 but I am sure you could get it printed for far less than that.

And I would of course not charge for the digital file, just do it for fun really.

Nice tech, this.

Mark my words, eventually the printers will be completely affordable to the layman.

They cost about $2500 for an entry level one now, which is not bad considering.

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Today was yet ANOTHER church inspired public holiday.

I swear these holidays are a complete freak out for me.

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All the shops close and all the kiddie fiddler priests don their stupid robes and wail and wala wala  to all their sky faeries they have never even seen.

I fink ey vreaky.

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