These Fractured Gem earrings are my first jewelry design in Rhino; I created them before the Diamond Wireframe earrings. Since I didn't know much about the program, it took me a long time to make them.

Early on, I thought the piece might be ready to 3-D print, and uploaded it to Shapeways. I promptly received an email from their automated system saying the design wasn't watertight, was too thin, and had several other problems too. A little later, I got an email from a human, giving me advice on how to fix my model. Customer service is one of the great things about Shapeways.

I started to pay more attention to the thickness of my models, as each material has specific tolerances.

But the biggest difficulty I had was getting all the component pieces joined into one watertight piece. I was having real problems with the Boolean Union command. To solve this problem, I posed a question on the Rhino newsgroup. Fortunately, there were many experienced users willing to help a noob with a basic question.

After some persistence, the pieces joined, and I uploaded the model. A few minutes later, I received the "Congratulations, your model just became printable!" email from Shapeways. Booyah!

I ordered one each of the earring and black strong and flexible and white strong and flexible. They arrived about two weeks later, and are really lovely objects, simultaneously evoking alien and luxe sensibilities.

The only problem is that they're twice as large as I'd intended. This taught me the importance of keeping close track of the size of my models in Rhino. Since my clubbing days seem to be over, maybe I'll use them as Christmas ornaments.

Their large size does let me see the texture of the material very clearly –- it almost has the velvety finish, and feels very solid and precise.

As for Boolean Unions and Joins, this is still a frequent problem in my new designs, which are more complex. I don't know whether this is a particular weakness of this program. Judging from the newsgroup and other online discussions, other people have this problem in Rhino too.

I'll be resizing this file soon, so it can be made available as earrings.