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3D Scanning for Artists: How a 3D Scanner Launched a Jewelry Business

By Matter & Form

3D scanning can expand your artistic possibilities by easily removing the physical limitations that come with making things by hand. A digital tool like a 3D scanner could open new worlds of detail and exploration. Read on about the benefits of 3D scanning for artists.

Here is one example where 3D scanning can allow for a greater level of detail when making small custom jewelry. This process uses the Matter and Form scanner as a tool in multi-step project. Also, it’s easy to see how combining clay sculpture work with technological tools like a 3D scanner, can transform art into a commercially viable business.

3d scanning for artists

The Process

First is the clay sculpting process to create an original design. This work is traditional, but the artist is free to play with a larger scale than what’s intended for the finished pieces. The larger scale allows the artist to add a greater level of detail to the final piece.

3d scanning for artists

Next, the sculpture is scanned using the Matter and Form Desktop 3D Scanner, which captures a replica on the computer as a 3D model. The scanner software can be used to clean the scans and combine them together to form a more complete version of the object.

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3d scanning for artists

From there the model is exported from the M&F software as an STL, a file format the can be opened in 3D modelling software, or go straight to a 3D printer. Here, the artist chose to use Blender (a free 3D modelling program) to smooth the tool marks out of their design. This means they can spend less time getting the clay perfect, and more time being creative. The digital version of the sculpture, once perfected, is ready for printing.

The sculpture is re-sized, or scaled down, in the 3D printing software and printed as a smaller version. The 3D printer used here was the Robox. There are also many online 3D printing services such as Shapeways, that can print in various materials and resolutions, where they ship you the final print.

3d scanning for artists

After sanding the 3D print of all it’s rough edges, a mold is created of the sculpture using Smooth On. 3D printing materials can be fantastic for molding with, but always use mold release.

The mold can then be used to create resin casts, polished and then finished as beautiful jewelry pieces.

Discover the Benefits of 3D Scanning for Artists

A 3D scanner can be a powerful tool, especially when used in a larger creative process. It’s an element that greatly decreases the amount of time and work involved, and opens up new creative possibilities. Additionally, a 3D printer and 3D scanner effectively simulate a mini-manufacturing environment, where one sculpture can be used to create many items. It also gives more artistic freedom to sculpt objects in any size, choosing a size that feels right, in order to let the creativity flow. Then, the fruits of that work can be made to fit any size parameter that commercial endeavours require.

If you have a project using a Matter and Form 3D Scanner that you’d like us to share, or if you have a specific question about if a Matter and Form 3D Scanner is right for your project, feel free to get in touch with us at

Special thanks to Little Shop of Hearts for the amazing artwork shown here.