Digital 3D Modeling

Saturdays, February 4, 2023 - March 25, 2023; 9:30AM - 12:30PM PT (Pacific Time)


Cost: $660

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Take your first steps into the world of computer-aided design! Using freely available software, we will explore the possibilities of digital 3D modeling as a tool for metalsmithing and jewelry design – from laying out and testing ideas to creating finished models and preparing them for 3D printing. 

Computer modeling and digital fabrication opens up a whole new toolbox of technical possibilities, whether as a design aid for hand work, as a way to quickly and accurately make multiples of parts, or as a primary fabrication method. It gives makers an unprecedented freedom of design, potential for precision, and ability to repeat and modify. Commercial 3D printing and other rapid prototyping services allow you to realize your models in a wide variety of materials and finishes, ready to be further worked or serve as a finished product.

We will begin with a discussion of what 3D modeling is, and how it can be relevant for jewelry design and production. From there we will dive into the Rhinoceros 3D software, and how to navigate the digital design space and tools. We will then transition into modeling techniques, beginning with lines and 2D shapes and gradually adding methods for creating surfaces, generating solids, and editing forms. As you progress, we will practice and apply these skills by constructing jewelry forms, including rings, bracelets, pendants, and simple stone settings. At the midpoint of the eight weeks, we will introduce 3D printing options, and how to check and prepare models for outputting to a printing company. In the remaining classes, we will continue to explore the repertoire of techniques, including creating smoother, more organic forms with sub-division (SubD) tools. As we end the class, we will touch on how to generate images of your digital work with simple renderings.

Topics covered include:

  • What is 3D modeling and digital fabrication?
  • How is digital fabrication being used in contemporary jewelry?
  • Introduction to using the digital workspace
  • Creating designs with 3D modeling software 
  • Preparing and troubleshooting models for 3D printing
  • Using commercial 3D printing and fabrication services
  • Additional modeling tools
  • Creating and outputting renderings for printing


This course is available as a live online class, as an 8 week course. Please check this page for times and formats available.


Tools Required for Online Students
This is a list of tools online students need to practice the techniques shown in class. 



General comfort with a laptop computer.


Gabriel Mo (Guest)

If a class is online, or is a combination online and in-person session, all students receive a link to a recording of the class demonstrations. In-person only workshops are not recorded. For staff instructor classes, students have access to the recordings for one year. For guest instructors, access is 30 days. 

If a kit is included with the class, online students will have them mailed to them. Kits for in-person students are delivered at the beginning of the first class. More information about the kit is included with the supplies list which is emailed after registration.

International students may be charged an additional amount for shipping, because of the increased cost to ship abroad. Also, shipments to other countries may incur a tariff payable by the student. International students are welcome to contact us re: these costs and options for their materials. Please be sure that the address with your payment is the correct one for shipping.

If this class is offered online, it uses the Zoom app/website. Through Zoom, you’ll be able to see demos and follow instructions, ask questions and interact with your instructor. Zoom is easy to use and free for students to use for class, and works on most devices, like phones (iPhone, Android, etc), tablets (iPads, etc), and computers (Mac or PC).

Your instructor is also available during free Zoom office hours for questions and help.

Online students work at home or in their studio. All of our recommended tools and the kit materials are chosen to be home studio friendly. Links to preferred vendors are provided in the supplies list sent after registration.

For the health and safety our staff and students, students are required to show proof of vaccination and to wear masks when attending classes at our school. If you can’t meet these requirements, we invite you to take the online version of this class instead, if available. Please visit our COVID-19 Updates page for more information.

And now the fine print. Payment in full for class fees is due at the time of registration to reserve your place. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal. Checks and cash are accepted only if you register at school. If you mail a check, your registration is not processed until it clears and the class may fill during the wait. 

If the workshop is canceled by our school for any reason, all class fees will be refunded, or you can transfer to another class, or you can keep a credit on account with us for future classes or purchases, 

Students can cancel, receive a credit or refund, or transfer to another class up to 21 days before a workshop, whether it is online or in person. No cancellations are accepted after the 21-day deadline, however, we will do what we can to try and sell your place to a qualified student. If we can sell your place, you can receive a refund less a $50 cancellation fee, keep a credit on account with us, or apply your fees towards a transfer to another class. 

If you can’t make it to class, you may send a participant who has the necessary prerequisites in your place. Please call or email us immediately with any changes in the student participant information. If a class includes an online section, your class will be recorded and you can watch later to make up a class you miss. 

Students must be at least 15 years old to attend a class, and students under 18 must have a legal guardian sign our liability waiver form. We have had younger students attend classes, on a case by case basis. If you’re interested in enrolling your child, please call or email us. 

If you sign up for a class and fail to have the required prerequisites as listed in the class description, you are still subject to the 21-day cancellation policy, listed above.

Lodging and meals are not included for in person classes.

If you don't come to class, there are no refunds, credits or transfers.