by Erik Es - Amsterdam, July 2, 2018
Sometimes new ideas present themselves through
mistakes or accidents.
Here's a case where I had several happy accidents
in a row, leading to the unexpected birth of an
interesting new technique to create weird and
beautiful 3D shapes from 2D designs.

I love spirals, so one day I decided to design some
earrings with a fairly basic spiral pattern.
First I made a 2D design of a spiraling line with a
width of 0.8 mm. (That way the model can be
printed in one continuous motion using a standard
0.4 mm nozzle.)
I then turned it into a 3D model by "raising" the
spiral to a thickness of 2 mm.

To attach it to an earring hook, this design would
need to have a small ring added to the end of the
spiral, which I found a pity because the design
would look less "clean" that way.
So instead of a ring I added a second spiral. First I
used a much smaller spiral, but then I thought it
would look nice to add one that was just a bit
smaller than the first one.

Here the first unplanned bonus happened: this
earring can be worn in 2 ways by just moving the
hook from one spiral to the other, without the need
to open the ring of the hook.

Also, each pair consists of 2 mirrored prints, so you
can switch the left and right one for a slightly
different effect. So there are 4 different ways to
wear these - cool...

Sometimes women with dark hair decide to try
some black earrings, and then find that the design
doesn't look very nice against the dark background
of their hair. I always have the models in white and
other light colours as well, but quite often they
don't like the design in white or other colours (it's
true, some just look best in black...) so then they
decide to leave it.

To solve this, I decided to print some of these
earrings with 2 layers of different colours. That way
I can give a black earring a white back, making the
design much more visible against a dark

And of course other colour combinations can work
well too, so I made a few pairs and put them up in
the shop to test the customers' reactions.
The design proved quite popular, so I decided to
make a good series of them. Over the next couple
of days I printed quite a few of them in different
colours and colour combinations.

One slightly unfortunate fact: as you see here,
when changing the earrings between "up" and
"down" style, they also turn back to front, which
might be undesirable. However, it is pretty easy to
open up the ring a bit and flip the print.

With that, one pair of these 2-colour earrings can
be worn in 8 different ways - or even 32 if you
include the option to wear an asymmetric pair...

Read PART 2 to find out how the creation of these
earrings led to the birth of another great model -
the Spring Ball.