Created by designer Roberto Chaves, Lumitoro is a design studio which seeks to combine art and science through the newest digital design technologies to create “perfectly imperfect ” jewellery. To express his artistic creativity he uses 3D printing technologies, as well as metal casting processes. To design his creations he has turned to Autodesk’s newest modeling software, Fusion 360, a subscription and cloud-based design program free for educational institutions and start-up, but also particularly affordable for more established companies.
“Lumitoro would not have been able to launch or exist without the proper tools,” Chaves explained after being selected as the recipient for Autodesk’s Inventing the Future program. “For us, these tools are a combination of easy-to-use and powerful CAD software – including Autodesk Fusion 360 – and 3D printing technology, that empowers me to take an idea all the way to a physical product in a fast and cost-effective way.” He added, “I can create truly unique designs using these technologies that otherwise would have been impossible only a few years ago.”
The studio’s name is derived from the word “lumi”, which is Finnish for “snow”, and the word “toro”, Spanish for “bull”; together these terms describe the nature of Chaves’ jewel designs, which are both delicate and strong, perfect and imperfect at the same time. The process begins with a sketch, just a pencil on paper. This serves as inspiration for a 3D model. The successive passes of digital design and manufacturing are meant to perfectly reflect the imperfections of this original sketched idea.
“I use Fusion 360,” Chaves says. “It is the only 3D software that gives me the power to create both technical and organic designs that end up as solids that can be manufactured. Not only does Fusion 360 give me this flexibility, which I’ve never seen in my 20 years of using different 3D modeling tools, but it is also affordable for a small startup. I am also a subscription customer since this the only way that Fusion 360 is distributed, and through this I’m constantly receiving updates with the latest features.”
Once the CAD model is finished, it is time to turn it into a physical product. Lumitoro has several 3D printers in-house, which Chaves and his team implement to create the jewel prototype in real time. In less then one hour, the prototypes are ready and this even allows for changes to be made on the fly, based on the models’ (as in human models) input. Finally, the files are sent to a 3D printing service, which manufactures them in a variety of different materials, both by DMLS and metal casting.
“The ‘right material’ depends on the visual aesthetic, the tactile sensation and the complexity of the design,” Chaves explains. “We learn more about the opportunities and limitations of each material as we go. For example, the large Stickii necklace can’t be printed with the stainless steel process we use, which is the reason the Stickii pendant was created.” For Lumitoro, this is all part of a continuous learning process, which, incidentally is exactly what Autodesk CEO Carl Bass indicated as the most important feature of Fusion 360: evolving with designers to allow them to fully exploit manufacturing technologies as they develop. In the 3D printing industry, that seems to happen very rapidly.