Engineering an Engagement Ring: How One Man Applied His CAD Skills to Love

3D printed rose gold engagement ring

Shortly after we posted Dan’s story about designing and 3D printing his wife’s engagement ring, Gordon Denbow, a Jamaican engineer living in Sweden, left this comment:

“I can also say it costs about 50% less [than buying an engagement ring] because I 3D printed my wife’s ring (and my own). It was one of the coolest things I have done and if you have the hang of 3D modeling, I think anyone can do it.”

Of course we wanted to hear Gordon’s story–we want to hear all of your 3D printed wedding stories–so we reached out to him to get the details.

3D printed rose gold engagement ring

“This idea started to take shape in the beginning of 2015 when I was thinking it was time to ask my girlfriend to be my wife. I use CAD software in my job and used it to design a basic ring to find out the cost of 3D printing the model. I was surprised how reasonable it was.

The material I wanted to make it in was rose gold (sometimes called red gold here) since I gave my girlfriend a rose gold watch a year earlier and she fell in love with it. I figured it would not be a problem for me to create a solitaire diamond ring myself if I didn’t have a very complex design.

This is where my first challenge arose. The wedding ring market in Sweden is expensive and it is almost impossible to find reasonably priced, certified, loose diamonds. I searched online and found websites where I could buy one. When I put the price of the stone together with how much a 3D printed ring would cost, it was clear that I would save a lot of money compared with the store-bought alternative.

It was a little tricky initially to get a clear idea of the ring’s proportions, but after checking a few jeweler’s websites I was able to get the dimensions of some rings and an idea of what is considered normal. I was also able to obtain the major dimensions of the diamond I bought down to two decimal places in mm and made a 3D model of it, which helped. I bought a jewelry polishing cloth and convinced my girlfriend to lend me the rings she wears so I could polish them. Of course I took that opportunity to measure her ring size.

Arriving at the design was the longest but most enjoyable part. I spent several weeks sketching on the train to and from work and tweaking the design. (I have about 15 models of it uploaded on Shapeways!) In a way I was flying blind but I knew that my girlfriend likes simple elegance and was certain that she would like my take on it. I arrived on the final design, checking to make sure the prongs were correctly sized and wouldn’t break during the 3D printing process. I then ordered a few prototypes from Shapeways in plated rose gold so I could see how the ring would look with the diamond.

I was really happy with how it came out and was in the process of ordering the ring in solid rose gold when we spontaneously decided to get married at a special summer event put on for couples who wish to get married on-the-fly. I kept the ring a secret, printing it locally so I could have it in time (of course I would have chosen Shapeways if the time constraint was not so critical), and surprised her with it at the wedding.

She loves the ring and appreciates all the attention she gets when she wears it–especially when she explains that her husband designed it and by “designed it” she means modeled it in CAD to fit a diamond that he searched for and bought online and then 3D printed it and let a jeweler set the stone.

3D printed rose gold wedding band

Like Dan’s wedding band tutorial, designing my 3D printed wedding ring was a lot faster. It has a special geometric design and took only half an hour to create.”

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