From his home office overlooking a park in Brussels, Belgium, Andre Bosmans does the work which has put him at the leading edge of additive manufacturing.
Bosmans, a jeweler with some 30 years of experience in his chosen field, designs and manufactures high-end pieces for a demanding and exclusive clientele used to having things the way they want them – and when they want them.
The 53 year-old Bosmans studied for a year (with the intention of becoming an architect) at L'École de la Cambre, the renowned Belgian architecture and visual arts school. A course correction led him to deciding on a career as a horologist.
So in 1983, Bosmans founded his independent jewelry company, Bosmans. The firm specialized in bespoke fine jewelry design and production. Bosmans' wife, a goldsmith by trade, joined him in the company, and that union allowed them to design and manufacture all of their pieces in house.
At the beginning of their venture, and mostly out of necessity, the prototyping of their work was outsourced. That posed a problem. Many of Bosmans' clients insist on strict confidentiality regarding their purchases.
Bosmans needed to find a way to balance that need for secrecy with a concurrent need for a fast, accurate and cost-effective way to do his product development process. As a designer of fine jewelry, Bosmans had been introduced to creating with 3D software such as Modo 601, T-Splines and Zbrush, but it was when it came to showing his clients designs and renderings using those software packages where another problem arose. His clients wanted to actually hold and wear prototypes of the designs before they were finally made.
To that end, Bosmans began to create 3D printed models to aid him in giving customers instant gratification and speed the approval of designs. That solution served a double purpose as high-quality 3D printed "masters" were also required to complete the casting of the final products.
Given how far he'd already come, and the nature of his clientele, it simply wouldn't do to outsource his 3D printing work through partner companies going forward.