Digital Tooling and Hand Crafting

Sandra Wilson, Karen-Ann Dicken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Craft practitioners have been reluctant to embrace new 3D digital approaches. Tool making however is a fundamental aspect of being human and this paper presents examples of digital toolmaking whilst the work itself is still handcrafted.
This paper presents a variety of examples from the authors dating from 2005, including 3D printed resin jigs for laser welding steel wires to make jewellery and bowl; a multi-purpose stone setting tool; a laser sintered planishing hammer and laser cut and pressed bowls and CNC milled press forms for creating differently shaped bases in silversmithing.
We conclude that making your own tools is an important way of generating your own visual aesthetic. We also hope that this approach to digital tooling enables craft practitioners to retain the uniqueness and hand crafted expression as well as the hand crafted finish in their work. This approach also enables a more diverse range of forms to be achieved, perhaps not possible via conventional handcrafted approaches.
Finally however those embarking on digital tool making still need to have a sound knowledge of different.materials for example different types of wood and their grain structure if their objects are to have structural integrity.
It is hoped therefore that this approach will encourage many craft practitioners to embrace digital tooling.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Meets Handmade
Subtitle of host publicationJewelry Design and Manufacture and Art in the 21st Century
EditorsWendy Youthers, Alba Capalleri
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherState University of New York Press
Number of pages67
ISBN (Print)9781438487663
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Digital tooling
  • tool making
  • 3D printing
  • CNC milling
  • Craft


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