How to make 3D Printed Jewelry
There are lots of in and outs before making your ideas for jewelry a reality. It´s not the easiest thing to do, make 3D printed fashion pieces, but it is well within anyone´s ability, thanks to modern technology and services. It may feel intimidating, for example, when one considers that not all metals are shaped in the same way under the same conditions. This is why many home jewelers simply concern themselves with the making of the model of the piece than simply sending it out to a metal casting company. This leaves designers free to focus on what´s really important: creating expressive pieces that they care about and ones their customers, really want.
It makes sense to devote the bulk of your time to the design process when one takes into account that metalwork is one of the most inspired and time honored crafts. Even today, metalwork continues to define countless cultures around the world. Since its refinement, metalwork has ushered in a new way of living and identifying with a society as a whole. Lifestyles have improved and evolved massively during the bronze and iron ages for this reason. Throughout history, the hard work has required many men and women hours, however, the pay off can be remarkably evocative and meaningful.
In the present, it looks to be getting easier thanks to new breakthroughs in the world of additive manufacturing. Individuals and small businesses alike can count on reliable, capable, model producing technology delivered right to their front door that allows them to be in very real control of what they are making. A 3D printer allows one to dictate exactly how they want their models, and consequently their works of art, to be.
3D Printed Jewelry: Manufacturing made easy
Today, jewelers can accomplish this by employing methods both old and new to produce market ready pieces. One of the best ways, and many will say the best way, to go about it is by using a 3D printer to produce a 3D printed wax resin model and then have it cast in a more traditional way, via mold.
When it comes to wax printing what you really need is a SLA, or stereolithography, printer which uses an ultraviolet laser to solidify light sensitive polymer resin, a wax, layer by layer. This method produces precise, high quality, and intricate pieces. It is most ideal for working with cast-able resin, a particular type of material that won´t leave any debris or ash traces behind when it is melted away, thereby ensuring a close to impeccable final product or what is referred to as an unblemished finish.
The first step is to design a 3D model, utilizing computer aided design software, CAD. The design can be easily edited with great attention to detail, and therefore, may be personalized. It is then printed using waxy resin. This will be used to establish the exact dimensions of a particular mold for hot metal to seep into later on. Once you have your 3D printed wax figure you need to attach a wax sprue or more depending on the size of the piece you are looking to make, to hold them in place and provide channels for the wax to drain out.
The wax sprue is then attached to what is called a wax tree. It is then carefully placed in a flask, a container in which sand is usually rammed around a pattern to form the mold that is used to then cast metal. Instead of a sand, the wax tree should be covered in a fine plaster. After that you just have to wait for it to solidify and become the mold where the metal will be cast.
You can design something in this manner and send it out to companies like Materialise, MakeMike and Shapeways, who will take the 3D printed mold and make it into a gold, silver, steel, titanium or whatever metal you want. Your creation is now a reality. A number of these companies also offer bronze and brass coating at very reasonable rates.
The process described here, as you can see, is fairly lengthy, but it does ensure considerable detail and a very smooth finish that is sure to please someone who is going to wear it on their person and incorporate it into their life as a visually appealing accessory. 3D printed molds are a great way to produce new pieces at a fraction of the usual price.
Another upside to resin printing is that it is rather cost effective as the prices of the materials that are being used to make a good mold are very reasonable. The 3D printed wax model used to be limited by what hand carving and computerized machines could carefully removed in order to achieve a certain level of detail. This also leaves behind considerable amount of wasted material, especially when it comes to trying to bring to life a complex and intricate design. Additive manufacturing produces just what you need so you only pay for what you use. This can make a considerable difference when you´re spending more than 200 dollars per liter of wax. The savings really do add up and can help your bottom line.
Many do see it as a relief, being able to pursue detail without the headache and logistical concerns that unique designs present designers. Along these lines, it is another huge advantage to be able to print a sample prototype out of a cheap composite plastic before deciding to commit to making the real thing. The results are sure to speak for themselves when customer satisfaction soars as they can be sure of what they´re getting into both in terms of comfort fit and aesthetics. This is sure to ring very true when you´re making a one of a kind item that no one else will have, and even more so if they´re personally involved and have a real say about what they would like.