The technology has facilitated the design process, enabling jewellery artisans to explore different creative possibilities while facilitating the design-to-market process.
The speed of 3D printing enables them to produce multiple iterations of the same design in a day. This gives jewellery designers a competitive edge and enables them to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to design execution, technological adaptation and market prices.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the different methods that are currently used to 3D print jewellery. Furthermore, we’ll be discussing the benefits of 3D printing, and which printer you should use if you want to start your very own 3D printed jewellery business.
Reducing the time to market
Designers can use specialised CAD software to design and tweak their jewellery from the comfort of their homes. Depending on the method that they use, they can either print the casting mould or the finalised product in no time. Through 3D printing, a process that used to take months now only takes days.
Creating bespoke products in no time
With no minimum order, jewellery designers can create bespoke items for their clients. This creates a unique selling point for the designers’ brand. Furthermore, through accurate design software, the client can see what the final product is going to look like, reducing revisions and improving customer satisfaction.
Pushing design boundaries
Jewellery artisans can create complex designs that might otherwise be difficult to produce using traditional, handcrafting methods.
Using a wide array of materials
In addition to contemporary materials such as nylon and wax, you can still use traditional jewellery materials such as brass, bronze or silver when 3D printing jewellery
Investment casting is currently the most common method for 3D printing jewellery. It integrates the traditional mould manufacturing method into the world of 3D printing. Furthermore, it’s more cost-efficient as it doesn’t require a specific type of metal.
The castable model is 3D printed in resin, using stereolithography (SLA) or digital light processing (DLP).
The 3D printed model is transformed into a mould after being immersed in gypsum. Once the gypsum sets, the resin is drained. The jewellery designer can then pour the liquid into the mould to produce the final piece.
Once the metal sets, the item is taken out of the mould, mechanically handled and polished.
Technically, if it wasn’t for the 3D printed mould, the process would be the same as the traditional metal casting process.
Direct 3D printing is more expensive than investment casting as the final product itself is produced using 3D printing. It’s the perfect method for forward-facing designers, as they can print anything that they design without needing any other piece of equipment.
Direct 3D printing is possible through either direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) or selective laser melting (SLM). The two processes have some slight differences – however, in both processes, the laser melts the metal powder particles together, layer-by-layer, until the piece of jewellery is complete. Typically, the metals used in direct 3D printing need to be pure metals, such as titanium. Some alloys can also be used.
Several CAD programmes have been developed specifically for modelling jewellery. Some of the most popular 3D printing jewelry design software are:
For the jewelry industry, we suggest Hunter by Flashforge.
Hunter is a 3D printer for both newbies and companies looking to prototype new creations.
It is a perfect solution for those on a budget and new to the world of 3D printing.
We also have the cast resin from Flashforge. We recommend using the resin from the same manufacturer as it is designed exactly for that printer.
If you are still in doubt I suggest you visit the page where you can see all the technical specifications. In addition the manufacturer provides a large collection of video tutorials where you can install yourself and learn the correct function.
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