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3D Printed Jewellery: A Beginner’s Guide


3D printing has opened up a world of opportunities in a variety of sectors. This includes the wonderful world of fashion, and in particular, jewellery design.

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.

What are the benefits of using a 3D Printer to make jewellery?

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

What are the methods used to 3D print 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.

Best 3D Printing Software for Jewellery Design

Several CAD programmes have been developed specifically for modelling jewellery. Some of the most popular 3D printing jewelry design software are:

  • RhinoGold – RhinoGold enables jewellery designers to create very intricate pieces as there’s a plethora of inbuilt jewellery components and combinations available. Designers can either build pieces from scratch or use templates to create their products.
  • Sculptris and Zbrush – Sculptris is a freemium tool that’s used to create organic shapes. Users can upgrade to Zbush – which enables them to model, paint and texture high-resolution pieces.
  • Matrix – Despite being a complex tool, Matrix is one of the most popular CADs due to its wide variety of features. The programme includes complex tools that enable designers to build their jewellery from scratch, so using this software does require some research.
  • 3Design – This tool was created by jewellers, for jewellers. 3Design uses video graphics technology to produce photo-realistic renderings of your models.

3DE-Shop's advice:

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.