One of her first products was the Tangens necklace, which she originally produced using Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). In addition to the Tangens necklace, her Papilio ring was additively manufactured in nylon and metal, and cast in sterling silver.
These two products underwent a tedious prototyping phase so Wu could find the best materials for production. A few years later, Wu decided to switch to Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). This is because SLS enables Wu to create more complex and intricate pieces.
Finding the right materials was also difficult. In fact, Wu looked beyond polymers and shifted her focus to metal 3D printing. This inspired her to create interesting pieces that could not be made with plastic, such as the Mobius ring. In addition to being wearable and durable, metal 3D printing elevated Wu's brand to high fashion standards.
3D printing has enabled Wu to expand her businesses. It allowed her to hold a small inventory, print to order, and scale without breaking the bank.
In an interview with TCT, Wu explained, “When I talk to more traditional brands, just making a mould for a piece of jewellery costs a lot of money, and then the time between conception and production could run between one to two years."
She continued, "You’re making a huge investment, and you’re expected to order 100,000 pieces, otherwise you can’t recover the cost of R&D."
In addition to facilitating workflows, Wu is aware that 3D printing is an excellent alternative to toxic fast fashion processes: "You just think about all that fast fashion out there, and the fact we have sweatshops and they’re just pumping out massive amounts of [products] that people may or may not want."
While LACE's cost-price-price is higher, the creation of the brand's jewellery pieces is more sustainable. Thanks to 3D printing, Wu has been able to release frequent collections while keeping her business ethical and still competitively viable.
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