The fast-growing field of 3D printing has enabled jewellery enthusiasts to become jewellery store owners in the space of a few days.
3D printing also empowers creatives to produce intricate and imaginative pieces using non-traditional materials - pieces that wouldn't have come to fruition a mere decade ago.
Interested in becoming a jewellery entrepreneur? Here are the 4 main steps that you need to take to kickstart your jewellery business:
- Purchase a 3D model
- Print the 3D file wax
- Find a local caster
- Find a polisher
Purchase a 3D model
CG Trader is an online, 3D model marketplace that enables you to choose from more than 1 million 3D models. You can either opt for ready-made files or hire a freelancer to create a custom 3D model.
Browse their vast database and click on the 3D model that catches your eye. Add to cart and finish checkout. The 3D will be downloaded as an STL file
, which you can use straight away.
Print the 3D file wax
Email your 3D file to a 3D printing company in your area. Else, if you're serious about your jewellery business, you should look into purchasing your own 3D printer
. Having your own printer is more cost-effective in the long run as you can use it to print tests and moulds on the fly.
If you have your own 3D printer, you also need to purchase jewellery-specific, castable resin such as Formlabs printer
or Flashforge printer like Hunter.
You also need to install the 3D printing software that comes with the 3D printer. Use this software to open the STL file and tweak the model according to your needs.
Make sure that you check the printing settings for that particular resin before you hit "Print". Adjust the layer height, bottom count, exposure time, bottom exposure, light off and bottom light according to the resin that you're using. Once this is done, click "Slice", save the file and import it onto a USB drive. Then, plug the drive into the 3d printer, find the file and hit print. Printing usually takes a couple of hours.
Once the mould is ready, use 3D printing-specific clippers to clip off all the supports. Finally, inspect the mould for any flaws before handing it over to your caster.
Find a local caster
Before handing it over to your local caster, specify what type of metal alloy to use such as gold, silver, bronze, aluminum and many others.
Once the product is casted, inspect the final piece for any casting flaws. Weigh your piece and keep note of its casted weight. We suggest scanning the jewellery to make sure that the caster is legit. This is highly recommended to ensure that you're getting what you paid for - especially if you're new to the process.
Find a polisher
Find a local polisher that can polish your piece and make it look all bright and shiny. Beware - post-polish, you'll most likely lose 3 to 5% of the initial weight, so don't fret too much if this happens. Finally, take professional photos of your piece, note the piece's final weight and how much you paid in labour to calculate its selling price.