Things to know about 3d printing
The times when 3D printed jewelry sounded like an idea from a sci-fi movie are over. More and more jewelry designers print their designs today. Since 3D printed pieces of jewelry look and feel exactly like traditionally casted objects, 3D printed jewelry is on the verge of becoming mainstream. Let’s take a closer look at this design revolution.
What do you need to 3D print jewelry?
Actually, there is no single, easy answer to this, since ‘3D printing’ includes many different technologies. While some printers work with filament, others use powder, and yet others work with liquid resin or wax (we’ll talk about which one we think is most suitable for jewelry below).
However, all 3D printers have one thing in common: they need a 3D file. This 3D file holds the information about what object the printer is supposed to print. These 3D files are generated with special 3D modeling software. These programs range from beginner-friendly free modeling apps like Tinkercad to high-end programs especially designed for jewelry makers, such as RhinoGold.
Once the 3D file is generated, the printer can use this information to print a real physical object. Using online 3D printing services like i.materialise, the designer does not even need to own his/her own 3D printer. When we receive the 3D file via our website we know exactly what the client expects.
Which are the latest 3D printing technologies used in the jewelry industry?
For creating jewelry in gold, silver, bronze, copper and brass, we use Lost-Wax Printing and Casting. This technology builds upon modern 3D printing technology as well as traditional metal casting.
It all starts with 3D printing your 3D model in wax. The 3D printer uses a wax-like resin as printing material. Next, one or more wax sprues will be attached to your model. Then your model will be attached by the sprue to a wax ‘tree’, together with several other models. The tree is then placed in a flask and covered in a fine plaster. When the plaster solidifies, it forms the mold for casting the metal. The plaster mold is then put in an oven and heated for several hours to the point where the wax is completely burned out.