How to 3D print Jewelry?
1.Master design (Jewelry model)
First, the master model is made. Usually it is made manually by modeling clay or special wax.
2.Making the press form
Using the master model, a press form is created. The master model is covered with a liquid. After it’s hardened, the object is halved. Now it is possible to create intermediate wax models for casting.
Using a special wax and press form, the intermediate model is made.
4.Making the casting mold
The intermediate model is covered with gypsum, that’s how the casting mold is made.
5. Casting the piece
After hardening the gypsum inside the mold, the liquid metal is poured. It replaces the wax.
6. Post processing
The final item is carefully taken out, mechanically handled and polished.
So, what does 3D printing have to do with this complicated process? Well, some of the stages are simplified with the help of additive manufacturing. New technology has made the process much more faster and cheaper. In cases of complex objects, it can be considered revolutionary.
Direct 3D printing of the master model
Businesses using high precision 3D printing technologies such as SLA (Stereolithography) and DLP (Digital Light Processing) gain a competitive advantage over their rivals who continue to stick with traditional manufacturing methods. With 3D printing, making the master model has become easier than ever before. There is a special resin that can be molded as a regular wax. This helps to save time as it is much simpler to make a digital 3D model and then 3D print it. SLA and DLP 3D printers use laser/light projections that can form tiny elements which are difficult to even near impossible to achieve manually. Such machines solidify resin layer-by-layer, eventually forming amazing and high-detailed objects. With further advances in technology, such devices are evolving to be even more precise, efficient and cost-effective. In addition, customers can see and hold 3D printed prototypes and request changes before jewelers commit to the manufacture of the final product.
Is it possible to 3D print gold?
As mentioned already, 3D printing serves to optimize the casting process and should not be seen as a total replacement. The process of making jewelry with the help of 3D printing shouldn’t be confused with direct 3D printing in metal such as DMLS (Direct metal laser sintering) for example. In the latter, the object is formed using metal powder and using gold or other precious alloys is much too expensive. Furthermore, the minimal size of elements for direct metal 3D printing shouldn’t be less than 1-2 mm whereas jewelry usually contains many small elements. However, 3D printing in precious metals is still practiced. For example, designer Lionel Theodore Dean made a series of golden adornments with 3D printer for metal.
To sum it up, 3D printing makes jewelry much more affordable. This technology can be supplemented by the traditional methods of manufacturing that are already in use by jewelers such as CNC machining and milling. Many customers like buying unique pieces that were made on request rather than regular goods from the shops. Some jewelry entrepreneurs make all their products on demand. Before the customer chooses the item on the site and clicks the “Order” button, the product doesn’t exist. So, the jeweler doesn’t have to spend extra money on showrooms or expensive storage facilities. Meanwhile, the cost of SLA and DLP 3D printers capable of 3D printing in castable resin continue to become less expensive every year, whilst the quality becomes higher and higher. It’s important to note that it’s not just the machines that you need, but a high-skilled operator too. In case you are not going to spend money on a new 3D printer and expand your staff, you can order that particular piece that is made as a wax model through Treatstock. Our new 3D printing services directory, among other options, makes searching for local 3D print shops capable of such work easy and convenient.