The making of jewelry by using 3D printing technology is catching on in the industry. Many jewelers are recognizing the cost advantage, time savings, and unique creative ability that this technology offers.
3 Advantages of using Jewelry 3D Printing
1. Creation of Complex Designs:
Jewelry casting patterns are carved from wax using CNC machines. Jewelry designers are hindered by the limitations of the CNC machines. The same is not true with using printing machines using 3D technology. Designers now have the ability to make more complex and customized jewelry.
2. Producing Multiple Patterns at One Time:
3D manufacturing technology allows for the production of multiple jewelry patterns at one time. Compared to other techniques, this enhanced ability cuts down on pattern cost and the amount of time needed to make them.
3. Multiple Designs Produced on a Single Piece:
When jewelry customers want a unique piece with multiple designs, 3D printing can oblige them. Jewelers have the ability to provide these one-of-a-kind pieces at a competitive cost.
How Jewelry is Made Using Jewelry 3D Printing
There are two basic procedures used to make jewelry using 3D printing technology. One is the making of a casting mold, and the other is the use of direct printing.
1. Making of a Casting Mold (Investment Casting)
The making of casting mold using 3D manufacturing is an eight-step process:
Formation of the pattern:
- Formation of the pattern: A pattern is printed using wax or casting resin. The patterns traditionally were made by pouring casting wax into a metal mold.
- Mold assembly: Various printed patterns are assembled onto a stand called a “casting tree.” Some printing programs allow the patterns and the stand to be printed in one process.
Construction of the Mold’s Shell:
- Construction of the Mold’s Shell: The entire mold assembly is dipped multiple times into a ceramic liquid. The assembly is left to dry so the ceramic liquid can solidify over the patterns.
Melting of the wax pattern:
- Melting of the wax pattern: In a process called “burnout,” the mold assembly is placed inside of a furnace. The heat melts the casting wax or resin leaving the pattern imprint inside the ceramic mold.
Pouring of the final jewelry material:
- Pouring of the final jewelry material: Now that a ceramic mold of the jewelry pattern is made, the jewelry material can be poured into the mold. The molds are left for the material to cool and solidify.
- Knock off: The outer ceramic shell is removed.
- Cut off: Once the outer ceramic shell is removed, the individual jewelry pieces are cut off of the mold stand.
- Finishing: The jewelry pieces are polished and finished using traditional jeweler techniques.
2. Direct Printing
Another technique for making jewelry using 3D manufacturing technology, even though a less popular one, is direct printing. This process uses precious metal alloy powder.
The challenge with this method is the amount of processing needed after the printing process is done to get the desired finish. The extra processing time makes this procedure more expensive than the above-described casting process.
3D Hubs – An Online 3D Printing Service Leader
3D Hubs 3D printing service has produced over 3,000,000 parts since its formation in 2013. As the production of jewelry using 3D manufacturing technology advances, 3D Hubs will be leading the way. They can save jewelers and jewelry designers time and money as they create distinctive and desirable designs for their customers.