The future of wearable technology envisions smart devices worn as close to the human skin as possible. Activated by “soft”, flexible electronics, this kind of second skin will enable seamless interaction between wearers and their technology, enhancing the human ability to make decisions and perform tasks. Using a hybrid 3D printing method, researchers at Harvard […]
British chemical company Johnson Matthey has identified the potential of 3D printing with precious metals for medical applications. As part of consortium the company use …
The McAlpine Research Group at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Mechanical Engineering have released an article demonstrating a method for 3D printing tiny, multimaterial sensors.
The electronics …
The most common misconception about 3D printed jewelry is that it is printed in metallic plastic. This is not the case: it is produced as a real, solid piece of jewelry made out of the precious metal of your choice. In this blog post, we will have a closer look at the four best and most popular materials for jewelry designers. 1. Gold Our gold comes with a high gloss finish, and you have the option to choose between 14 and 18 karats. Once again, this is not a gold-plated item, but your entire design will be made in 14 or 18 karats solid gold. Besides those options, we also offer three different color finishes: yellow, white, or red gold. These color options are achieved by adding different metal alloys to the gold. For red gold, we use a higher amount of copper, whereas white gold contains a palladium alloy. 2. Sterling Silver The most popular choice for jewelry designers tends to be Sterling Silver, which is offered in several finishes. The first of these finishes is a gloss finish, which is achieved by post-processing your model in a magnetic tumbler. This technique is the least aggressive process for silver items. While this finish is perfect if you want to keep a high level of detail, the surface of your model would be not as smooth as with our high-gloss finish. High Gloss models undergo a particularly vigorous mechanical polishing process that will round off any sharp corners on your model. As a result of this, the surface will have the lowest level of detail of all the finishes, but the highest level of smoothness and shine. Satin models are manually post-treated with a wire brush in order to obtain the effect of lines on the metal. Sandblasted models, on the other hand, are treated with an abrasive blasting method. The surface of your model will be even and smooth, and your print will have a great mat look to it. And last but not least, there’s Antique Silver. It is characterized by very shiny and smooth outer surfaces, while deeper areas remain darker and unsmoothed. This gives your item a great color contrast. 3. Brass Another great material for jewelry designer is brass, an alloy made from copper and zinc. Quite simply, it’s a material that looks great and comes at a low price. Once your model has been produced, it will be coated with a clear PU coating. You can also decide if you want to electroplate it with a shiny and razor-thin 18 karat gold layer. We offer color-plating finishes too, by combining an electroplating process with a We offer color-plating finishes too, by combining an electroplating process with a colored PU coating. In May of 2016, we introduced the newest brass finish: chrome-plated brass! 4. Bronze Now that we have covered gold, silver, and brass, we still need to talk about bronze of course. Bronze is an alloy that consists primarily of copper and it’s quite an affordable material. By nature, bronze has a somewhat reddish-yellow color. An uncoated model will oxidize over time and won’t be protected against scratches. That’s why you can optionally cover your bronze model with a PU coating. In addition to the PU coating, you can also get your bronze model polished. This post-process uses a magnetic tumbler to smoothen the surface and make the model a bit shinier. Other 3D Printing Materials for Jewelry Next to gold, silver, bronze, and brass we offer more than 100 other materials and finishes. These include 3D printing materials such as polyamide (which is a nylon plastic that comes in many different color finishes, and which allows for a maximum of design freedom . For example, you can create interlocking parts with it). There’s also alumide (which a mix of polyamide with aluminum particles and which results in a sparkling effect), rubber-like (which is a flexible plastic option), regular steel, high detail stainless steel for a maximum amount of details, titanium, aluminum, copper, and even ceramics. These materials can be great for producing new and unconventional pieces of jewelry or cheap plastic prototypes that you could use for your upcoming designs. Now that you know which materials jewelry designer can use, simply upload your 3D file here and get an instant quote for your professional metal print. If you are still struggling to create a printable 3D file, take a look at the best 3D modeling programs for jewelry designers, and learn the top 5 modeling tips to turn your 3D model into a stunning metal 3D print.
By Nick Hall
Researchers at Harvard University have come up with an exciting new method of 3D printing that effectively allows them to produce complex shapes in mid-air with no supporting structure. Laser assisted direct ink writing really could be the next generation of printer and it could change the industry, at the top end at least. The […]
There are many things to take into consideration when looking to cast 3D prints into metals. Here’s a breakdown of the process, from Design to Print to Cast. It is no longer the case that the jewellery designer is necessarily doing this with his/her hands because designing a piece of jewellery no longer requires us […]
The original post Casting 3D Prints into precious metals like Silver and Gold appeared first on 3D Printing Industry.
3D printing is changing the way goldsmiths work and design. More and more people are asking us how 3D printed jewelry items in gold look and feel. In this article, we explain how gold items are created, the difference between 14k and 18k, its various colors, and how to model your 3D design to get the perfect gold 3D print! The Technology: It’s All Based on Wax Instead of printing your gold item directly, we use wax 3D printing and lost wax casting to build your design. The wax printing process is a type of stereolithography that uses a wax-like resin. Support structures are printed along with the model to make sure the item does not fall apart. These support structures are automatically generated and then manually removed after the printing process. The wax cast is subsequently covered in a fine plaster. When the plaster solidifies, it is put in an oven until the wax is completely burned off. The gold is then poured into the empty cast, thus creating a 3D printed gold item. In the final step of this process, the item is polished and finished manually. 14k or 18k: The Amount of Gold Matters A pure gold item (composed of 100% gold) is too soft for durable jewelry. With this in mind, jewel makers and goldsmiths usually mix pure gold with other metals, typically silver, copper, or zinc, in order to make it stronger. The karat (often just written as “k”) indicates the amount of pure gold in the metal: the higher the karat, the larger the percentage of pure gold in the metal. For instance, 100% of pure gold is equal to 24k. However, as already pointed out, an object made of 24k would be too soft. This is why the amount of gold needs to be reduced: while 18k contains 75.2% pure gold, which is the standard in Europe, 14k gold only contains 58.5% of pure gold and is somewhat less expensive. In fact, 14k gold is the most popular choice for gold jewelry in the United States. Yellow, White, and Red Gold: The Amount of Silver, Copper, and Zinc Matters Since neither 14k nor 18k gold contains 100% pure gold, the metals we choose to strengthen pieces of jewelry (silver, copper, and zinc) have an impact on the color of the final item. As a result, gold can be offered in several colors: white, yellow, and red. Take a look at the following examples of the color difference depending on the amount of pure gold as well as the amount and type of metal alloy: White Gold: A Loose Term The term ‘white gold’ is used very loosely in the jewelry industry to describe karat gold alloys with a whitish hue. The term ‘white gold’ covers a large spectrum of colors that borders or overlaps with pale yellow, tinted brown, and even very pale rose. To create a white color effect, nickel is often added to the alloy. Since 1 out of 8 people have allergic reactions to nickel, and in order to comply with a European regulation called REACH, we didn’t want to go this way and preferred a slightly yellowish look. The jewelry industry often conceals these off-white colors by using rhodium plating. It is a common misconception that the color of the rhodium plating, which is seen on many commercial pieces, is actually the color of white gold. In reality, however, rhodium plating will inevitably wear off. So you would need to ask your local jewelry shop to apply a rhodium plating to whiten your model each time it wears off. Over the last months, we received quite some feedback from you, our community, about our gold color options. While most of it was positive, we noticed that some customers were not satisfied with the color of white gold. This is why we tried to improve the alloy and create white gold items that would match our customers’ expectations even better. Since neither nickel nor rhodium plating were acceptable options, we decided to add palladium, a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal, to the alloy. Design Tips: Some Things to Remember Wall thickness: For most models in gold, the minimum wall thickness is 0.5 mm. However, when making something small, such as the band of a ring, the wall thickness should be at least 1 mm. If the model is too thin, the fragility of the gold might cause the ring to break when you wear it. High definition: The resolution of the wax-printing process is very high, so it is important to create and export your model with enough definition to cover the triangles of the original design. Hollow models: Gold can also be used to print hollow models. However, keep in mind that you need to incorporate holes or slots, so we can get rid of the unprinted wax resin and make sure that the casting plaster is sufficiently supported. Without these holes, you will not be able to cast your model properly. To prepare your model for casting, make as many holes or slots as possible (at least two holes or slots for each side), each with a minimum diameter of 1.5 mm. For more essential tips & tricks for designing your gold model, please visit our gold design guide. You can also learn more about 3D-printed jewelry in our blog posts about Desmond Chan’s stunning jewelry collection, Czech jewelry label blueberries, and our ultimate jewelry style guide.
Creating and 3D printing your own bracelet has never been easier thanks to free online apps like UNIQD. All you need is an Internet browser, a few minutes of your […]
More and more jewelry designers are discovering the great potential and design freedom that 3D printing offers. i.materialise enables designers from all over the world to order 3D prints in […]
Fantastic news for jewelry designers and metal-printing enthusiasts: After just launching 18K gold last month, we are already expanding our metal options, this time with the new Antique Silver Finish! […]