Tuesday, November 17, 2015

3D - Printed Jewelry

Shapeways, a 3D-printing marketplace and community, has added precious metals to its material options. As well as 14-karat gold and sterling silver, jewelers – and others – can now work with platinum, 18-karat gold, 14-karat rose gold and 14-karat white gold.

Shapeways said the latest additions means it offers the most options for 3D jewelry printing. The company’s system also means that jewelers do not need to maintain inventory. They can either print the products, as needed, or sell through Shapeways.
Most of the metal items on Shapeways are 3D printed using a wax casting process. The model is first printed in wax, using a specialized high-resolution 3D printer. It is then put in a container where liquid plaster is poured in around it. When the plaster sets, the wax is melted out in a furnace, and the remaining plaster becomes the mold.

Molten metal is poured into this mold and set to harden. The plaster is broken away, revealing the new product, which is then cleaned and hand-polished.