We have mentioned earlier how 3D printing is disrupting the jewelry industry. Its benefits have already been identified, and the makers are preparing to try something new with CAD files and additive manufacturing. A significant reason for this approach is the expansion of creativity that modern jewelers are looking forward to experiencing. With 3D printing, they will enjoy an unlimited capacity to come up with unique designs faster and more effectively. But one should note that this is not a new trend. In 2015, a report by SmarTech Markets Publishing predicted that the market for 3D printing jewelry would reach the value of $11 billion by 2020. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and other limiting factors, this may be a little delayed now, but it will happen, sooner rather than later. Currently, there are assumptions that the global 3D printing jewelry market is set to experience a growth of $1.95 billion in the next 4-5 years or so. If all factors are in favor of this growth, we may witness a major upheaval in the jewelry industry with the incorporation of additive manufacturing.
Have you ever wondered why consumers may switch to 3D printed jewelry from traditional ones? Customization will be the main reason behind this shift, if at all. With an increased demand for personalized jewelry, the makers will take the help of additive manufacturing to increase their design features and expand their creativity. As 3D printing helps jewelers create intricate and complex designs faster than any traditional process, the former will be a hit. Further, additive manufacturing, being a layer-by-layer process, leads to fewer losses of materials and higher savings. The makers can centralize their designing initiatives by investing in a high-grade 3D printer and related equipment. It will also lead to an increase in self-sufficient jewelers.
Timely delivery of products is yet another reason behind the manufacturers opting for 3D printing. Unlike traditional processes, additive manufacturing can help the makers design jewelry within days, or even hours sometimes. Hence, they can create a bulk of innovative products within a definite timeframe. With the rise in online shopping, such products will be available at quite reasonable rates, thus giving the consumers an edge over traditional jewelry.
Increase in experimentation leading to finer products
In 2016, more than a thousand retail jewelers shut shops, leading to a 64% decline in the number of jewelers across the US. They failed to meet the rising standards and changing preferences of consumers for customized jewelry, besides other limitations. Experimenting with jewelry patterns, designs, sizes, shapes, colors, and intricacies is a time-consuming process, not to mention the investment of resources in such endeavors. With the incorporation of 3D printing in the jewelry industry, the makers can now design such unique products without spending a fortune. They can experiment with patterns, colors, shades, and geometries digitally and 3D-print them seamlessly. If you are wondering if the quality of 3D printed jewelry is up to the standards, well, you may be in for a surprise. These items are sometimes of better quality, owing to the advanced and high-tech devices used. Although making jewelry with 3D printers is still something new, improvisations are constantly being made to enhance the design and manufacturing process.
How visually appealing is 3D-Printed Jewelry?
In a word, they look gorgeous with subtle intricacies that you may find with no other jewelry item. It is because digital designs pose no limit to the imagination and creativity of the designers, giving them full freedom to experiment. The only hindering factor is the type of machine used to print those designs into actual pieces. And the best part is, these items can be customized to the T. For example, if a consumer has his requirements for a unique engagement band, the jewelry designer can 3D print it within days, based on those specific. Does it seem like a sci-fi movie? Well, it is very much the reality now.
If you wish to know more about some mind-blowing 3D printed jewelry pieces, scroll on!
Founded in 2012, RADIAN is a 3D printing jewelry company in Berlin that also promotes sustainable manufacturing through its contemporary and visually appealing pieces. Their solitaire collection features abstract and geometric designs made of gold, stainless steel, Nylon, and silver. The company’s popularity ranges across entire Europe to the Middle East and the US. Besides, rings, it also offers a stunning collection of 3D-printed necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories.
Shifting a little from the regular process of transforming digital CAD files into intricate jewelry items, this Japanese 3D printing startup goes the extra mile to turn audio files into stunning jewelry items. Yes, you read that right. The designers use high-tech software to transform the audio file uploaded by the customer into a 3D model file, which then transcribes into flawless personalized jewelry. From standard metals to precious ones, like gold and platinum, the experts at 3Dwave can work with anything.
There are a few people in this industry who have not heard the name. This Italian designer’s record-breaking success in pioneering beautiful and elegant jewelry items through additive manufacturing is unmatched. Its 3D printed rose cuff bracelet was awarded for its complex geometry and stunning visual appeal, something that is rarely achievable through traditional manufacturing processes.
Oh yes! How can we not mention this while talking about 3D-printed jewelry? This next-generation design studio in the US has a range of unique and rare collections of 3D printed jewelry items. The experts here devise their products, like bracelets, rings, and others, based on mathematical models. Besides jewelry, the Nervous System experts also produce vases, lamps, and beautiful sculptures using innovative technologies.
Another European designer, who excels in creating bespoke 3D printed jewelry, enjoys immense popularity and recognition throughout the continent. With a background in design study, she is now one of the biggest sellers of 3D printed jewelry in Paris and France. Her products are unique, high-fashion items that flaunt individuality and elegance like few others. Besides plastics and stainless steel, she is also adept at working with precious gemstones, like sapphires.
There are other well-known designers and 3D printing jewelry brands across the globe and more are joining the bandwagon recently to lead the movement. You can contact us to get more information on them.
What are the various techniques used in 3D printing jewelry?
Two main techniques are currently used to 3D print jewelry – investment casting and direct printing. Let us give you a brief idea regarding both:
It requires an 8-step process to print stunning jewelry items. In the first step, a pattern is formed from castable resin or wax using the 3D printer. Next, a mold assembly is generated by assembling the printed patterns on a tree to be cast together. By submerging the assembly into slurry, a ceramic outer cover is formed over the pattern, after which, it is subjected to a furnace to create a hollow mold or cavity. The original pattern is then carefully removed, and the final material is poured into the cavity and left to solidify. After some time, the outer ceramic shell is knocked off, to reveal the final product. Now, the last step involves cutting the patterns off from the mold tree as individual pieces of jewelry. These parts then go through some traditional finishing processes before they are ready to be sold.
This is a more challenging technique adopted by some jewelers to 3D-print actual items from metal powder. It is also more expensive as of now, but advancements are on the way to reduce the costs. One can print gold, silver, or platinum alloys with this process that involves several post-processing finishes to create a stunning product. Direct Metal Laser Sintering or Selective Laser Melting processes can help create such precious items with adequate post-printing support to prevent deformation. The main benefit of this process is enabling the shortest production chain, which is why many jewelers are opting for it these days.
Some high-tech 3D printers for the jewelry industry
While picking 3D printers for jewelry manufacturing, one should ensure higher resolution, extensive compatibility, greater price-performance ratio, and seamless exposure. The following list may cater to all these requirements.
- Formlabs Form 3 – From its highly-improvised light processing unit to the wax-castable resin, specially designed for jewelry making, this 3D printer is a fantastic option for jewelry manufacturers. Plus, it used a low-force stereolithography technology and is also available at a reasonable price.
- Zortrax Inkspire – It is a desktop resin 3D printer using UV LCD technology to print seamless and precise items. You can also buy an ultrasonic cleaner device with the main package to enhance the finishing process. Small-scale jewelry production companies can do well with this printer, available at $2,300-2,700 inclusive of the cleaner.
- Peopoly Moai 130 – It is a revised version of the 2015 SLA 3D printer Moai with some hardware improvements and a distinct chamber heating unit. Priced at only $1,800-$1,900, this 3D printer is apt for startups and small-scale jewelry designers and manufacturers.
- Solidscape S300 – An advanced wax 3D printer, the Solidscape series is meant specifically for jewelry designers and engineers. These printers can give you smooth surfaces with their dissolvable supports, and the items do not require any post-processing, thus making the process faster and less cost-intensive. The machine is a little on the expensive side, but in the long run, it saves your resources instead of increasing your investment.
- Prodways ProMaker LD3 – This 3D printer, using MovingLight DLP technology, is meant for both dental and jewelry applications. The moving UV light helps create larger objects with the same precision and quality at a lightning speed. If you are interested to work with 3D printers in the long term, this can be your best bet.
How Additive Accelerator can help?
If you are a jewelry startup looking forward to working with 3D printing, you are likely to be hesitant and confused regarding several technologies and devices in the market. At Additive Accelerator, our experts have in-depth knowledge of the 3D printing industry to help ease your confusion and show you the right way. You can consult us regarding anything, as we are here to find the best solution according to your specific business requirements. With years of experience in the field, our experts follow each trend and technology carefully to give effective suggestions to kick-start your 3D printing endeavor. Are you an amateur in the field? No worries! We can fill you in on the details of all the available solutions, their benefits, challenges, limitations, and ways to overcome the same. What is the wait for then? Get in touch with our experts today!