I remember that it wasn’t a long time ago that 3D printing was a little-known term of the high-tech industry. And now, today it is a household name and an accepted technology entering its next major development phase. Right now, we can see 3D printing and all the hybrid additive manufacturing solutions for production taking off and we believe will fundamentally change the world of manufacturing.
In the last couple of years, the global media has given 3d printers a fair amount of attention and the industry now has great expectations placed on it. Perhaps the greatest asset of 3D printing is that it is an enabler . for both corporations and individuals. In fact, 3D printers is being used in three types of manufacturing and fabrication processes: personal manufacturing, augmented manufacturing and alternative manufacturing.
The oversimplification of 3D printing in the media and in conversations does the job of grabbing attention and drawing focus to the highlights of this fabrication process’ capabilities. That big picture has involved more and more people and attracted more interest in 3D printing than ever before. But of course, for an average customer, the details are missing. Without them, you can make poor decisions and you may conclude that 3D printing isn’t quite right for you. But you might know that the devils is in the details, and as the idiom indicates, getting to them may be a challenge for you.
The jewelry industry already understood the importance of harnessing the power of 3D technologies and additive manufacturing for the benefit of the industry in general – and training the next generation of jewelry designers. Parametric design processes like computational algorithms and data based design are the new tools for young designers, and the digital design combined with fully digital fabrication allows them to create some really amazing pieces using a CAD software or only coding.
There are some breathtaking projects around, you have to check out Nervous Systems Kinematics Home app to create custom generative jewellery pieces which can be downloaded and 3d printed on your personal 3d printer at home. Of course, you’ll need a desktop 3D printer with a resolution of 50-100 micron to be able to make high quality prints, nobody wants to wear something barbed. Post processing might be necessary, ABS prints can be smoothed in acetone vapour to get a shiny finish (fine details and contours often disappear during the smoothing process).
When it comes to getting the best out of 3D software and a desktop 3D printer, we can keep in mind that this technology is still a complementary tool, it supports and enhances traditional techniques (like lost-wax casting for example), not replacing them. It’s a technology that gives the jeweler a new set of tools (both for design and fabrication), but it’s not a replacement for traditional skills. When we are talking to a designer and they want to design a conventional wedding ring, they would not need to take advantage of the things 3D printing offers because on many cases, traditional manufacturing techniques are better placed to do so. According to this, we can say that a 3D printer won’t put a traditional jeweler out of his job. The whole new process of 3D printing only saves designers from having to model the initial part of the design from scratch.
It is a really nice idea for students of for those trying out the technology, to push the technical boundaries of jewelry design and manufacturing with new digital tools as a pattern language. Fashion design, industrial design, architecture and jewelry already adopted the parametric design language which allows the designer to generate a huge amount of variations and iterations for a defined situation depending on fitness values and genetic algorithms. There are some open-source tools for generative design, which makes this game much more fun!
A dear friend of mine has designed the generative 3d printed jewelry pieces shown in the pictures I’ve inserted, I think they all look really unique, and they all came out from an affordable desktop FDM 3D printer. Most of them are 3D printed on a Leapfrog Creatr Dual extrusion 3D printer, some of them have been printed on a RepRap Huxley or the Velleman K8200 3D printer. In some cases, he has made some test prints on a Makerbot Replicator2 as well. I bet you’ll like all the stuff of the parametric | art 3d printed generative jewelry collection, for some design, there are already uploaded design files (.stl) on Thingiverse, so you only have to download and scale it, and then 3D print it!
The illustrated 3d printed jewelry pieces are great examples for the quality which can be reached with a well-calibrated 3D printer and using premium quality 3D printer filaments. For the chiseled details and overhangs, you’d better print these kind of objects with high resolution (100 micron or finer) and use water-soluble PVA 3D print support material to avoid the trouble while removing supports manually.
If you want to design and 3d print your own generative 3d printed jewelry (for example like the voronoi bracelets on the picture above), you don’t need to buy any expensive stuff. You don’t need a professional CAD software which are really expensive, there are plenty of open-source and free tools which you can use as well. Just like I described in a former blog post about 3d modeling for 3d printing, you can use Meshlab, Grasshopper for Rhino and Meshmixer for the modeling work and Netfabb or similar software for optimizing and repairing you meshes before generating the g-code. If you want to learn this stuff, there are some really nice workshops offered by Gigamax 3D printing technology.
Actually a dear friend of mine runs gigamax3d.com and GigamaX3D facebook page.
They are the official european distributors of ESUN filaments and Velleman 3D printers. They sell nice quality ABS/PLA/HIPS/PVA 3d printing filaments with 1.75 and 3 mm diameters in 1 kg spools in 16 vibrant colors, which I’ve already tested on my Replicator2 and they are all good (I’ve had some serious troubles with 3d printer filament diameter issues before).
They also carry consumer and prosumer desktop 3D printers like the Leapfrog Creatr or the Tricolor Mendel RepRap model and also offer print on demand services and training/education workshops. A lot of RepRap parts and electronics are available on stock as well. Gigamax 3D printing workshops offer an impressive scope of standalone desktop 3D printing technology, the Leapfrog Creatr dual extruder model, tricolor Mendel, K8200, Reprap Huxley to name just some of the best ticket items being put to use and build by this busy little center.