I need help bringing a metal jewelry piece to life. Which direction should I explore? 3D printing, Wax casting?

Rough manufacturing costs are required. Potentially will be working with titanium. Is 3D printing an option? Or will it have to be cast first? Most importantly, I need to figure out costing per unit, and would like to chat with someone who is experienced in both 3D printing AND other jewelry manufacturing processes. Hope to hear from some of you soon!


If you have your CAD design done, you can get it printed in plastic first using inexpensive printers at 3DHubs for example. Do tweaks to the design and reprint. This can't cost more than $5 or so per print.

Once you're happy you can then send your design to shapeways or i.materialise to be printed in metal. These services will likely charge a fee $100 for a metal print.

Answered 5 years ago

My background is in metal fabrication, although not specifically with jewelry. I can tell you that unless these are extremely high end pieces that 3D printing them in metal is unrealistic. Machining them is likely the best option if they are a single piece. Titanium is difficult to work with compared to Steel or Aluminum because of it's hardness and is generally more expensive, so it may be helpful to speak with people who have experience with metals to see if there are other options. The nice part about machining is that once you have set up the cost per piece is pretty much the same regardless of if you are doing 3, 30 or 300 pieces. A machine shop will just charge you the ship rate, so you don't have to commit to large quantities to gain scale. Also, there are a lot of Mom and Pop machine shops that likely have the right equipment so you can make them "win you business" by giving you a good rate off the bat. As an owner of a commercial 3D printer and reseller of 3D printing filament I can tell you that 3D printing is still best used to confirm your CAD designs in plastic, but likely not yet a production ready technology for metal products. Contact me if you want to talk specifically about the metal fabrication processes needed for your product.

Answered 5 years ago

I would speak with a local fine jeweler and build a relationship with them. They may have the contacts you need to take your project to the next level by giving you the best professional advice.

Answered 5 years ago

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