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 9 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 9 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 9 years ago

I will go with 3D printing, the reason being that it has revolutionized the Indian jewellery industry.
Traditionally, a piece of jewellery was custom-made and designed as per the specifications and preferences of a buyer that involved several processes and many man-hours. The piece would then be painstakingly hand-carved and welded together. The original parts were sculpted by the kaarigars (craftsman). However, with the advent of Computer Aided Designing (CAD), manufacturers can now render a 3D digital piece of the jewellery. The 3D printer produces a thermoplastic wax mould of the jewellery. Metal is then poured into the mould and the design comes alive. A piece that would go through a long production cycle spanning many days now takes just 12 to 14 hours.
With CAD and 3D printing, the buyers can be a part of the entire process too, not to mention the level of customisation that can be offered to them. According to jewellery connoisseur Tanya Rastogi of Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers, 3D printing makes the mould creation process much faster. Making exclusive pieces have also become easier as creating a mould now is a lot simpler than it was when one used wax moulds. Most customers want unique pieces, and this technology enables jewellers to create more designs. The 3D printing technology is going to have a massive influence in the jewellery industry in the next few years. 3D printing is finding its way into just about every aspect of jewellery manufacturing, thanks to the widespread adoption of CAD software among jewellery designers. 3D printing is changing and influencing consumersā€™ taste too. They have a lot more to choose from. The bar has been raised in the areas of design and creativity as more designs can be created at a lesser cost, point out jewellers.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

I don't have that much experience in jewelry but I do have experience with 3D printers and prototyping.

One of your best solutions is to use both. Using a strictly metal 3D printer would be so costly as to be prohibitive. However, there are 3D printers that can make castings. That way, you can customize the part exactly as you wish, 3D print it, then cast the part in any material you'd like. You would have a wide array of options without the high cost of going straight into 3D printing metal.

Possible issues would come as casting with the 3D printed part might not be at the resolution that you need for delicate, precise jewelry. At that point, using a 3D printer would go back to just prototyping design then the casting would come once a final choice is made.

If you have additional questions please feel free to contact me.

Answered 3 years ago

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