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3D Printing In Jewelry

3D printing is a very interesting form of manufacturingtechnology. This process allows for the creation of almost anything! It mayactually change the way we produce jewelry in the near future. First off,before I even go into that – let me tell you what 3D printing is and how itworks.  3D printing is the layer by layer assembly of products. Itis a form of manufacturing that has been around since the late 1970’s, but isjust now becoming efficient and popular. How does this process work? Well, thisprocess involves laying down layers of material. These layers will be laid downat increments as small as .13 mm. That’s pretty detailed! There are variousforms of laying down the material. Some processes involve using ultravioletlight to cure resin. Some forms of 3d printing involve melting material andstacking it. Others involve using binding materials. There are quite a fewprocesses, but those are some of the common ones. How does this actually occur? Before anything can actually happen, a design has to bedeveloped on a computer. A designer, artist, engineer, or whatever you’d liketo call it – will have to design a 3D model from a software. There is such avariety when it comes to choosing software, but regardless – it will bedesigned on the computer. 3D printing revolves around a CAM system, or acomputer aided manufacturing system. What does this mean? What is a computer aidedmanufacturing system? A CAM system is basically a computer within the printerthat tells the jets, lights, or binder where to go. It instructs the printer tomanufacture a piece in accordance to the initial design. So basically, when adesign is received by the printer, it will begin manufacturing the piece on itsown as soon as the operator presses “go” essentially.  Let’s tie this into jewelry. How is jewelry relevant to 3Dprinting? First off, I want to say that pretty much anything can be manufacturedfrom a printer. One thing that falls under “anything” is jewelry.Traditionally, molds and hand carving have been the main medians with jewelrydesign. 3D printing is a new one for sure, and it will definitely change theway it works in the near future. How does the jewelry manufacturing processwork?  The basic process that this falls under is casting. A printerwill actually manufacture the cast in a resin, or plastic. This product willthen be sent to the caster. He or she will then put the casting piece into a cast,and the material will fill up the plastic piece, and it will result in thefinal piece. What’s significant about this process in comparison to regularjewelry processes?  3D printing allows for the creation of very intricatepieces. So? Well, machining, hand carving, and casting can’t create some of themodels used in 3D printing. This means that this manufacturing technology willbe able to create some models which can’t be produced through various types of manufacturing.Through 3D printing, we will be able to make more intricate jewelry. 

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