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3D Printer for Jewelry – How They Work & Which to Choose

Picture of Leo Gregurić
by Leo Gregurić
Nov 15, 2018

3D Printer for Jewelry – How They Work & Which to Choose

In the past few years, the jewelry industry has been transformed with the introduction of 3D printers, which are capable of producing easily-castable, high detail parts. Let's take a look at some of the most popular 3D printers for jewelry.

3D Printer for Jewelry Background

A pile of 3D printed pieces of jewelry.
A pile of 3D printed pieces of jewelry. Source: Formlabs

3D printing has revolutionized how jewelry is made. Precision and attention to detail are the key aspects of quality jewelry, which is exactly where 3D printing shines.

Before we really get into it, it’s important to realize that “3D printing jewelry” doesn’t mean directly producing end-use pieces of jewelry. In other words, jewelers don’t 3D print golden rings, for example. Instead, they 3D print highly detailed wax models of the desired rings, which are later used to make molds.

The Process

To completely understand the basics of how jewelry is 3D printed, imagine you’re a jeweler who needs to 3D print 100 custom-made, highly detailed golden rings. The first thing you’d need to do is to model the desired ring in CAD and later export the model as a file compatible with your 3D printer.

The next step would be to 3D print 100 models of that exact ring. Following that, you’d need to glue a few of the rings (100 if possible, at once) together on a plastic or wax stand. This would later be put in a bin where the material for the mold would be poured.

When the mold hardens, it’s put in an oven to melt the rings and the stands. This leaves an empty space on the inside for a certain material, such as gold, to be poured into.

It may sound like a complex process, but in fact it’s much faster than conventional means.

The Machines

As you can imagine, 3D printers for jewelry need to be very precise and reliable. For this reason, the printers used for the task almost all use stereolithography (SLA) technology, as opposed to fused deposition modeling (FDM) or selective laser sintering (SLS). They also need to be capable of working with wax or wax-like resins.

If you’d like to learn more about wax 3D printing, click here.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the market’s best 3D printers for jewelry.

3D Printer for Jewelry 1. Peopoly Moai

The Peopoly Moai next to a zoomed-in print.
The Peopoly Moai next to a zoomed-in print. Source: Peopoly

Great Results At A Low Price

The cheapest 3D printer for jewelry we’ll feature in this article is the Peopoly Moai. But don’t be fooled into thinking that its print quality isn’t competitive. This printer represents an affordable option that’s still capable of achieving professional results with the right resins and printing practices.

True, professional jewelers would still probably go for printers with a higher price tag. Yet, for someone who’s starting to 3D print jewelry, the Peopoly Moai is a great choice.

The Moai SLA printer features a build volume of 130 x 130 x 180 mm and a 70-micron laser spot which. This allows it to produce layers at heights of only 5 microns!

Check out our Peopoly Moai review.

3D Printer for Jewelry 2. Formlabs Form 2

Image of: 2. <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/70450/limit/0/">Formlabs Form 2</span>
Source: Mashable

An “Affordable” Tool with Professional Results

Formlabs is perhaps the best-known company specializing in SLA and SLS 3D printers. They are in particular known for their Form series of desktop SLA 3D printers.

The newest and the greatest SLA desktop 3D printer to come from Formlabs is the Formlabs Form 2. Since its release, jewelers around the world have successfully integrated it into their businesses.

For that purpose, Formlabs developed a special wax-castable SLA resin, which enables users to make castable pieces of jewelry.

The beauty of the Form 2 is that it’s relatively easy to use thanks to its mature software, good ecosystem of resins, and accessories that take the work out of printing with resin. The print quality is also extremely good, and all of that for a rather reasonable price.

All of these things make the Form 2 a fantastic 3D printer for jewelry. Take a look at pricing here:

3D Printer for Jewelry 3. EnvisionTEC Vida cDLM

The Vida cDLM alongside printed ring models.
The Vida cDLM alongside printed ring models. Source: EnvisionTEC

Fast prints & Great Results

EnvisionTEC is yet another company specializing in various industrial 3D printers, but we’ll focus on the Vida cDLM jewelry 3D printer.

Launched in 2017, the Vida cDLM raised the bar with its technology that works “behind the scenes”, and it’s called cDLM.

cDLM is a technology developed on the basis of DLP. It allows for continuous motion of the build plate while printing a part, which significantly cuts down on the print time. Because it prints so fast, jewelers can literally have prototypes ready within hours!

The fast build speed combined with great detail makes the EnvisionTEC Vida cDLM a fantastic 3D printer for jewelry.

The Vida cDLM produces castable models with EnvisionTEC’s proprietary Easy Cast 2.0. The company claims it to be a breakthrough material with the highest wax content available in 3D printing today.

3D Printer for Jewelry 4. Solidscape's S300 Series

The S350, S370 and S390.
The S350, S370 and S390. Source: Solidscape

High Precision 3D Printers For Jewelers

Solidscape is an American company specializing in what must be some of the industry’s best 3D printers for the jewelry industry. The machines that in particular support this claim are the S300 series of wax 3D printers, namely the S350, S370, and S390.

These three 3D printers have been specially designed for jewelers. Behind them are designers and engineers who have ensured reliable operation and ease-of-use.

All three of the S300 models print models with dissolvable supports, which results in a perfectly smooth surface after of the desired models. An additional benefit of Solidscape’s wax 3D printers is that they operate with non-toxic materials. As such, no gloves are required to work with the S350, S370, or the S390.

The S350 and S370 are Solidscape’s two best-selling jewelry 3D printers. What makes these printers so special is that they produce highly detailed wax models that don’t require post-processing. That is, unless you consider the support dissolvent, which is extremely easy to apply.

Solidscape’s top-of-the-line 3D printer for jewelry, the S390, is a rather expensive machine, but the quality and value it delivers to those who use it on a day-to-day basis is simply unrivaled.

The S390 is priced at $55,650, meaning it definitely isn’t something all of us can afford. However, for serious jewelry manufacturers, it makes a lot of sense to invest in such a machine. Handwork is enhanced with the newest, and possibly the best technology on the market. This not only makes the jewelry nicer, it also saves a great deal of time and, eventually, money.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of Solidscape’s wax 3D printers, we suggest you get in touch with Solidscape in order to find your local reseller.

3D Printer for Jewelry 3D Printing Jewelry On Demand

A few examples of casted pieces of jewelry.
A few examples of casted pieces of jewelry. Source: Sculpteo

It should be fairly obvious that the prices of the abovementioned 3D printers aren’t low. Unfortunately, this is a natural consequence of trying to get into 3D printed jewelry.

The good news is that there are plenty of 3D printing services available that will 3D print high-quality pieces of jewelry for you. They represent a great way to see if 3D printing suits your needs and fulfills your expectations.

Some of the most well known 3D printing services include Sculpteo, Shapeways, and i.Materialise. They offer a great selection of 3D printing technologies, materials, and finishes.

Interested in trying a service but not sure which one to use? Then consider using All3DP’s Price Comparison service. We make ordering easy, providing real-time quotes from the most popular companies.

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