3D printing is revolutionising many different industries. But none more so than jewellery when it comes to the production of some serious objets de désir. A new era of unbridled creativity has arrived – and anyone can be part of it.
Creativity before craft
3D printing has done something special to jewellery production. Creativity is no longer limited by craft. Whatever the mind – your mind? – can conceive can be rendered in 3D CAD and brought to life. A 3D printer isn’t fazed by the intricate twists or delicate meshes that once required the highly skilled hand of an experienced jewellery maker. That’s empowered artists, designers and makers like never before. Yes, there will always be demand for expert handmade exclusivity. But in terms of opening the creative floodgates, 3D printing really has revolutionised the jewellery industry. Just take a look.
How is 3D jewellery printing done?
Firstly a designer creates their masterpiece in a 3D CAD programme like SOLIDWORKS. It’s then possible to print a 3D wax model of the design. This wax mould is then encased in a plaster-like substance and heated, leaving an impression of the mould in the plaster. Finally this impression is filled with the designer’s material of choice: gold, silver, you name it. This article explains the process in a little (okay, a lot) more detail.
The upshot of 3D printed jewellery? Reduced costs, faster manufacture and lower barriers for creative entrepreneurs entering the industry.
Diamonds are forever?
Sure, maybe. But the demand they generate is instant. Satisfying the seemingly ceaseless desire for the most stylish jewellery pieces is a tough ask. 3D printing can dramatically reduce the time – not to mention cost – of manufacture, eliminating the need for costly prototypes. It also enables even the most complex designs to be rendered into a final product in a matter of hours, rather than days, weeks or months.
That has several very important benefits for the jewellery industry.
Allowing students and jobseekers to sparkle
Making a name for yourself as a top designer in the jewellery industry isn’t easy. The competition for places among the most esteemed jewellery manufacturers or top educational programmes – such as the British Academy of Jewellery – is huge.
How do you get noticed? A portfolio of ideas or technical sketches is all well and good. But what if you could showcase your ability to turn your design ideas into a real, tangible product? That’s sure to give ambitious designers an edge in the interview room – and 3D printing makes it possible. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. Just ask talented designer Paula Szarejko.
Begin your own jewellery business
Fancy yourself as a jewellery entrepreneur? 3D printing lowers the financial and technical barriers for designing, manufacturing and selling your own jewellery products. All you need is a creative eye and a working knowledge of a user-friendly 3D CAD programme like SOLIDWORKS. (Don’t panic, SOLIDWORKS is easy to get to grips with.) As a result, jewellery-loving consumers are being treated to more variety, more creativity and more ideas than ever before. Take a look on Etsy if you don’t believe us.
Transforming the online shopping experience
Selling your products successfully online isn’t always easy. That’s especially true for products like jewellery – where buying decisions are based heavily on appearance, weight and feel. Yet the more ‘real’ you show your product to be, the more likely somebody is to purchase. Here to help is a little known feature of SOLIDWORKS called SOLIDWORKS Shop.
SOLIDWORKS Shop repurposes CAD data to create an interactive, online portfolio of your products. It gives your audience the option to customise the material, colour and additional components of their design – and see how their choices affect the final product, right there on screen. Example: if you offer the same design in both silver and gold, with either a ruby or an emerald, your visitor will be able to see how the different options look with ease.
It can all be done in a matter of clicks within SOLIDWORKS. Once you have specified your options, they are pushed live to your online shop to allow your customers to perfect their product and see a photorealistic image of their final product on screen. Simple and very, very smart.
Sauron, is that you?
3D printing makes jewellery production cheaper, faster and smarter. It’s never been easier to become your own lord of the rings.
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