The jewellery industry is no exception. It was amongst the first industries to utilize 3D printing in their 'investment casting’ procedure. Instead of metal printers, they use wax here, that is, the piece of jewellery is printed or sculpted out of wax. Afterwards, Plaster is poured on both sides, while liquefied metal is poured on the wax, which melts, leaving behind a metallic version of the wax sculpt in the plaster. Finally, the jewellery piece is polished by the jeweller. To date, this is the basic procedure several independent jewelers have been using 3D printers for in their businesses. However, there are many intricate processes involved in 3D printing, as will be illustrated.
In the jewellery industry, Computer Aided Design (CAD) has opened up a new period of creativity that some may argue is still in the nascent stage largely due to the traditional attitude of many jewellers. However, because of the benefits of CAD there has been an increasing trend to embrace 3D printing technology. This technology has brought in many jewellery manufacturing service providers who are now offering CAD and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) facilities at more affordable prices. CAM is software that connects CAD in such a way that the output from CAD is carried out directly by machines that are connected to the system in a production line. The CAM system is classified into two types Additive Prototyping and Subtractive Prototyping. Additive Prototyping is the process used in jewellery production.
Additive Prototyping - In this technique, the jewellery design part is built up by attaching layers of material on each other directly connected with a 3D model (CAD) – The process is called Growing or 3D Printing.