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3D Printing vs. Milling a Wax

Orchidians, perhaps you can educate me. I searched the archived and all of the threads on this topic are too old to be accurate given the pace of the technology changes.

I’ve been told various things…

  1. 4 or 5-axis milling is “better” than printing for highly detailed pieces like signet rings
  2. that milling used to be better, but if people have a state-of-the-art printer, 3D printing is better.

I am specifically wondering about highly detailed pieces.

Can someone enlighten me on the advantages/disadvantages/differences between teh two technologies and when I should use what and why?

Hi at the moment the best printer with the max price/quality ratio is the solus

Here the link

Otherwise I might have my to sell mine is a LittleRP


I am not sure if you are looking to buy equipment, or outsource services?

If you are looking to outsource the printing, and perhaps the casting, and maybe even the finishing, then I would recommend that you call:

  1. Patrick at Zero Porosity

  2. Daniel at Racecar Jewelry

They are both very knowledgeable and generous with their expertise.

They can help you determine which methods and equipment might be best for your project and give you quotes on printing/ casting/ finishing as well.

They are both great companies, great people, great service, great results (in my humble opinion)

Best Regards,

1 Like

I am not a commercial jeweler so I’m not 100% sure about how good wax milling can be…

But I’m EXTREMELY impressed with the 25 to 50 micron high resolution printing of the FormLabs castable resin.

There is a very important reason to say goodbye the the problems of wax printing models. Wax models are very weak and fragile and pose many design problems if you want to 3d print a difficult shape or if you want to 3d print an entire sprue tree .

Castable resin is cured and hardened… it’s very strong.

Here is a model my friend 3d printed and then I cast with castable resin from FormLabs…
It would be IMPOSSIBLE to make in wax.

Wax would be too weak to be made like this.

I’ve done both things - milling wax and 3D printing. I’d say that some designs are better done one way, and some the other. Wax burns out better than the resins used in most jewelry printers (except for the Solidscape machines, which use wax), so it’s easier to cast patterns that were milled. If your design has crisp edges and flat surfaces, that is easiest to achieve with a milling process. And while part configurations are more limited with milling, since your tool has to be able to reach the surfaces being cut while the whole thing has to be held firmly, the part can be rotated as it’s being cut, so you don’t have the problem of removing support scars from the face or edges of a ring, for example.

On the other hand, it’s possible to print parts that would be very difficult to mill, if that would work at all. Tiny lettering, for instance, can be printed without worrying about rounding of inside corners. And if you’re clever, you can print things already sprued-up, using the supports necessary for the printing process as gates. Hollow forms can be printed, as long as you leave a hole for the resin to escape through.

Casting resin parts requires an adjustment of the casting process. You need to burn out a little hotter, for somewhat longer, and introduce more air into the kiln to facilitate combustion of residual ash. Sometimes it’s still necessary to blow out the molds before casting, depending on the type of resin you’re using.

Andrew Werby

Yep. I’m having trouble casting resin. But once dialed in… The design options seem superior with resin.