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Jewelry by way of 3D printing


A few months back (November???) my bff (who’s always looking for ways to help me express my creativity) introduced me to 3D printing. I began by going to the makerspace at one of the local libraries (they charge me 10 cents a gram for the plastic filament I use).

Once I got into it (and I’m using the 10 cents a gram printing to work out kinks in the design) I discovered Shapeways.

In any case, Because I’m not much of a smith or a crafter (I’m basically a designer/artist) I’m finding that the 3D printing is a good way for me to craft my designs and bring them from either my sketches, my renderings or my brain (I’ve been using TinkerCAD).

So I’m curious – does anyone else here use this vehicle? I’m curious to hear other people’s ideas on this.


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Hi Debbie,

I use Shapeways, too! I started a small jewelry company (= just me) this
past January and am bootstrapping it all myself — I just don’t have the
funds to pay my casting house to hand carve the castings I want to make (or
to pay the milling fees if they print the wax from CAD files themselves).

I’ll work through designs in plastic first, then in brass as my proto
model. I’ll file it down/add texture myself, then send that piece off to my
casting house to use for the mold. I also recently started working with an
experienced jewelry CAD artist through Shapeways to help me make pieces
that are beyond my own skill set (the process was super easy).

Shapeways prints it in wax first them makes their own mold, and it’s a
bummer they won’t let you keep their molds. I also find that their brass
and castable wax are somewhat brittle, so if a design has prongs I can’t
just print a one-off with them in brass because the prongs are too brittle;
I always need to make the mold with my casting house and have them cast it
for me. Their wax is hard to file without breaking it, so once a design is
ready I’ll print it in brass or silver (if it’s affordable enough) and make
final tweaks then.

So excited to hear this is opening up new design opportunities for you!
Good luck as you dive deeper :slight_smile:


I haven’t tried 3D printing yet but have been noodling around with a 3D pen. I don’t believe there’s a model on the market yet that extrudes warm wax…is there? I’ve contacted one manufacturer about whether they would develop that type, and they responded positively, but I gather it’ll be a while. I believe it would be a blockbuster seller in the craft jewelry field for the first developer who brings this type pen to market.

But for the present, it appears to me that models must be ‘drawn’ in their plastic material, and then reverses made (sometimes in halves) in something like clay. Then positives made in wax.

If there’s a more direct way, I’d be eager to hear of it. For instance, can casting be done directly from the plastic? I don’t have hands-on experience with casting, have only sent wax models out for casting.


Actually, there is…

Thanks, Bob! That’s great news! I can re-gift my current 3D pen to my grandson and get the wax-extruding model. :wink: