I’ve been trying 3d modeling with Autodesk 123D and it works
wonderfully for making things that would be near impossible for me
to carve in wax. I can paint and draw 2D like the Dickens but my
sculpting abilities are laughable.
I’m currently making a 3d model of the anchor chain link idea I was
asking about a month or so ago.
My questions are for people who have tried 3d printing jewelry models
for casting. From what I have discovered, the machines to 3d print
wax are over 50K so when you order from places like Shapeways, they
want twice the money it would cost to actually get them printed in
silver! Since I want to use my own alloy, I need the option for
printing in wax or at least PLA plastic.
Has anyone tried 3d printing models in PLA plastic which is a bio
plastic and should burn out of investment? I have heard it burns out
fine but leaves a little ash that needs to be air compressed out.
PLA plastic is very inexpensive and most 3d printing companies can
easily print out any design this way. PLA plastic is made from corn.
So very inexpensive 3d printers open up a whole world of model ideas.
Hello Rick PLA si perfectly castable it starts melting at 195 C So
in a regular burnout it cycle it gone, but filament printing is not
as fine as wax printing so the level of detail you can get in PLA is
not a shinny finish as in wax, ABS is another common thermoplastic
used in 3D printing Can be “polished” in a acetone steam bath this
does resemble a wax finish, some detail will be lost, similar to
passing a flame o a wax piece. I do not have experience casting ABS
Rick we use dc500 and it casts very well using the instructions.
Jewelry cad institute
Ps-We use dws-029 printer.
My questions are for people who have tried 3d printing jewelry
models for casting. From what I have discovered, the machines to 3d
print wax are over 50K so when you order from places like
Shapeways, they want twice the money it would cost to actually get
them printed in silver!
Really? There are very few service providers that offer printing
directly in silver, and the machines that do it are even more
expensive, not to mention the cost of filling the build bin with
atomized silver powder. But if you’ve found someone (who?) that
offers that service for half the price of a wax print, that would be
Since I want to use my own alloy, I need the option for printing in
wax or at least PLA plastic.
The other alternative is printing in photo-catalyzed resins, which
burn out similarly to wax.
Has anyone tried 3d printing models in PLA plastic which is a bio
plastic and should burn out of investment? I have heard it burns
out fine but leaves a little ash that needs to be air compressed
out. PLA plastic is very inexpensive and most 3d printing companies
can easily print out any design this way. PLA plastic is made from
corn. So very inexpensive 3d printers open up a whole world of
Those very inexpensive 3D printers that use plastic filament print
very coarsely, so the layers, and the spaces between them, are quite
visible to the naked eye. While I’ve heard of some people having
success in burning out PLA, the results wouldn’t impress most
jewelers, although I suppose a clever artist could find a way to use
those striations advantageously as a design element. But for most
jewelry patterns, a different sort of 3Dprinter is called for. Aside
from the Solidscape printers, which melt and deposit a waxy material
in very fine layers, the others use one or another of the
photo-reactive resins I mentioned and a machine that either
solidifies it with lasers or with projected light. Although these
were very expensive, their prices have come down a lot lately, into
the $3-10k range. The resins usually require special burnout
procedures, with more air being introduced into the kiln and
somewhat higher temperatures than wax to eliminate ash inclusions,
but people have been getting very good results with them.
then there is this 3D printer that claims it can print jewelry
quality pieces in a cartable material
you might try popping $for the first piece (resin print) and if you
need multiples, make a nice vulcanized silicon mold. Inject waxes,
I use all kinds of materials to cast with that are not necessarily
"conventional" jewelry casting substrates. A couple of things that i
have noticed that are issues /& solutions that might steer you in an
appropriate trial and error /fixes for your ideas.
one makerspace/industrial design co where i beta test their toys
in exchange for detailed notes that others can use… they have
several makerbots. Software that comes with the machines is in the
owners opinion worth more than the machines, and the 3d printers do
work. For smoothing the 3d printing texture they put the printed
object in a jelly /mayo jar with a shallow pool of solvent at the
bottom. The object is raised up on some sort of platform in the
container… the solvent sort of vapor smooths the surface to a
better finish. Each object would need some individual testing, but
one can improve the surface that way, depending on how crazy the
detail might be.
The investment for wax materials is not particularly suited for
some plastic / resinous materials. From the research i did to
troubleshoot some problems i ran into, i went out added a plasticast
investment to supplement the satin cast i regularly use. I have been
using laser cut laminations of >1mm styrene to created highly
detailed buckles and the like. I chose laminations vs 3d printing
because of the programming time. I’m very adept at complex 2d
design, so its just easier (not easy, though). What i noticed was
the acidic nature of the styrene broke down the investment, and in
larger surface areas would leave chip textures /pits. In areas that
had the normal level of detail (crazy), the design itself seemed to
compensate for the failure of the investment itself. There were some
other issues, but the long term solution was to change investment.
The burnout temp and timing i used for the original satincast was
same as for wax. There was also a weird smoky residue coating that
sort of reminded me of pit firing ceramics at the beach. It left a
secondery texture tgat was actually kindo of cool, if the investment
did not plain fail.
If you offline me i can send some pics.
Have fun and make very cool stuff.
If you want to cast yourself and have no experience with resins,
then you need a print off of a solidscape machine. It should be about
$50 plus shipping. Solidscapes print in wax and cast the exact same
way. I can recommend a few jewelry trade shops that will print it for
you on one of these machines.
Casting plastics or resins require a bit of change to the casting
procedure and odds are you don’t have the right investment powders
and would have a bad cast your first time out.
Thank you everyone for the posts about 3d printing models. All of
your advice was very much spot on when I finished looking at all the
options last night.
The simplest way to go is to just have the model printed by
Shapeways in polished bronze for only 20 bucks, or a really good wax
print by someone like Russ, and then make a vulcanized silicon mold
from that master. And then shoot all the waxes to make the tree
Russ, at the Jewelery CAD Institute has been very helpful explaining
all of these options and what is best for my situation. I highly
recommend them for 3d printing and molding questions. He took the
time to really spell it out for someone with no connections or
experience to the jewelry tech world.
For people serious about jewelry I have no doubt that it really
matters who prints your models.
I have a Form 1 and recently acquired some castable resin. Interested
in seeing if it works and what the costs are end to end?
We got into the B9 creator thing on advice of a friend. A little
problematic sometimes but when it’s set up and running it makes
Castable resin photo cured. It can do what our mill can’t. We use
Matrix for designing. Awesome system. You can do repairs while waxes
are being grown or milled and gems fit into settings nicely if you
measured carefully in the design stage. Love it
Hi, I am doing 3D printing. thank you, Bruce
At The Jewelry CAD Institute we use a DWS-029 printer from Rio
Grande. High capacity with great results. Using two different types
of direct cast resins. Depending on size of objects this machine can
do approx. 40 models overnight.
These are prints from our printer Detail of printed model -
These are prints from our printer Detail of printed model
Shannon, that image was from your B9? That surface looks rougher
than I expected. Have you been pretty happy with that printer or
disappointed? Would you recommend it or is it just barely adequate?
Thanks for the great pic!
For the price it’s great. A couple thousand dollars and you can grow
a few rings at a time. Any casting made you pretty much touch every
part of it anyway so cleanup is not a big deal to me. I love that it
will do the open spaces that a mill will miss.