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JEVEL.RU TESTS THREE-DIMENSIONAL PRINT
#SIU_news 2015-12-30 00:00:00
Not so long ago the international company Freedonia Group, specializing in statistical research, published the report “World 3D Printing to 2017 ″. Researchers predict that demand for 3D printing services will grow by more than 20% per year. Some of these services are in the jewelry industry, so today we decided to talk about how 3D printing has impacted the jewelry market, and dot the i's in this high-tech business. And thanks to our friends from SIU System, who kindly agreed to print the test samples, this review will not be left without a practical part. A small excursion into the recent past. Ten years ago, the traditional process of making jewelry was structured like this: a sketch made by a designer (either an artist-jeweler, or, which also often happens, by a jeweler himself) turned into drawings, according to the drawings the jeweler cut model wax. The wax was given to the foundry workers. From the casting, either a master model for serial production was made, or a finished product, if only one copy was supposed.
Three-dimensional models could have been introduced into production back in 1996 (it was then that the first version of 3D Studio MAX for Windows was released), but the three-dimensional printers themselves at that time were more like small cabinets and cost more than tens of thousands of dollars. Not to mention the fact that it was extremely problematic to buy such a printer in Russia. Today, designers and jewelers have access to a variety of three-dimensional editors: both highly specialized (Rhinoceros 3D) and more universal (3DS MAX, Blender, and others). And although the controversy on the topic "is the soul invested in jewelry made in a 3D editor" can still be heard today, it is fair to say that many shapes, except with the help of a three-dimensional editor, cannot be done at all.
Also in defense of three-dimensional modeling, you can recall the editor "ZBrush", which is positioned as a "sculptural" editor, that is, for "soft" shapes. Working in it, according to our impressions, is similar to modeling from sculptural paste. As for the printing itself, jewelry manufacturers now have a choice between buying a three-dimensional printer (from 500,000 rubles for an industrial printer with the required printing accuracy) and ordering three-dimensional printing from specialized companies. We tested the last option by ordering several models from SIU System (by the way, you can buy equipment from the same company). What has changed during the production process? Instead of drawings, there is now a three-dimensional model (in our opinion, this is definitely a plus, because in 3D we get a much more complete picture of the result than in 2D). And instead of cutting wax, there is now 3D printing (which is definitely an even bigger plus, because it is much cheaper in terms of man-hours).
LET'S TRY IN PRACTICE
Almost any 3D editor can easily export your 3D model to an STL file suitable for printing. But even if there is no STL file, specialists will use the model in any modern format. We sent the order by e-mail (this can also be done directly through the website). In a response letter, we were offered a choice of two material options that provide the necessary "jewelry" detailing (0.016 mm): VisiJet Hi-Cast wax, or VisiJet X photopolymer. Wax will allow you to immediately send the model to casting, but such printing is more expensive (on average 400 rubles for a wedding ring). You will first have to remove the silicone mold from the plastic polymer in order to then get the wax, but the seal comes out several times cheaper (about 100 rubles per ring). We chose photopolymer.
In 2 days, our order of 14 items was ready (this is far from a record time, you can agree on an urgent print).
The printed plastic looks like sugar (you really want to lick it :)), but the print “pixels” are visible only under a magnifying glass (a pixel is about 4.5 times thinner than an average human hair). When casting gold or silver, even these "pixels" will hide behind the matte texture of the metal. Thin areas (less than 1 mm) printed well. In fact, we saw our three-dimensional models materialized in plastic without visible changes, and the editorial staff had no doubts that the future belongs to three-dimensional printing.
Finally, our thanks to our friends from SIU System and all kinds of recommendations. You can make a test order on the SIU System website; they promise to print the first ring for free.
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