10 February 2023
Discover the world of 3D printing. The perfect combination between innovative techniques and ancient craftsmanship
How does 3D printing work?
DiamondsByMe works with the latest 3D techniques. This means that we design all our jewellery using a 3D drawing programme on the computer. These drawings are so detailed and accurate that we can send them one-to-one to our 3D printer.
The 3D printer prints the desired jewellery in detail, building it up with an average of 300 to 350 wafer-thin layers of wax. On average, the 3D printer takes about 4 to 5 hours to print one piece of jewellery. In addition, the printer has to be recalibrated before a new series of jewellery can be printed. Calibration ensures that each wax model is printed perfectly: completely according to the dimensions of the drawing.
The wax model coming out of the printer is made up of two different colours of wax: blue and red. The blue part is the jewellery that will later be cast in the desired precious metal. This is a perfect print of the design. The red part of the wax model is like a protective and supportive jacket for the blue imprint. The red wax fills the gaps, such as the space under a setting, in the blue wax model.
When the printer is ready, the wax model is removed from the plate in its entirety. This must be done with extreme care, as the blue part is very fragile. Unlike our grey plastic 3D sample rings (which you can get sent home), the blue wax is much more porous. If anything breaks off, the entire ring has to be reprinted. So that means we have to recalibrate the machine, send the drawing through again AND start the process of printing for 4 to 5 hours again.
The red-blue wax model is placed in a so-called dewax. This is a warm bath with a special oil in it. This oil dissolves the red part of the wax. So only the blue part remains. This blue model is then steamed up and cast in the desired material. The blue wax model must be thoroughly dry before it is fanned out. We use high pressure to ensure that no dirt remains on the blue wax model. If this does happen, it can cause contamination in the casting, making it necessary to redo a casting.
Thanks to our 3D techniques, we are able to work out almost any desired design. Where most goldsmiths get stuck with complex designs, we offer the possibility of working them out using our computer drawing programme. The design is then made tangible through the combination of our 3D printer and the craftsmanship of our master goldsmiths.