Gold jewelry made with 3D printer
Just a couple of decades ago, could jewelers imagine that gold jewelry would be printed on a printer?
At that time, 3D printing technology was still in its infancy. Today, 3D printers can produce almost anything, from a plate to an entire house.
Certainly, the new technology has been applied in the jewelry industry. 3D printed gold rings, chains and earrings have become a fashion trend in recent years.
In the photo: the decorations made with 3D printer.
Gold items are printed using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) technology. The precious metal (or a mixture of several metals) is placed in the printer in a powder form. By means of a laser, the source material is sintered layer by layer, taking the shape corresponding to the digital model.
When using this method, it is possible to print objects of practically any geometric complexity. The manufacturing process is almost waste-free and takes significantly less time than traditional metal casting.
In the photo: a device for printing metal products.
There is also an easier way, when not the decoration itself is printed, but its prototype made of plastic or a special material resembling wax. This prototype is then used to create a mold into which the gold is poured.
Advantages of advanced technology
For jewelers, 3D printing allows experimenting with designs and creating jewelry with more complex shapes that were previously inaccessible.
Customers can receive a custom-made item faster because it can be made in just a few hours.
For manufacturers, rapid on-demand printing helps reducing the costs of products, as well as cutting spending on storage and warehouse maintenance costs.
Bars and coins
You must be wondering if the above-described technology is applicable to the production of gold bars and coins.
Of course, they can also be 3D printed. However, unlike jewelry, bars and coins do not have complex geometries, so for the time being it is still cost-effective to produce them through casting or minting methods. Yet the progress never stops, and in the near future three-dimensional printing may also enter the field of investment gold.
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