Monday, March 31, 2014

3-D Jewelry


 
Interesting patterns on a 3-D printer

Yes, I know what you’re going to say, all jewelry is 3-D. What I am referencing is the making of jewelry with a 3-D printer. Now everything I know about 3-D printing can be summed up in a sentence. It’s a machine that makes 3-D objects by adding layer after layer of material until you have a finished product. Most of what I learned about 3-D printing was gleaned from an episode of The Big Bang Theory. They made a whistle in something like 3 days.

 

Design your own ring
 
 
I’ve seen the traditional jewelry making that requires a mold, shaping, buffing and literally tons of work to produce a single ring. These manufacturing processes can take days to complete, and while a 3-D printer isn’t much faster, the results are astonishing. It’s interesting that plastic and even metal jewelry can be made without all the molds. While it is futuristic and allows designers the opportunity to see their sketches come to life, this technology still isn’t super practical.

 

3-D dresses hit the runway
 
 
So many of you may be asking why bother? A 3-D printer allows the designer to make sketches and then produce a mock-up of the finished product. If you actually have the product in your hand you can see all the angles, the size, shape and if any adjustments need to be made. Some companies are already using 3-D printers to allow customers to design their own jewelry. You go in and work up a design and the 3-D printer makes a model. From there you pick your metal, gems and other specifics for a custom piece.

 

Pick your own metal
 
 
While 3-D printing is still new and has limited applications, someday it will be able to make just about anything. It will be like those replicators that were in every episode of Star Trek. You simply tell the machine what you want and it makes it. This will reduce waste and hopefully make each piece customized for a perfect fit. No more size 8 or 9, now you can have an 8 ½. Until then I guess I’ll have to shop the old fashioned way, on-line.
 
Will 3-D printed clothing be the wave of the future?

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