Can anyone recommend a good 3d printer for jewelry?
It really depends on the size of the jewellery you’re going to print, if your items are in the orders of millimetres let’s say five millimetres to 20 millimetres then you will/may have difficulty in printing them on a typical RepRap which uses the fused filament fabrication method (FFF).
If your items are in the range of 25 millimetres to 300 millimetres then the RepRap method may well be suitable.
The other consideration is surface finish, the fused filament fabrication method produces a rutted surface and I think of it as being akin to a turned surface like on a lathe, like a rough cut, a very fine thread, this is the sort of surface finish you will get with the fused filament fabrication method.
Just to give you an idea of a quick print with my ultimaker …
Also the comment above is very true!
My wife has a necklace made of SLS (laser sintering) nylon from http://www.bynatalia.com/ which is absolutely fantastic. The SLS process is amazing although you can still see the layers (barely) and you sure won’t be getting a desktop SLS machine anytime soon.
I just stumbled on this cool post http://goo.gl/GS9iC by Jason Webb on what he calls ‘lost abs casting’ where he has been investing printed abs (FFF) parts made on a Makerbot and then casting in bronze and aluminum. Works great. There is definitely a minimum size limit though and you kinda have to like the layered effect or look into ways to finish it.
Hopefully soon there will be the Form1 http://formlabs.com/ desktop SLA (stereolithography) printer that prints in resin and should be capable of smaller feature sizes and more detailed prints than our FFF machines today. This would be the best bet for smaller scale jewelry in your own studio at around $3k. (When considering what they are asking for for the Replicator 2–highway robbery if you ask me–its not a bad deal for that style of printing.)
well, there are the insanely expensive solidscape printers, but… really I love even coarser 3D printed jewelry when you cast it. Someone with a good idea how to achieve their effects who is handy with finishing techniques should get a kickass PLA printer like an Ultimaker or Mendel Max or Wallace or something and focus on making things instead of going crazy over a techspec sheet.
@Matthew_Griffin Agreed, but then I wish we could go back to dot matrix printers. Even a Printrbot jr with a smaller nozzle would be able to handle a reasonable degree of accuracy if you look at the artifact as part of the appeal. Think Holga plastic cameras.
+1 on the PLA lost wax technique. If your doing tiny details the UV Resin printers rock. B9 creator and our hackerspace members TBA printer kicks butt. http://www.thingiverse.com/Sedgwick
Some of our users are doing direct to lost wax with the B9Creator and resin.