Two techniques have historically defined jewelry making: handcrafting and lost-wax casting. Both techniques require significant technical expertise, are highly time-intensive, and mistakes in the process can prove expensive.
But today, digital design and 3D printing are primed to disrupt these age-old practices in a major way. Supplementing traditional processes with digital techniques brings new possibilities in design and production to jewelers, as well as exciting new customization options for customers.
3D printed jewelry production augments the principles of investment casting, or lost wax casting with the advantages of a digital design and manufacturing process.
With traditional lost-wax casting, jewelry designers hand-carve the original pattern in wax, place the wax pattern in a mold to be burned out, and then pour precious metals like gold or silver into the mold cavity to create the cast piece. To achieve its final appearance, designers polish and finish the cast piece to shine.