3D Manufacturing

Learn about one company's path to rapid prototyping with B9Creations and the Core Series 530 3D printer.
Jeweler comparing ring model to CAD rendering
Rio Grande’s Scott Patrick offers his perspective on how CAD fits into the tactile tradition of jewelry making.
An assortment of digital manufacturing equipment
Digital production means more design options, quicker turnaround and seasonal scalability. Scott Bradford of the Jewelry Tech Team discusses factors to consider.
Gold diamond and ruby-set ring in CAD software
CAD/CAM jeweler Scott Patrick talks about everything a bench jeweler can gain from jumping into computer-aided design while still maintaining traditional techniques.

3D CAD/CAM for Jewelry

Whether you make jewelry in a spare room or large production shop, bringing computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to your business can expand your options and trim costs. Like setting up a bench or creating a custom piece, the key is in selecting and configuring the right components.

Jewelry CAD Software

Jewelry CAD software and traditional bench skills are a powerful combination, particularly for developing a line of jewelry or creating one-of-a-kind pieces. Users can start with a blank design screen or choose from a library of components. Once a basic layout is in place, you can customize it endlessly and save different versions. Experimentation takes seconds instead of weeks, without committing to metal or stone.

Jewelry design software also makes it easy to visualize a finished piece. For example, if you’re thinking of updating signature style for a new season, CAD programs generate a preview in seconds. This visualization is helpful for clients as well as jewelers. You can send realistic renderings to clients for production approval and offer a virtual “try-on” with personalized skin tone and other characteristics.

CAD programs for jewelry include 2Shapes, 3Design and ZBrush. Beginner-friendly 2Shapes is a design-to-sales program that includes CAD module with design library as well as ecommerce and manufacturing modules. 3Design offers free-form sculpting functions as well as design library, and estimates the amount of metal you’ll need for a particular piece. ZBrush is the most complex, diverse CAD program available, making it possible to create pieces with an organic feel.

3D Printers for Jewelry Making

When it's time for production CAD files can be used with 3D printers to print directly castable models. Bringing the right 3D printer to your business can streamline your workflow, save on finishing time and enhance client experience. The 3D printers for jewelry that Rio Grande carries include Formlabs and B9. Both produce meticulous, smooth surfaces and crisp details.

The Form 3 printer lets you produce custom prototypes for your clients and print directly castable models with a single printer. Beginner-friendly and affordable, the Form 3 sets up in 15 minutes with no special training. A simple cartridge system allows you to switch between resins in seconds. Modular accessories make it quick and easy to scale production for busy season. The Form 3 offers a complete 3D printing solution for jewelry production.

You can also use the Form 3 to supplement a larger printer like the B9. The B9 Core Series is ideal for heavy production environments, with tough industrial-grade components. It’s possible to grow hundreds of castable models in a day, with print speeds from 20-30 minutes per inch (25.4mm) for a full envelope. Built-in connectivity makes it easy to link up several B9 printers and scale your operations.

CAD/CAM Casting

The final production of 3D-printed jewelry models involves a centuries-old process. But today’s jewelry casting technology puts perfection within reach whether you work on a tabletop or large production floor.

Options for small- to medium-sized casting operations include tabletop machines from Rio Grande, V.I.C. Dura-BULL®, and Cast/T. For high production environments and studios considering an upgrade, Neutec® machines with Flowlogic® technology will produce consistent castings for decades.

There’s only one jewelry business exactly like yours, and like making jewelry itself, success is about the details. We’d be happy to help you identify the best solution for your business and discuss financing options. Reach out at 800-545-6566, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm MST.