The rise and rise of 3D printing and the development of desktop 3D printing machines has made the technology more accessible to a range of sectors. One of the industries to benefit from the evolving manufacturing technique is jewellery-making.
TCT Show + Personalize started life as an industrial-focused trade show, but over the years the UK's premier additive manufacturing exhibition and conference has evolved into a much more all-encompassing event. Indeed, many of the organisations that started life with an industrial mission statement have - like TCT Show - adapted, including many different kinds of businesses in their client base such as jewellery designers.
One exhibitor that is proud to be considered a major player in the 3D-printed jewellery sector is EnvisionTec, which says it is "the number one choice for 3D printing jewellery due to the precision and range of materials offered straight from the machine for casting and moulding".
EnvisionTEC - which counts businesses based in Birmingham's famous jewellery quarter among its clients - will be including some examples of the jewellery its machines have helped to bring to life from drawings in the designer's sketchpad.
Headline-making MakerBot will also be representing the jewellery industry. The company is certainly honoured to be part of this sector, as it includes real-life MakerBot stories about users' jewellery exploits on its blog. One example is architect couple Matthew Compeau and Biying Miao, who use their Replicator to make 3D-printed jewellery. Their project, Hot Pop Factory, has been made possible thanks to the affordability of their desktop 3D printer and the versatility of the designs it can then build from.
"Our MakerBot has empowered us to take full ownership of the design and manufacturing process. Instead of investing tens of thousands of dollars and trying to forge relationships with suppliers and fabrications, we can manage the entire process - from design, to fabrication, to distribution - from our living room," the couple said.
And it is not just the smaller 3D printer manufacturers that are getting a piece of the action. NASDAQ-listed industry powerhouse ExOne is also pleased to offer jewellery designers and start-ups a service. The company offers solutions for making unique ornamental items, including jewellery, with its 3D Design Service enabling designers to transfer their sketches into digital files that are then composed in bronze or stainless steel, while a number of finishes such as gold plating or pewter patinas can be applied.
Not only will representatives from the jewellery industry be browsing the stands at TCT Show + Personalize on September 25th and 26th, but there will be numerous talks by influential designers in the jewellery industry who will be only too happy to share their success stories in a bid to encourage future jewellery start-ups to embrace 3D printing.
American 3D printing artist Josh Harker, who 3D prints sculptures and jewellery such as his BleedingHeartRose-red-necklace, will be speaking on the afternoon of Thursday September 26th about his work with 3D printing and how he has made his name thanks to the technology.
So whether from the perspective of a designer, entrepreneur, consumer or competitor in the 3D printing machinery and materials business, TCT Show + Personalize is bound to educate, influence and intrigue early-adopters who can see a future in the 3D-printed jewellery business.