Gold Plated Brass
3D printing jewellery is big business, the ability to create never seen before shapes and designs has opened up a whole new world to jewelers across the globe.
Although the ability to create complex geometries has been like mining gold the materials have been far from gold. What good is creating beautiful designs if you can't get said design in the jewellers material of choice?
Using a mix of bleeding edge 3D printing technology and more traditional moulding like manufacturing Shapeways are now able to offer their latest material, Gold Plated Brass.
"Gold Plated Brass is a rich, highly polished material that’s perfect for jewelry and precious objects. The base is solid brass, and the gold plating gives it a smooth, beautiful finish."
The 24 carat gold finish is added at the end of a five-step process, 3D printing plays a key role to get the design going. The model is printed in wax on a high-resolution 3D printer and then put into a container to be filled with liquid plaster, once the plaster sets the wax 3D print is melted out leaving you with a perfect mould. Molten brass is then poured into the mould and allowed to set, the plaster is then broken away and the brass is cleaned, polished and electroplated with nickel before the gold finish is added. The results are really rather impressive.
This mixture of traditional and new manufacturing processes opens exciting doors as the design benefits of 3D printing are not hampered by the quality of the material we can currently print with. Best of all is that the material is going through a one-month trial period until August 25th so those using premium silver already qualify for the gold, and it is cheaper.