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3D Printing Sterling Silver – 3D Print Precious Metals

Shapeways offers a variety of resources for customers creating products like jewelry or using metal. Both areas of 3D printing continue to trend upward, and Sterling Silver is one of the most popular materials.

Precious metal 3D printing with materials like Sterling Silver takes design and production to the next level, allowing for smoother surfaces and options like additional polishing. Professional finishes are available to showcase intricate details. Sterling Silver for 3D printing is softer and becomes even more malleable for 3D printing designs with thinner structures, like rings.

3D Print Silver with Wax Casting

Wax casting has been in use since ancient times. Known by several different names such as Lost Wax Casting, Investment Casting, and Precision Casting, this technique requires expertise, sophisticated tools, and high-quality materials. 

At Shapeways, Wax Casting is accompanied by 3D printing to make patterns for building molds. Sprues are added so precious metals like Sterling Silver can flow through. Simultaneously, the wax melts and drains, and the metal structure inside the mold solidifies for easy removal. The benefits of Wax Casting include:

  • The ability to make innovative products, impossible via conventional manufacturing.
  • The ability to make complex shapes with built-in intricacies like interlocking parts.
  • Availability of superior choices for finishing.
Wreath and Vine Rings in Premium Silver

Use Case – Sterling Silver Bracelets

Designers experience vast opportunities for customization at Shapeways, especially in using metal additive manufacturing and Wax Casting. Shapeways customers use a variety of materials for designing jewelry, and they may perform rapid prototyping and end-use manufacturing with the same materials. Other customers may enjoy all the benefits of one material for a line of products and then move on to a precious metal like Sterling Silver when developing luxury jewelry. This was the case for longtime Shapeways designers Groen and Boothman, an industrial design duo who continue to innovate and try new 3D printing materials and technology. 

For their Elements series, Groen and Boothman turned to cast silver for the Water and Cosmic bangle bracelet series, featuring a clasp mechanism and hinge (developed into two segments for simplicity in manufacturing and assembly).

“With 3D printing, you can engineer things so precisely that you can integrate a near-invisible, complex hinge mechanism, also under an angle, with an unprecedented level of sophistication,” said Hanno Groen.

Groen and Boothman added a handcrafted, ultra-polished touch, lending to the exclusivity of the jewelry which they described as offering ‘effects in silver that sparkle and captivate like precious stones.’ Download the case study to find out more about 3D printing with silver.

Finishes and Design Guidelines for 3D Printed Sterling Silver

Shapeways Sterling Silver (92.5% silver) 3D printing material is a high quality silver alloy commonly used in jewelry and other skin-safe applications. 3D printed Silver is skin-friendly, heat-proof up to 850°C/1562°F, and offers good electrical conductivity. 

Sterling Silver finishes include:

Natural Finish

3D print Silver with light polishing for a somewhat rough surface with a matte finish.

Polished Finish

3D print Silver for a hand-polished finish, and a smooth, shiny surface.

Fine-Detail Polished Finish

Extensive polishing of 3D printed Silver extends to intricate details, resulting in a very shiny surface. Note that extra polishing will remove more material, so some details could be lost in the process.

Antique Finish

Recessed details are blackened for a unique, antique look.

Bounding Box Requirements

The bounding box is a 3D imaginary outline of a box that encloses the smallest area occupied by your model. Your model must be within the minimum and maximum bounding box sizes. If the size of the model is close to the maximum bounding box, then the printing orientation will be restricted.

  • Bounding Box Minimum
  • Bounding Box Maximum
    • 89 x 89 x 100 mm
    • 75 x 75 x 40 mm (for interlocking parts)

About Shapeways

Enjoy the benefits of this advanced technology and a wide range of materials from Shapeways for 3D printing your creations with accuracy, complex detail, and no minimum or limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders. Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to 3D print over 21 million parts! Read about case studies, find out more about Shapeways additive manufacturing solutions, and get instant quotes here.

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