When alternative technologies are not capable of the detail required for his custom project, Rein van der Mast turns to Brilliant Technologies’ EnvisionTEC machine for the answer.
A simple experiment: printed silver cuff links.
Recently I took a shirt with double cuffs out of my closet. It requires cuff-links. All the ones I had looked like gold or even were gold. Beautiful, however silver suits me better. And besides, where is the personal touch? What followed was an interesting little project. Last year I made me a monogram. It had to become the ‘knot’ of my cuff-links. There are the characters R, v, d and M, united in a sailboat, a reference to Willem van der Mast. He gave the family its name. William was a mast maker in Workum (Friesland, NL). The rest of the silver cuff-link, the mechanism, was available at a wholesaler’s.
I gave the monogram a little thickness using Rhino. I added some reinforcements and a connection to fix the mechanism. The result I put into a *. stl and I improved it with Magics. Nowadays Shapeways provides 3D printing of silver parts so I sent my file there to get the job done. They do it by the lost wax method; according to LayerWise ‘selective laser melting’ in silver and gold is possible, however it takes quite some pretty expensive powder to fill the machine with.
Unfortunately I got a reply telling me the details were too small to print. Apparently no EnvisionTEC or SolidScape machine is to their disposal. Luckily I found Maarten van Teeffelen of Brilliant Technology willing to participate. He printed the set on an EnvisionTEC in wax, and sent it to Atze-Jan de Vries of Nova Casting, the caster of the jeweler with whom I work, Brigitta Sueters.
The pieces of metal I polished myself after adding the mechanisms. All in all a relatively inexpensive method, especially in comparison with conventional jewelry. And Colorit (a kind of enamel) can be used optionally to color slightly deeper areas. As a result the costs are primarily the creation of the (virtual) 3D model. The method is very well suited for small series, exclusive cufflinks. Those who are interested, and have such a monogram, family weapon other image are welcome!