If you have been following this blog for a while, you'll know that my latest jewelry collection, "The Netline", is made with the technology of 3-dimensional printing. In the past I used a technology for the creation of 3-D objects called CNC. This process is based on carving material out of a wax block until the desired design is reached.
For the complex designs of the Netline I've started using 3-D printing, which prints layers of material according to the computed design (to learn more about the printing process alone, click here). I print the jewels using advanced machinery owned by a special lab called MPM. Companies such as MPM execute printing and casting processes for clients of different industries including medicine, jewelry, mechanics, etc.
The best way to understand the complicated production process is to watch MPM's video showing the printing and casting of two products. The 11 minute clip shows the different stages of production, from a computer design to a physical reality.
First, the design is printed in a plastic substance, in thin layers from bottom to top. Then, the printed objects are attached onto a device which is covered in plaster, creating a "negative" of the desired object. During the heating of the plaster (in order to harden it), the printed module is melted away leaving a hollow mold.
Then the desired metal is inserted into a vessel where it is melted and poured into the cast. As the material cools down, the metal hardens and forms the shape of the cast. The plaster cylinder is put in liquid in order for it to dissolve, revealing the printed product. Once the printed object is ready, the final task is to complete any handcrafted elements to the product, such as assembling parts together, setting stones, finishes, etc.