Learn how to make your own 3D printed jewelry
Jewelry making has long been one of the most popular professions. Whether you enjoy adding beads to strings, hammering your own rings, or working on making any other type of jewelry, this item could be for you.
3D printing offers a great option for those who want to create their own jewelry at home. You can make a piece like a ring in less than an hour, freeing your creative mind. But how exactly can you make your own 3D printed jewelry?
Let’s take a look at 3D jewelry printing and the steps to follow, then explore the types of printers to use in your jewelry making.
How To Make 3D Printed Jewelry
3D printing jewelry is easier than many people think. FDM and resin-based printers will easily replicate many of the designs you find online, and the size of many jewelry makes them very quick to print. You can find the steps for this process outlined below.
Step 1: Find or create the files
You can find countless 3D jewelry designs available online. Websites like Thingiverse allow you to download files for free, so you can get started right away. You can also check out websites like CGTrader if you don’t mind paying for your files.
Some people will choose to design their own 3D printed jewelry. Although this approach is more difficult, software like Blender and Fusion360 can give you incredible freedom when creating your own designs.
For our impression, we decided to go for a piece that everyone can recognize: Sauron’s Ring of Power, the One Ring. For this we used a design by tato_713 on Thingiverse.
Step 2: choose the material
Once you have a file in mind, it will be time to choose the right material for your 3D printed jewelry. We chose an orange silk PLA for our design because the metallic appearance of this filament makes it ideal for a room like The One Ring.
For those looking for something stronger, ABS, PETG or even nylon might be a good choice. You can also consider using soluble filaments like PVA to allow intricate supports for jewelry with more flair.
Step 3: Choose the right slicer settings
Choosing the right slicer settings can have a huge impact on the quality of your 3D printed jewelry. You need to set the right heat and speed options for your material, but there are a few other parameters to consider when 3D printing jewelry.
- Layer height: The layer height of a print dictates the level of detail it can achieve. We used a 0.08mm layer height for our print, but that’s about as low as it gets with the 0.4mm nozzle we’re using. You may want to consider using a thinner nozzle, but you should also make sure that your printer can achieve the layer height you are aiming for.
- External speed: Adjusting the exterior printing speed allows you to reduce the speed of your printer while it is working on the finer parts of your 3D printed jewelry. It may take a little experimentation to get the best speed for you, but we’re finding that 20% works well for capturing details like that of The One Ring.
- Filling: Most people try to use as little infill as possible while getting the strongest impression, but jewelry is not functional; they are decorative. Increasing the weight of a part like a ring using 100% infill can be a good way to make it more substantial, but this is optional.
Once you have found the right settings for you, you can export your 3D printable jewelry file and move on to the next step.
Step 4: 3D print your jewelry
One of the best things about 3D printing is the time it gives you to enjoy other hobbies without diminishing your bottom line! Of course, that’s just a nice way to say that you’ll have to wait a bit before you can wear your new jewelry.
Our One Ring took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete with our settings. Bigger pieces, like bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, could take a lot longer. As long as your bed is level, your settings are correct, and everything is fine, it will be worth the wait.
Step 5: Finishing your 3D printed jewelry
The finishing of your jewelry is completely optional. We have decided to leave our ring as it came out of the 3D printer, but you can see some alternative finishing ideas below.
- Sanding: Sanding is one of the most popular ways to finish 3D printed jewelry. You can use plain sandpaper or a precision sanding tool for this, and some people will even coat their finished piece with epoxy for extra shine.
- Chemical vapor: Chemicals can be used to smooth the surface of some plastics. PLA can be smoothed with isopropyl alcohol vapor, while ABS can be smoothed with acetone vapor. It’s worth making sure you know what you’re doing before you start this process.
- Patinas / Polishing: Some filaments contain small amounts of materials such as copper and steel. This gives them weight, while offering qualities usually reserved for metals. Copper and bronze filled filaments can have a rich patina, while steel filaments can be polished or brushed for an authentic look.
Choosing the best 3D printer for jewelry making
Choosing a 3D printer for jewelry making shouldn’t be too difficult. There are plenty of great value printers out there that offer excellent accuracy, like the Creality Ender 5 or the Ender 5 Pro, and it’s easy to know what to look for.
Layer height is very important for your 3D printed jewelry, which means printers with lower minimum layer heights are better. The Ender 5 has a minimum layer height of 0.1mm, while the printer we used, the Flashforge Creator 3, has a minimum layer height of 0.05mm. This makes Flashforge better for detailed printing.
Besides the layer height, you also need to think about what types of materials you want to print. Some printers can only process materials like PLA and PETG, with examples like nylon and ABS requiring housings for efficient printing.
Enjoy your 3D printed jewelry
Making your own jewelry can be a fun way to express yourself without having to spend a fortune in the process. 3D printing jewelry is easy and fun, making it a great project for kids and adults alike. You just have to make sure you dress to impress.
Want to buy a 3D printer but don’t understand the basics very well? Follow our beginner’s guide to learn how to 3D print today.
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