In general, Italian 3D printing companies play “at home” at the VicenzaOro T-Gold show (the “T” stands for Technology), one of the largest in the world for the industrial jewelry sector. For many of them it is an opportunity to present some of the biggest new products: one of these is the new myrev 100 3D printer.
For the leading Italian 3D printer manufacturer Sisma it was also the ideal occasion to present some amazing new jewelry designs by Nuovi Gioielli, which were 3D printed directly in metal with the mysint 100 system. Direct metal 3D printing of jewels is an area that is growing very rapidly because it is one of the few in which the new possibilities offered by the selective laser melting process are already clear.
If anything, more experimentation is needed in order to help designers envision these new possibilities (while also considering the limitations). On the other hand, the craft of 3D printing jewels in castable resin is much more consolidated, which is a good enough reason for Sisma to get into the SLA market. Especially since the Schio (a small town near Vicenza) based company already has extensive experience working with laser for its Laser Metal Fusion (LMF) process, as well as with subtractive laser engraving and cutting machines.
“Vicenzaoro T-Gold 2016 is one of the most important showcases for precious metals processing technologies,” says Lisa Micheletto, Project Leader Additive Manufacturing, at Sisma. “Its international context, very much focused on the latest advancements, makes it a unique occasion and the ideal background for the launch of many new Sisma products developed for the jewelry industry.”
This year the biggest news was the company’s entry into the castable resin segment. This is the process by which jewels – even series of jewels – are 3D printed in resin and then cast for the Microfusion or lost wax casting process. Although the machine on display was still an early prototype, the myrev 100 stands out for its triple rotating cylindrical platform, which means it can work on three different types of objects at the same time.
Each platform has a diameter of 100 mm and a height of 100 mm and it will be able to work with rubber-like materials as well as castable ones (castable means they burn out without leaving any residue). “The machine was created to work on lengthy, unattended projects, with the platforms mounted on swiveling units that facilitate the alignment of the working plane,” Lisa Micheletto explained.
A mixing spatula ensures the homogeneity of the resin bath and the holding vat can be easily removed and replaced. Even the user-friendly touch-screen control interface is state of the art, with an integrated PC that can process complex files. An automatic dispenser, available only in myrev 100 Top Version can handle up to five different resins simultaneously, avoiding waste or contamination.
More Impossible Metal
In its quest to expand the range of applications for direct metal jewelry 3D printing, Sisma is also working closely with one of its main clients, Nuovi Gioielli. The studio produced several state of the art products in the past, including “kinetic” bracelets that emerge already linked together from the 3D printer. This time around they went for a ring with thin “lamellar structure”, unattainable by traditional production techniques. To top it all off, for the first time the material used was platinum.
“For this project we were looking for a high degree of complexity, combined with a powerful visual impact,” Lisa continued. “A hollow, lightweight design possible only through the use of our Laser Metal Fusion technology. The fact that we built it in platinum means we took yet another step forward. In this sense the mysint pm configuration proved ideal and met the challenge in an excellent way.”
Yet we are still only at the beginning. In the near future we will see a further refinement of the maximum detail, to a steady increase in production speed and the constant discovery, by designers, of new and innovative solutions. But in order to do this designers need to begin envisioning products that do not currently exist, rather than use powder bed fusion to reproduce currently available products. In other words “designers need to think additive oriented,” Lisa concluded. The same appears to be valid in all other areas of 3D printing adoption.