As 3D CAD system’s become more accessible to Jewellery designers, it opens the door to a world of new design and manufacturing opportunities. Rapid Prototyping is the name given to a host of related technologies that are used to fabricate physical objects directly from CAD data. These methods are generally similar to each other in that they add and bond materials in layerwise-fashion to form objects.
Traditionally this technology has been used by engineers to better understand and communicate their product designs. But as Rapid Prototyping capabilities improve and become more affordable, jewellers and individuals from other disciplines are also adopting this process to enhance their designs and make tools for those products.
Whilst many Jewellery designers utilise 3-axis and 4-axis milling, there has always been limitations to design complexity. Rapid Prototype models provide the complexity desired by Jewellers, but traditionally these models are expensive.
An Israeli company based in Rehovot, has developed a Rapid Prototyping technology known as Objet, providing the best-in-class features and capabilities. Using a photopolymer material, each layer is built in super-thin layers of just 16 microns (0.0006”). This results in robust, ultra-smooth surfaces regardless of the geometric complexity of the model.
The need to introduce an affordable, easy to operate Rapid Prototyping machine in the Australian market resulted in Arrk Australia, a Melbourne prototyping bureau, to team up with Objet to become an exclusive distributor of the new 3D printing technology. And for those Jewellers not interested in bringing the technology in-house, offering the service of building models.
The Australian Jewellery design and manufacturing industry is undertaking similar pressures as other manufacturing industries in Australia, with soaring costs and fierce global competition. Through the adoption of new technologies and processes, costs can be reduced and stylish, innovative designs enhanced to ensure survival and success.
Rapid Prototyping is a vital tool that has made a tremendous impact on the design and development process in all industries. Companies that adopt these technologies early are realising gains financially by getting a better product to market before their competitors.