Solidscape announced a powerful new 3D printer designed for jewelers.
The new S390 is said to be significantly faster than their other models, the S350 and S370. It looks a bit bigger, too.
This is a wax 3D printer, if you’re not familiar with the methods of jewelers. This is because jewelers typically employ the centuries-old lost wax technique for creating metal items. In this process the object is first 3D printed in wax, which is then encased in a solid plaster-like casting material. An application of heat melts out the wax 3D model, leaving a void in the exact shape of the 3D print. This can then be filled with metal to form the final jewelry item.
But when 3D printing wax jewelry models for this process, there is often a problem: support structures.
3D prints very often require support structures to hold up segments of the model during printing, and especially so in jewelry applications where rings often have plenty of overhangs.
Many wax 3D printers print one material, wax. This means that the support material must also be wax, and the 3D print operator must very carefully snip off the wax supports before proceeding with the casting process. Obviously, this manual step is fraught with the danger of accidentally damaging the actual 3D model.
But the S390 is a bit different, as it includes a different support material in addition to wax. Their process involves painlessly dissolving this support material in an extra step before casting, and thus there is no requirement for manual support removal.
This feature should increase the quality of the results and reduce labor costs considerably. Combined with the more rapid printing operations, the S390 could be quite an attractive machine for jewelers that produce a lot of custom items.
While the machine is priced at USD$55,650, you might be wondering about the price of materials. From the information we’ve received from Solidscape, it seems that the cost of materials should average out to approximately USD$9 per model, which is not a bad price considering that the ultimate metal jewelry item will no doubt be sold for significantly more than that.