Introduction: 3D Printing Jewellery
I have been 3D printing since over 6 years now and I have few different printers at home. About 2 years ago I bought a budget resin 3D printer which allowed me to print in much higher resolution compared to FDM printers. Another advantage of resin printers is that you can print in clear and translucent materials, which are great for making jewellery.
In this instructable I will show you how to make Aztec calendar pendant with imitating emerald gemstones, and 'Q Continuum' collar from Star Trek The Next Generation. The parts from the collar can be used to make smaller pendants with imitating ruby gemstones.
- PLA (plastic for FDM printers)
- UV resin (material for DLP printers)
- Gold / copper link chain
- Gold / copper spray paint
- Clear nail polish
- 99% Isopropanol (IPA)
- FDM printer
- DLP/SLA printer
- UV lamp for curing prints (optional)
- Plastic spatula
- Resin printer slicer (Photon Workshop for example)
Step 1: CAD Design
First step is to create CAD file (3D model of the object). I have used Fusion 360 to do this, which is a very powerful software and it's free for students and hobbyists. I like Fusion 360 because there are many free online courses that will allow you to design your own jewellery from scratch.
It took me a couple of hours to design the Aztec's calendar, however the Q collar was slightly more challenging and it took me almost 20 hours to design it.
All necessary stl files for printing aztec pendant and Q collar you can find below. Larger parts can be printed on FDM printers in PLA, and the gemstone on resin printers.
Step 2: 3D Printing in Resin
- Use slicing software to prepare stl files for printing (software will vary depending on the brand of the printer)
- I recommend 40 microns layer resolution for the gemstones
- Depending on the resin and the printer brand I recommend 6 sec - 10 sec normal layer exposure and about 60 sec - 70 sec for few bottom layers
- Generate support (medium density support works well)
- Before printing clean carefully resin vat and build plate using IPA
- Shake the bottle with resin before pouring it into the vat
- After the print is finished, remove the the gemstones from the bed using plastic spatula (don't use metal as that will scratch the build plate)
- Clean your prints with IPA
- Cure your prints under UV light (use either the UV lamp or leave it for few minutes outdoors exposed to sunlight)
Step 3: 3D Printing on Plastic
- Load stl files into Cura slicer
- I recommend to print with 100 microns layer resolution
- Set infill to 20% - 30%
- I recommend printing speed 40mm/s - 50mm/s
- Depending on nozzle type and PLA brand, I recommend printing temperature between 200C - 210C
Step 4: Assembly Part 1
After you have printed all necessary parts, it's time to paint them and put together. Firstly, paint the plastic parts with gold or copper spray paint. I recommend to use 2 or 3 layers, and after each layer leave it for few hours for paint to dry properly.
The next step is to insert gemstones. The pendants is specifically designed, so you don't have to use glue. All you need to do, is to push the gemstones inside the plastic parts. It's quite tight fit, so I recommend to use tools like metal spatula, small hammer or pliers to push the gemstone inside the plastic case. If you will use tools, make sure you put tissue on gemstone first to prevent it from being scratched by the tool.
After the gemstones are in place, use clear nail polish to paint them. This will give the gemstone nice glow and make them to look more realistic.
The last step is to add metal link chain. To do that, use pliers to open one chain link (see picture above). Then put it through the loop on the printed part, and close it with pliers.
Step 5: Assembly Part 2
For the Aztec calendar pendant I would recommend to use the same colour chain as the paint you used for the pendant. In my case, I used copper paint and then I attached copper link chain.
To make full Q collar you will need to connect 15 3D printed parts with the chain. You can also use any of the collar parts to create stand alone pendant, or combine them the way you like.
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