We are very proud to offer Sterling Silver as our latest production material! In the past we did a test with Silver Ring Poems and Cufflinks, but now you can order any design in brilliant shiny Silver, until at least November 7th10th.
We'll use this test period to see if we can achieve the quality and speed that we want. Also, we'll need to learn what size of objects will be ordered - larger objects mean lower overhead costs for us, and in the long run better prices/cm3 for you!
Material and Process
We're using Sterling silver which is 92.5% pure silver. The models are created using the lost-wax casting process using a high-resolution 3D Wax print of your design. After printing the model is cleaned and optionally manually polished (we call this Silver Glossy). Please note that only well-reachable surfaces can be polished!
Price and Delivery Time
Silver costs $48/cm3, with a minimum of $30. The optional polishing step for Silver Glossy is an additional $15 per model. Delivery time is 12 working days.
The design rules aren't finished yet - we're still learning how to handle Silver properly. The quick version: the minimum wall thickness is 0.5mm, and we can print details as small as 0.11mm. For the long version, check out our Silver design rules.
As we're still in the initial stages we have to rely heavily on our operators - their experience will tell us whether an object is printable or not.
The casting process needs sprues to insert the liquid metal into the cast (and to let air escape). Our operators will add these to your models - they are trained to select good locations and will also take care of cleanly removing them afterwards. (Of course you only pay for the volume of Silver that is used in your model - not for the sprues!).
Ordering new objects in Silver
When uploading a new model you can now select Silver as an available material. Also, we have added Silver to all the models in the Jewelry category.
unfortunately, I tried to order my design but was told it could not be produced in glossy finish. Although a NYC based company produces this for us already and charges a similar amount for a glossy polished finishing
images of the pieces here
obviously I do not expect the unreachable interior portion of the structure to be polished (as you can see in the picture that part isn't polished and appears white)
is there any way you guys can make these for us? obviously anything I design will have some unreachable portions.... or else what would be the point in having a new wax 3dprinted each time..... simpler designs can just be molded.
Hi Jessica, ok to be expected that the production guys are a bit conservative (we have just started) but indeed your design looks do-able. Can you share your feedback with service? Just copy me on the mail. Should be possible to help you. Peter
Question: When designing, say, an earring, would it be possible to get the hook in silver (for those with allergies) and the pendant in stainless steel? Would it be possible to get this in one design, or would I then have to make/order the hooks separately from the pendants and then fröbbel them together myself?
Shapeways does not mix materials in 1 model! You can order several products in different materials. So you could order the hooks in silver, the pendents in stainless, but you have to assemble yourself.
True, true, but whatever I hang on those hooks doesn't come in direct contact with the skin and doesn't nééd to be silver perse... Silver is much prettier, absolutely, but for now, price wise, the stainless steel is more affordable.
Rings and necklaces however, make full contact, so Shapeways can expect some business from me in the silver department either way.
I think even if you could print in mixed metals, it would be much much cheaper to buy sterling silver earring wires from a findings company. H S Walsh does 5 pairs for £10, lots of other companies out there and some individual silversmiths make more beautiful ones as well. Etsy is a good place to look.
sterling silver doesn't contain nickel, just a bit of copper, so you shouldn't get an allergy. That said if you are super-duper sensitive (and I know some are, mu Sis in Law for one), there are findings available in new alloys of sterling which are even less reactive than the copper based alloys. I think Cooksons in the UK has them. called something like Reflections silver? I think it uses germanium or something and is harder than sterling and less prone to tarnish. I haven't tried it though.
If you used pure silver I think that the softness would prove problematic unless you used a fairly thick gauge of wire. Maybe titanium would be a better option for all?
Question: what wax printer do you use for this? Specs? I see there is visible layers on Tge Braille ring example above...and it seems to be more on that ring than on the wax example here: http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/520-Very-high-detail-printing...-also-in-wax.html
Is that due to lower quality vs higher print speed...or is it just that layer artefacts become more visible once cast?
The sample of the braille ring in the other post was printed on a different printer that allows for very high detail printing... hence the title
The printer we use in the silver casting process shows a bit more layers that indeed will be come a bit more visible once cast in shiny silver. With the glossy finish you will less to non layers in you model.
And here's a tip for anyone who makes very small items of jewellery, etc.; a small cross of mine in stainless steel costs $2.70, in silver it's $30 because of the minimum order price. If I ever order it I will simply upload a new file with two or more crosses in the same file, thus reducing the cost per item...
So is anyone going to mention the shrinkage you get with casting metals?
It can mean the difference between a ring fitting & not fitting, unless you are able to resize with a triblet.
I think it is usually around 5-10%, which can mean going up a ring size, or even one and a half sizes. Traditionally the waxes are cast too, so that adds an extra amount of shrinkage so I may be overestimating, but it will shrink as it cools.
Maybe Shapeways does "compensate" for shrinkage but it is difficult to know from one printing to the next just by how much it will alter, and from what I've read from other customers I think I will never design something that has to have an EXACT fit - like an iPhone cover - because they never print the same size.
Can Shapeways please answer this, then: In your page describing the design rules for silver you state: "3.Large thin surfaces are difficult to reproduce. A 25x25mm square that is 1 mm thick will turn out..."
However, when I submit a flat pendant design, unless it is 3mm thick it is not accepted as printable in metal? Previously, most of my pendants were 2mm thick and then suddenly they weren't printable in s/steel and I had to re-model and re-upload the thin designs.
Hi Shapeways! This is great! Is there any way you can produce print in WAX prior to the casting process so us designers can then get them cast ourselves? This will prove less time and manufacturing process for yourselves and allows us to cast in whatever metal we require. Just a suggestion.
New question--I have a jewelry product that includes 2 components connected by a hinge pin. In working with a lost wax casting house on a different form factor, I have learned that each component shrinks uniquely--so trial and error was necessary to get them to fit together properly. Would I have the same issue with your prototype process? You are casting the silver and not doing an SLA type process so I would think yes.