Products and Design

How To Save Money While Prototyping

3d printed ring prototype

We know that the design production process often requires multiple print iterations before getting your model print exactly right, whether because of aesthetic or structural changes. Prototyping in cheaper materials is one of the best ways to save money during the process, but it’s important to make sure you’re picking a material that most closely matches your final intended medium. Just remember that you should always be designing your model with the final material’s constraints in mind.

Prototyping for Steel

prototyping guidance graphic

When designing for 3D printed steel, strong and flexible nylon plastic is a good prototyping material** to give you an idea of the general size and detail of the final print.

**HOWEVER: If you’re looking to fit test the design, print directly in steel as this material can shrink or expand during production. The shrinkage will stay consistent with the same design printed multiple times, but if you are greatly changing the design of the model, the shrinkage and expansion can vary within a ± 5% of any dimension (and one layer thickness of 0.1mm).

Prototyping for Jewelry

prototyping for jewelry guide

If your jewelry design has a lot of fine detail, you will want to prototype the design in frosted ultra detail plastic for high resolution and accuracy. This material is the closest parallel to the way your final printed design will look in our cast metals (all of our precious and precious plated metals). Keep in mind that because this material is not polished in the same way that a cast metal will be, some of the details may be slightly less pronounced after the polishing process on your final product. You can learn more about prototyping for jewelry here.

prototyping for larger jewelry guide

If your jewelry design doesn’t have a lot of detail, prototype your design in strong and flexible nylon plastic. This material will give you the general size and level of detail necessary for designs lacking a ton of detail. And, if you love your nylon plastic prototype, the material is strong enough (along with our HP nylon plastic) to work beautifully for final jewelry pieces.

prototype your design

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