As a wedding photographer, I have seen rings that have been passed down for generations and those that have just been custom made for their wearers. Now a jeweler in New Zealand is realizing new levels of precision that are helping to create some of the most personalized jewelry in the world. Using the 0.1 millimeter precision possible with a 3D printer, Rob Wright, owner of Ringcraft Moana, is creating wedding bands marked with the fingerprints of the marital partners. Thanks to 3D printing, the workshop is producing pieces that are not only highly personalized and beautifully made, but also can be created very quickly.
It’s not just a fancy way of doing the same old thing; 3D printing actually allows the jewelry maker to expand what he can create. Putting a person’s fingerprint on a ring has always been something Wright was interested in, but it just wasn’t possible with more traditional techniques.
“It would have to be the customers putting their finger into wax but then you cut into the wax and you lose a bit of the accuracy of it and…it wouldn’t be a fingerprint at the end,” said Belinda Lubkoll, graphic designer and marketing manager for Ringcraft Moana. “It would just be lines that you could scratch with a ruler.”
Just because a machine can make something doesn’t mean that Wright has lost the sense of artistry that goes into creating his pieces. Instead, he just sees the 3D printer as another tool in his workshop. Wright, who has been a goldsmith for 40 years, brings all of that knowledge and history into his craft. The 3D printer just allows him to create with a great degree of precision, just as a torch allows him to melt or a loupe allows him to see greater detail.
The integration of 3D printing into the creation of fine jewelry is becoming increasingly common, whether as an addition to traditional techniques or as the primary method of fabrication. With the capacity to print in precious metals limited only by the artists’ imagination, the technology extends the capability of the human hand. These miniature sculptures are making wearable, customized, personal art accessible to a broader section of the populace than ever before. Listen to Wright and Lubkoll talk about their work below, and discuss further over in the 3D Printed Wedding Bands forum in the 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: Stuff]