Shapeways has quickly become the go to marketplace for 3D printed merchandise. They allow designers to upload designs, and have them printed using professional grade 3D printers and printing techniques. Designers may then sell their products directly from Shapeways, and shoppers can browse the entire site for just that one item that they have been looking for.
Today Shapeways announced that they are now allowing designers to have their items produced in 14 carat gold, using their new 3D printing process. The process, doesn’t actually print in gold. Instead it first prints in wax, using a specialized high-resolution 3D printer. Then the wax is coated in liquid plaster, which sets and hardens, before the wax is melted out in a special furnace. This leaves a plaster mold, in which molten liquid gold is poured into. Once the gold has hardened, the plaster mold is broken away, and the gold is hand polished.
Shapeways offers a lead time of only 9 days for the processing of orders, which is the fastest of all their metals offered. For those wondering, the 14K gold is far from being 100% gold. It is 58% Gold, 31% Copper, 10% Silver, and 1% Zinc. Items ordered in 14K gold will be shipped in a beautiful jewelry box, and must be signed for on delivery, to ensure that it arrives safely.
The price for having something printed and then casted in gold? Shapeways charges a flat $50 handling fee, plus a whopping $600 per cubic cm3. This can become quite expensive, but afterall, it is gold!
Currently there are a handful of items already being offered in gold on the Shapeways marketplace. The Golden Bee is currently available for $1,500. The Geode Ring can be had for only $650, and the skull charm is priced at $550. These prices reflect the price that Shapeways charges, plus the additional mark-up by the designer.
What do you think? Will you consider designing or buying something on Shapeways with 14K Gold? Discuss in the Shapeways thread on 3DPB.com.