Nothing excites designers, artists, and jewelers more than the prospect of more ways to accentuate their designs and wares. As 3D printing becomes more popular, the options continue to grow, and i.materialise is not only a forerunner in providing services to their shopping customers but also in providing a wide range of materials and finishes for their artists and 3D printing enthusiasts so that they can basically continue to make lots of cool stuff.
When you choose to have a jewelry item from i.materialise 3D printed in silver, it’s produced in solid sterling silver, with 92.5% of that being absolutely pure and the rest being a small percentage of what is usually copper. Silver is popular obviously, as more of an artist’s choice over gold due to its affordability and unique allure. It can be polished to a beautiful shine and is quite malleable.
Now, if you are a fan of 3D printing with precious metals from i.materialise, you’ll be very glad to hear that they’ve added a new finish just recently in the form of antique silver.
With antique silver, you can get great contrast. While the lighter portions are still shiny and smooth in the outer portions, the inner recesses are darkened, lending the ‘antique’ look. This contrasted look is achieved through putting the 3D model through an oxidation process with a sulfur mixture that darkens the material. Afterward, the outer surfaces are polished manually, lending a one-of-a-kind quality to each piece. The recessed areas are not polished, thus leaving them dark and contrasting.
Because the polishing erodes some of the surface of your model and you have to allow for the sunken contrasting parts, this requires thought ahead of time.
“The sunken parts of your model should at least be 0.4 mm deeper than the surface. They also need to be at least 0.4 mm long and wide, as the deeper the sunken area, the bigger the contrast,” recommends the i.materialise team. “This polishing technique is quite aggressive: it will erode your model’s outer surfaces by approximately 0.10 to 0.15 mm and will round sharp corners. Therefore, this technique results in the lowest level of detail for silver, but provides the highest level of smoothness and shine. It is thus good to take the amount of erosion from these finishes into account when you are designing your model.”
For 3D printed models, the other four silver surface finishes available are:
- Gloss – best suited for high detail
- High-gloss – results in high shine due to aggressive polishing – best for low detail
- Satin – post-treated with a wire brush
- Sandblasted – post-treated with abrasive blasting
If you are just becoming interested in 3D printing and modeling, i.materialise recommends trying out their free, browser-based app, JWEEL.
Also in related news:
Materialise has also just announced a partnership with Kapstone Medical. Kapstone specializes in product development and intellectual property services for companies like i.materialise that make medical devices — and 3D printed ones in Materialise’s case. With this partnership though, they will be providing a unique avenue for surgeons who are involved in creating new medical devices to conceptualize, market, and launch them in the marketplace. Along with that process comes guidance in protecting their very valuable intellectual property and copyrights, according to law.
“We are excited to join Kapstone Medical in a partnership that will help companies and inventors create a better and healthier world,” said Bryan Crutchfield, Managing Director of Materialise USA.
The two companies have basically had a test run already at working together, managing product development for Shoulder Options, an innovative company that invented a reconstructive device in the form of a high-tech implant system. Materialise used their ‘population analysis service’ and Kapstone practiced their specialty in development and marketing to make Shoulder Options’ design a success.
“In layering the Materialise suite of products with Kapstone’s knowledge and skillset, the partnership will help innovators swiftly and efficiently take their technologies from conceptualization to market,” said John Kapitan, Kapstone Founder and President.
What do you think of Materialise’s strategic partnership? Will you be interested in checking out the new i.materialise antique silver finish? If so, do you think this is something you might be interested in choosing more often over the other finishes for your 3D prints? Share with us in the i.materialise and Materialise Announcements forum thread over at 3DPB.com.