Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Joy of Metal Clay: Three Dimensional Printing

About two years ago I was at a technology and innovation fair with my family and I saw something that gave me pause.  It was a 3-D printer in actually printing out someones computerized design.  It was rather mesmerising and it made be stop and think about the possibilities.

Anyway to my surprise on of the most recent discussions on the metal clay forum  was the topic of computer assisted design which morphed into the topic of 3-D printers. 
A three dimensional printer is a printer that will print an object into three dimensions rather than the traditional two dimension of the printers most of us use. This video  below from a National Geographic Channel really explains the process well.  It  features Z-Corp a company that specializes in this technology. In this video 3-D printer replicates a working wrench with moveable parts and different colours all in one printing. You really have to see it to believe it.

This all makes one wonder what the jewelry applications to this technology. 

There are 3-D printers that you use at home.  The price ranges from $500 and up.  Below is a video from one of the several vendors out there, Cubify.  If you go to their site you can buy a 3-D printer and you can buy objects that have been made with a 3-D printer including a wide variety of jewelry.

I am not sure if 3-D printing is for me as personally I like to get my hands dirty but the whole concept intrigues me.

The individual in the National Geographic video talks about a secret agent that is mixed with a binder which is then set in the printing process. Sounds a lot like metal clay. Will we have our own home metal clay 3-D printers one day? Makes one stop and think.

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