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A simple experiment: printed silver cuff links

Recently I took a shirt with double cuffs out of my closet. It requires cufflinks. All the ones I had looked like gold or even were gold. Beautiful, however silver suits me better. And besides, were is the personal touch, the 'personalization' ? What followed was an interesting little project.


Last year I made me a monogram. It had to become the 'knot' of my cufflinks. There are the characters R, v, d and M, united in a sailboat, a reference to Willem van der Mast. He gave the family its name. William was a mast maker in Workum (Friesland, NL). The rest of the silver cufflink, the mechanism, was available at a wholesaler's.

STL

I gave the monogram a little thickness using Rhino. I added some reinforcements and a connection to fix the mechanism. The result I put into a *. stl and I improved it with Magics. Nowadays Shapeways provides 3D printing of silver parts so I sent my file there to get the job done. They do it by the lost wax method; according to LayerWise 'selective laser melting' in silver and gold is possible, however it takes quite some pretty expensive powder to fill the machine with.

Details

Unfortunately I got a reply telling me the details were too small to print. Apparently no Envisiontec or SolidScape machine is to their disposal. Luckily I found Maarten van Teeffelen of Brilliant Technology willing to participate. He printed the set on an Envisiontec in wax, and sent it to Atze-Jan de Vries of Nova Casting, the caster of the jeweler with whom I work, Brigitta Sueters.

Not expensive

The pieces of metal I polished myself after adding the mechanisms. All in all a relatively inexpensive method, especially in comparison with conventional jewelry. And Colorit (a kind of enamel) can be used optionally to color slightly deeper areas.

As a result the costs are primarily the creation of the (virtual) 3D model. The method is very well suited for small series, exclusive cufflinks. Those who are interested, and have such a monogram, family weapon other image are welcome !